Monday, November 10, 2014

Sunflower League Regional Round Review

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.
The Good

**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.

The Bad

**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.

The Ugly

**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

Lawrence (5-5)
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.


vikingfan1 said...

SM West, who had 5 turnovers in the first half on the road at Olathe South was within 7 late in the fourth quarter in their first meeting. And the "computer" had West as a 16 point dog at home last week?

Sounds like the "computer" needs a tweak in the settings...

Free State Fan said...

I like FS's chances against Junction City. JC is 0-2 against teams with winning records (a loss to a 6-4, 5A school and a loss to Manhattan, who FS handled easily on the road) and 8-0 against teams with losing records. They barely beat Washburn Rural (2-7), who FS destroyed. Take care of business, 'Birds!

Anonymous said...

@vikingfan1 This year, Shawnee Mission West was blown off as failures with no strong seniors and no experience. Now they are in the Sectional playoffs and they still don't get any respect from the media. Glad to see Shull got mentioned. Maybe they'll talk a bit more after the Vikes beat East on Friday night. 16 point deficit against Olathe South... wonder what the point deficit is against East. I gotta say, the Vikes have a better chance than everyone seems to think.. heck- look at the Royals. 'I Believe.'

TheImpaler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheImpaler said...

The CJ computer has about as much relevance on the field as my dog. Computers say what they're programmed to say. A real oddsmaker probably would have had that game SMW +6.5 maybe 7.5 given the close call with BVN. I hope they can beat East but they need to play a near perfect game. No turnovers and the can't get behind early. They need to grind out first downs and score touchdowns, we've settled for too many field goals lately although it's good to see Tyler's improvement as a kicker. I just hope the Lancers remember to bring the Nut Cup to the game this time....

SFL blog fan said...

I thought gabe guild was a D1 player

SFL blog fan said...

SMS deron dangerfield was a walk on at ku last year