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EKL/Sunflower League football: Five games to watch

Updated: 2013-09-10T23:14:44Z

By SAM McDOWELL

The Kansas City Star

It’s Week 2 of Kansas high school football. Within the Eastern Kansas and Sunflower leagues, here are some must-see games.

1. Blue Valley West at St. Thomas Aquinas

The top two finishers in the Eastern Kansas League from 2012 square off in an early-season matchup. That's probably already enough to make this a big game for St. Thomas Aquinas, but it took on some added importance last Friday when the Saints dropped their season opener at Blue Valley Northwest. Behind senior quarterback Danten Cosentino, St. Thomas Aquinas is looking to avoid falling into the dreaded 0-2 trap. Of course, that's easier said than done against Blue Valley West, which got 206 rushing yards from Grant Garcia in a season-opening victory over Washburn Rural. Quarterback Ryan Ralston can hurt you with his arm or his feet. He accounted for four BV West touchdowns last week, two running and two passing.

2. Olathe South at Shawnee Mission West

Not a bad season opener for Olathe South quarterback Jake Seurer. In his first start under center, Seurer passed for 219 yards and four touchdowns on only 12 pass attempts to lead Olathe South past Lawrence. Is it a sign of things to come? Well, it won't take long to find out. Olathe South marches into Shawnee Mission West to take on the defending state champion. SM West is coming off a lackluster 10-3 victory — but a win nonetheless — against SM South. The Vikings were held to fewer points than in any single game during their Kansas Class 6A championship run last season.

3. Bishop Miege at Blue Valley

Both teams are expecting to be in the mix for the Eastern Kansas League championship this season. Bishop Miege found its stride late in 2012, riding a hot streak to the Class 5A championship game, and it appears to be carrying over the momentum into this season. Blake Bohannon played a part in two takeaways — an interception and a fumble recovery — to lead the Stags to a season-opening win over Blue Valley North. Blue Valley, meanwhile, dominated Gardner-Edgerton 28-0. While the win may not have been surprising, the margin of victory certainly was. Joe Forlenza and Brandon Lee helped Blue Valley shut down Kansas-bound running back Traevohn Wrench. The two combined for 23 tackles.

4. Olathe Northwest at Olathe East

Thought to be one of the most improved teams in the Sunflower League, Olathe Northwest is already within one victory of last season's total. New coach Chip Sherman unveiled his fast-paced offense in a 21-14 victory over SM Northwest, although it provided mixed results. Quarterbacks Cole Dahlquist and Jack Hatzfeld needed 41 combined pass attempts to reach 162 yards. They will have to be more efficient against Olathe East, winner of six games last season, which lost a 26-23 heartbreaker to Olathe North after taking a lead into the fourth quarter in the season opener.

5. Shawnee Mission South at Olathe North

If you believe in moral victories, Shawnee Mission South might have earned one last week. The Raiders played toe-to-toe with SM West, last season's Kansas Class 6A state champion. Nick Oliver led the defensive effort with eight tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. In coach Gene Wier's second year back with Olathe North, the Eagles are poised to improve on their three-win season in 2012. They opened in style, defeating rival Olathe East on Venus Triplett's 12-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter. Triplett and quarterback Cole Murphy lead a potent rushing attack for Olathe North.

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