Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sectional Round Playoff Previews

JD Woods will be the most talented running back
the SM East defense has faced. Photo LJWorld.
Lawrence (5-4)
at SM East (9-0)
Where: SM North District Stadium
Last meeting: SM East beat Lawrence, 26-3, in week two of 2013.
Topeka CJ spread: SM East -17

Key players

JD Woods, Lawrence: The league's top rusher has rushed for 624 yards and six touchdowns the past three games.

Amani Bledsoe, Lawrence:'s 13th ranked defensive end prospect in the class of 2016 leads the league with 13 sacks.

Gunnar Englund, SM East: The league's top rated quarterback has combined for 1,643 yards of total offense and 23 touchdowns.

Kyle Ball, SM East: SM East's stalwart defensive line force has logged 75 tackles (27 for loss) and nine sacks.

Talking points

SM East
**Last year's 6A State Runner-Up is 20-2 over their last 22 games.
**Six Lancers have over 200 rushing yards, and they average 338 rushing yards per game.
**SM East has outscored their opponents 455-90 through nine games.

**All 26 of Lawrence's offensive touchdowns have been rushing touchdowns.
**The Chesty Lions rank second in the league in rushing yards per game with 287.
**Lawrence has won 10 state titles, but they haven't made it to a state title game since 1995.


The Lancers drew the toughest Regional draw of the Big Three, but it's only fair -- their regular season strength of schedule ranked 30th out of 32 teams in 6A, according to the Prep Power Index. As much as SM East loves to run the football, the Lancers will test Lawrence's secondary early and often. If they can hit on a few big pass plays early (like they have all year) the game could be decided in the first half. Lawrence will live and die by the success of their rushing attack, and will rely on big plays from Woods and Trey Moore to keep the game competitive.

Olathe South (7-2) at SM West (5-4)
Where: SM South District Stadium
Last meeting: Olathe South beat SM West, 31-21, in week five.
Topeka CJ spread: Olathe South -16

Key players

Jake Seurer, Olathe South: Gritty senior has 1,540 yards of total offense and 21 touchdowns, on top of 80 tackles defensively.

Johnathon Sands, Olathe South: Ballhawking defensive back leads the league in interceptions with seven.

Asher Goldtson, SM West: Big-play threat has five interceptions, two defensive touchdowns, and four rushing touchdowns.

Isaiah Macklin, SM West: League's best cover corner has six interceptions to go along with two non-offensive touchdowns.

Talking points

Olathe South
**The Falcons' two losses came against opponents who are a combined 17-1.
**Olathe South hasn't lost a playoff game since 2010, and is 5-1 in their last six playoff games.
**The Falcons are 7-0 when leading at halftime this season.

SM West
**The Vikings lead the league in takeaways with 26.
**SM West hasn't lost a playoff game since 2011, and is 5-1 in their last six playoff games.
**After beginning the season 1-4, the Vikings have strung together four wins in a row.


The last playoff appearance for both of these clubs came in the 6A state title games in 2011 (Olathe South) and 2012 (SM West), games which both teams won. In their week four matchup, Olathe South jumped out to a commanding 28-7 first half lead, before SM West chipped in a couple second half touchdowns to make the game more competitive. Olathe South ultimately won the contest, 31-21. This game could very well be decided in the first half if Olathe South is able to jump out to one of their patented first half leads. They Vikings must limit the opening onslaught to stay in this one.

SM South (3-6) at Blue Valley (8-1)
Where: Blue Valley High School
Last meeting: N/A:
Topeka CJ spread: Blue Valley -35

Key players

Dalton Lewallen, SM South:Do-it-all athlete has 739 yards of total offense, eight touchdowns, 101 tackles and three takeaways.

Marshall Bland, SM South: Raider's best big-play threat has averaged 8.7 yards per play on 91 offensive touches.

AJ Harris, Blue Valley: Mizzou commit is one of the nastiest, most relentless lineman in the Kansas City metro.

Colton McCumber, Blue Valley: Balanced quarterback completes 61% of his passes and has 1,528 yards of total offense and 16 touchdowns.

Talking points

Blue Valley
**The Tigers have gone 28-6 in the playoffs since 2000.
**In the last 10 playoffs, Blue Valley claimed 5A state titles four times: 2003, '06, '10 and '13.
**Blue Valley has outscored their last three opponents 138-42.

SM South
**The Raiders' last playoff victory came against Blue Valley North in 1990.
**This is SM South's first playoff berth since 2007.
**Celebrity SM South alum Rob Riggle congratulated the Raiders on Twitter earlier this week.


As dominant as the Blue Valley football program has been through the years, there's always been the notion that 5A East isn't nearly as competitive as 6A East. The Tigers are out to dispel this idea, hoping to claim the program's first ever 6A state title. SM South is grateful to have made the playoffs after a pretty average season, and on the surface it would appear they need nothing short of a miracle to sneak away with a victory against arguably the state's best playoff program.

SM North (2-7) at Olathe North (9-0)
Where: ODAC
Last meeting: Olathe North beat SM North, 41-14, in week six.
Topeka CJ spread: Olathe North -43

Key players

Will Schneider, SM North: League's top pocket passer has thrown for 1,786 yards and 22 touchdowns as just a sophomore.

