Monday, October 7, 2013

Sunflower League Week Five Review

Andre Maloney's final play (above) was a 63-yard
 touchdown reception. Photo David Compton.
Three Up

Olathe North

The Eagles' young roster finally put together a complete game effort and they were rewarded with a win over the top ranked team in the state. They could beat anyone with the effort they showed in the victory, and they still made their fair share of mistakes.

Olathe East
The Hawks were able to build a big early lead against Olathe South, then hang on to claim victory against their biggest rival. The win put the Hawks over .500 and really enhances the outlook of their season going forward.

The past 20 years of Pioneer football have been most noted for coaching carousels, blowout losses and highly liquid rosters. The win against SM West has given the team new hope for 2013, and there's no reason they can't make the playoffs if they put together similar effort going foward.

Three Down

Lawrence Free State

After their week four homecoming victory against undefeated SM West, a team who'd knocked them out of the playoffs the prior year, on top of a shortened week of prep to face Olathe North, it seemed like Free State would be liable to come out flat. And they did.

Olathe South
Losses hurt, but if they're not in district play they can be evaluated as opportunities for growth and improvement. Olathe South will get better following their loss to Olathe East, but losing to a bitter rival is a sting that will hang around for the next 12 months.

SM South
SM South's primary rival, SM East, has had the Raiders' number the last decade. And that couldn't have seemed more true than when SM South forced overtime only to lose on a botched pitch play.

Week Five Players of the Week

Andre Maloney, SM West: Maloney only touched the ball twice his final game before leaving midway through the first quarter, but in those two touches (a 58-yard kick return and a 63-yard touchdown reception) he combined for 121 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. In 17 quarters this year, he had combined for 711 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns on just 46 touches (15.5 yards per touch).

Venus Triplett, Olathe North: Triplett had another outstanding evening, carrying the ball 28 times for 221 yards and two touchdowns, and catching an 11-yard touchdown pass. It looks like he's just the next great Olathe North running back.

Jason Randall, Leavenworth: Randall carried the ball 20 times for 188 yards and three touchdowns. Maybe the most impressive thing was that his touchdowns came on runs of 36, 60 and 15 yards. Leavenworth is a different kind of animal when he's getting to the to the second and third levels.

Week Six Power Rankings

1. SM East (5-0): For the second time in as many years, the Lancers have found their way to the top of the Power Rankings. The real challenge for SM East will be avoiding fading down the stretch the way they have the past three seasons.

2. Lawrence Free State (4-1): How much am I taking away from the Firebirds' Thursday night loss to Olathe North? Not much. All the credit in the world goes to Olathe North for the upset, but I would suspect that's as poorly and lackadaisical as the Firebirds will play all season.

3. Olathe East (3-2): Watch out, because Olathe East is heating up. The Hawks jumped out to a 21-0 lead before their game was postponed to Saturday afternoon. With Connor Leach playing as well as any quarterback in the league Olathe East will be really difficult for anyone to beat.

4. Olathe North (3-2): The majority of the Eagles' starters had little to no varsity experience entering 2013, but they're staring to play like a seasoned unit after five weeks. If Olathe North can stay focused and play as well as they did Friday they could easily make a postseason run.

5. SM West (3-2): The Vikings were leading Leavenworth 21-10 when Maloney left the stadium in an ambulance, but they went on to be outscored 27-13 in a losing effort. The Vikes probably feel like they've hit rock bottom. History tells us there's only one way to go, and teams playing inspired football for a fallen teammate have no ceilings.

6. Olathe South (3-2): On the two occasions in which Olathe South has had an opportunity to make a statement this year they've stumbled and sort of reverted back to square one. But still, 3-2 is nothing to be down about. The Falcons are close, and they may finally get that breakthrough win here in the next couple weeks.

7. SM South (2-3): The Raiders didn't play their best against SM East, but they still managed to force overtime after being down two touchdowns early, and their passing game finally showed some life. This week's game against SM North should be a nice tune-up before they enter districts.

8. Lawrence (2-3): If your run defense is not up to snuff good luck trying to stop Lawrence the way their rushing attack has been grinding things out of late. They'll be tested big time this Friday when they face Olathe North, who boasts arguably the league's best front seven.

9. Olathe Northwest (2-3): The Ravens took care of business the way they were supposed to this past week against SM North. They'll face what will undoubtedly be a highly-motivated SM West team this Friday, but it will only benefit the Ravens as they enter districts, win or lose.

10. Leavenworth (2-3): Just when it looked like it was time to stick a fork in Leavenworth the Pioneers responded with an upset victory over previously #2 ranked SM West. The true test will be whether they can sustain the momentum facing an Olathe East team this week who's on fire.

11. SM Northwest (1-4): Despite many positives, this season has been a grind for the Cougars. Their loss to LHS was frustrating for the SM Northwest faithful because the defense showed up, but the offense never came off the bus. They could really use a win against Olathe South.

12. SM North (0-5): In each of the past four weeks the Indians have faced a team who was coming off a loss in the previous week (five, if you count Free State's Sub-State loss from 2012). Based on the game results, each of those teams was angry. Very angry.


Free State Fan said...
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Free State Fan said...
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Free State Fan said...

Gut check time for FS this week. Three questions FS has to answer before heading into districts: Will they correct the mistakes from week 5? Can they come out with intensity from the start and return to the solid play of the first four weeks? Can they beat a tough team on the road? I think they answers are yes, yes and yes. Go 'Birds!