|SM West's Jose Montoya forced a fumble from Olathe South's DaeVonte Nance in Friday|
night's game. SM West won, 26-20. Photo Kansas City Star.
**Leavenworth won their first playoff game in program history, taking home a 35-6 victory against Topeka Seaman. It marks the first time the Pioneers have been in the Sectional Round of the playoffs since 1980. They will face a stiff test this Friday in St. Thomas Aquinas, led by none other than former Hutchinson coach Randy Dreiling, but regardless of the outcome, Leavenworth's football program should be proud of their accomplishments. Their six wins are also the most we've seen on record from the program.
**Olathe North pushed their record to 10-0 when they handled SM North, 68-20, on Friday. Since 2000, the Eagles have nine seasons of 10 or more wins. In that same time frame, the rest of the league has a combined 12 seasons of 10 or more wins.
**SM East's 35-7 victory against Lawrence also bumped their record to 10-0 on the season. It marks the second consecutive season in which the Lancers have won 10 or more games. Since 2000, that feat has only been accomplished by one other program -- Olathe North. The Eagles accomplished back-to-back-to-back-to-back 10+ win seasons from 2000 to 2004, and back-to-back 10-win seasons from 2009 to 2010.
**By taking care of business against Wichita Northwest, Lawrence Free State earned a rematch with Junction City in Sectionals. If you recall, Lawrence Free State lost to a Ty Zimmerman led Junction City team, 20-14, in the 2008 6A state title game. Temperatures are expected to be frigid this Friday, and remember, revenge is best served cold.
**Olathe South was a 16-point computer favorite against SM West, but after getting down early they didn't have enough left in the tank to finished a late rally, losing 26-20. The Falcons have zero playoff wins since they won the 6A state title in 2011.
**SM North and SM South both made it into the playoffs with losing records, and neither fared well. The Indians lost by 48 points to Olathe North, while SM South lost by 41 to Blue Valley.
**SM East -- known for breaking open a lead through the air -- threw exactly one pass against Lawrence, and still defeated the Chesty Lions by 28 points. Also of note: the pass was incomplete. Lawrence's defense had no answer for the intricacies of the flexbone offense and its running schemes.
**SM North hasn't won a playoff game since 2000, while SM South hasn't won a playoff game since 1990.
Regional Round Players of the Week
Sanchez Williams, Leavenworth: Williams has been turning heads in the latter portion of this season. On Friday night he rushed for 305 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries. It marked the first time a Sunflower League player has rushed for more than 300 yards in a game this season. More importantly, Williams and the Pioneers bumped their record to 6-4, and advanced to Sectionals.
Jonathan Shull, SM West: Shull, a senior, had to swallow his pride earlier in the year after he was beat out at the starting quarterback position by junior Adam Rellihan. But on Friday night Rellihan went down with an injury, and Shull was forced into duty. He responded as well as SM West could have hoped, completing six of his seven passes for 108 yards, and adding two rushing touchdowns on the ground, including the game-winner with 14 second left in the game.
Down and Out
The Chesty Lions didn't end the season on a high-note, but they return a loaded deck in 2015. Their two top players will be Amani Bledsoe and JD Woods, who both figure to be unanimous First Team All-Sunflower League selections for their efforts this season. Alan Clothier, Price Morgan, Trey Moore and a host of other talented players also return, to help lead what could be the league's top unit.
Olathe South (7-3)
The 2015 season will mark the first time since 2009 the Falcons don't have a Seurer brother as their starting quarterback. Their offensive framework will be built around running backs DaeVonte Nance and Brady Noernberg, who could eclipse 1,000 rushing yards apiece next fall. The Falcons should continue to be one of the league's top programs.
SM North (2-8)
Would it be a surprise if SM North won three or four games next season? Not at all. Quarterback Will Schneider will return as a junior with two years of experience under his belt, and the the rest of the roster will naturally coalesce around his talents. The big question for SM North is will they remove the interim tag next to Ben Bartlett's name and make him the full-time head coach.
SM South (3-7)
It's not always easy being the smallest school in Class 6A, and that's where SM South stands. The Raiders have been better than their 11-17 record over the past three seasons suggests, but at the end of the day it's about wins and losses. With zero Division One players since 2000 (Leavenworth is the only other league program that can say the same), you've got to imagine SM South is long overdue for some sort of talent influx.