Nick Perez, SM North: Leads the league in receiving with 900 reception yards and 12 touchdowns, and has 93 tackles a five takeaways on defense.

Marcel Spears, Olathe North: Iowa State commit has 59 tackles, two interceptions, one forced fumble and a blocked kick.

Vinnie Shabazz, Olathe North: Lockdown defensive back has three interceptions and provides a punch as the Eagles' second-string tailback.

Talking points

SM North
**The Indians have 20 total victories since 2004.
**SM North is 2-1 since week seven, after having gone 0-25 the prior 25 games.
**The Indians lead the league in passing yards, but ranked last in rushing yards.

Olathe North
**The Eagles have 16 playoff victories since 2004.
**After an 8-11 stretch from 2011-2012, Olathe North has won 17 of their last 21 games.
**Olathe North has eight state titles all-time, but just one in the last 10 years.


These two clubs were tied at halftime back in week six (before Olathe North blew open the barn doors in the second half) but it's hard to see that happening again. Olathe North will be more focused as they gear up for the playoffs in what they hope will lead to a ninth state title in program history. If SM North were to pull a major upset in this game it would be their first playoff victory since 2000.

Jahlyl Rounds and Wichita Northwest will be
a tough test for Free State. Photo
Wichita Northwest (7-2) 
at Lawrence Free State (6-3)
Where: Free State Athletic Stadium
Last meeting: N/A
Topeka CJ spread: Wichita Northwest -1

Key players

Keshaun McGaugh, Wichita Northwest: Grizzlies' top offensive threat has rushed for 1,191 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Joseph Weibel, Wichita Northwest: Talented junior linebacker has logged 69 tackles (14.5 for loss) and 5.5 sacks on the season.

Bryce Torneden, Free State: Offensive machine needs 305 passing yards to become league's first 1,000/1,000 player since 2010.

Scott Frantz, Free State: K-State commit has been the league's best offensive lineman and leads the charge up front.

Talking points

Wichita Northwest
**Wichita Northwest will have to endure a bus ride of approximately two hours to this game.
**Quarterback K'Vion Richard, a sophomore, has played well, but only started four games.
**After winning seven straight games, the Grizzlies lost a nailbitter to Hutchinson on Friday.

Free State
**The Firebirds went 3-0 against a district that included Manhattan (7-2) and Topeka (7-2).
**Free State has won five of their last six Regional playoff games under Bob Lisher.
**Since the start of the 2012 season, the Firebirds have gone 25-7 with three playoff victories.


Free State might be playing as well as any team in the state, given the dominant fashion in which they dispatched Manhattan and Topeka the past two weeks. If the Firebirds win this game, they will likely be favored to make it to Sub-State. Wichita Northwest is stockpiled with speed and athleticism, and that element of their attack will present the most problems to Free State.

Topeka Seaman (4-5) at Leavenworth (5-4)
Where: Pioneer Stadium
Last meeting: N/A
Topeka CJ spread: Leavenworth -20

Key players

Dalton Cowen, Topeka Seaman: Just a sophomore, the talented dual-threat quarterback has over 1,500 yards of total offense.

Reid Fehr, Topeka Seaman: Running back/linebacker combination is Seaman's most impactful player.

Sanchez Williams, Leavenworth: Under-the-radar back has come on strong, tallying 724 yards and nine touchdowns.

Anthony Hunt, Leavenworth: Pioneers' top tackler (115 tackles) has ranked among the league's top five in the category all season.

Talking points

Topeka Seaman
**None of Seaman's victories came against teams who finished with a winning record.
**No Topeka high school has won a big class state title since Washburn Rural in 1989.
**Seaman has advanced to Sectionals four times since 2000 ('00, '01, '02, '06, '09, '10).

**The Pioneers captured their first ever district championship this year going 3-0 in districts.
**Leavenworth has never won a playoff game in four playoff appearances all-time.
**The Pioneers were just 1-4 against 6A opponents, but went 4-0 against 5A competition.


There's really no reason Leavenworth shouldn't win this game and claim their first playoff victory in school history. The Pioneers swept their district and have exuded incredible confidence against non-Sunflower League foes all season. Topeka Seaman has looked like your run-of-the-mill type of club this fall, hovering just below .500. Also, when it comes to the playoffs, you can't bet against Leavenworth head coach Mark Littrell, who has coached three different teams into state title games in his career.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is crazy. I disagree with these rankings, especially for West. Where is DJ Turner? And Carter Pembridge is by far the best offensive lineman in the league. He was responsible for every touchdown in last week's game against BVN- plus I am sure he got 2, 3 sacks. Why not pay more attention to linemen? Why is it the same kids? Do you ever watch film or do you go off stats only (I am asking the question to be serious, not to be ignorant.) I think this is the only SFL blog-we gotta make sure we are giving due credit, not just to a few peeps. My vote is on West tonight, maybe you'll see a bit of Jared Green, DJ Turner and Big Pembridge and mention them! Go Vikes! Good luck too all the teams- praying for a fun night with no injuries!