Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Derby and SM East State Title Profiles

Derby running back Tyler West
leads the Panthers' rushing attack.
Derby Panthers
Location: Derby
Enrollment: 1,919
Previous state championship appearances: 1993, 1994, 2002
State championships: 1994

Panther Football
Offense type: Spread
Defense type: 4-3-4
Points per game: 48.9
Points allowed per game: 12.8


**The Panthers have eight seniors who have offers or are committed to FBS, FBS service academies, or FCS programs. Tight end DeAndre Goolsby is the headliner. Goolsby (6-5, 230) collected over 13 FBS offers and committed to Florida over Kansas State in early November. 

**Derby's three previous 6A state title game appearances came against the two most notable Sunflower League dynasties of Lawrence in the 1990s and Olathe North in the early 2000s. The Panthers lost to Lawrence High in 1993 by a score of 27-23, but avenged the loss a season later in 1994, claiming the first and only state title in program history. They fell 41-12 to Olathe North in the 2002 6A state title game.

**The Derby football program has had it's share of alumni who've gone on to have success in college and the NFL. Bill Campfield spent time with the Eagles and Giants in the late 1970s and early 1980s, George Teague was a first round draft pick in 1993 and spent a decade in the NFL, and Jason Gamble spent time with several NFL teams in the early 2000s. Also, former Kansas standout linebacker Nick Reid was a Derby product.

SM East junior defensive end Kyle Ball
is one of the top players for the Lancers.
Photo Marisa Walton, SME Harbinger.
SM East Lancers
Location: Prairie Village
Enrollment: 1,653
Previous state championship appearances: none
State championships: none

Lancer Football
Offense type: Flexbone
Defense type: 3-4-4
Points per game: 29.2
Points allowed per game: 14.3


**SM East is making their first state championship game appearance in school history. The Lancers had brief success as a program in the 1960s, claiming three Sunflower League crowns in 1961, 1964 and 1966. For a few decades after that, however, the memorable seasons were more and more sparse. The program has done much better since the start of the 2000s, making two Sub-State appearances and winning two Sunflower League crowns in that time period.

**I'm not sure the Sunflower League has ever had a state title representative that lacked a true "star player" the way the Lancers do this year. This phenomenon could be a peek into why SM East has had so much success. There really isn't a player for defenses or offenses to key on. It's part of the reason the flexbone offense is so potent. It's hard to run well, but when it is, it distributes the ball to so many areas of the field (discretely) that it's extremely difficult to defend. The Lancers have seven players with over 200 rushing yards -- Luke Taylor, Sam Huffman, Christian Blessen, Jackson Gossick, Mitchell Tyler, Micah Dodson and Ryan Carter and they've had a seamless transition from Blessen to Gunnar Englund at the quarterback position. In many ways it looks like their system produces regardless of who's taking the carries or making the handoffs.

**Unlike many of the teams competing for state titles this Saturday, SM East has made a living winning close games as opposed to blowing out opponents. They won on a Hail Mary in week three, in week fourth they needed a late fourth quarter drive to take down Olathe North, and then their week five and six games went into overtime. Let's just say this -- if the game Saturday afternoon stays close for four quarters, the Lancers may have a mental edge with all the fourth quarter successes they've had. And at last check that Lancer Magic hadn't run out.

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