1. Rockhurst at Blue Springs
By SAM MCDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
A longtime rivalry takes on a different feel Friday, especially for the visitors. More than bragging rights are at stake for Rockhurst this time. The Hawklets need a victory to avoid an unprecedented 0-3 start, and with home games against Hutchinson (Kan.) and Blue Springs South lurking, there is an urgency to turn things around quickly. Of course, its not as if Rockhurst has been badly outplayed. It lost games to East St Louis (Ill.) and Bentonville (Ark.) by a combined eight points. Blue Springs swept the Hawklets last season, pulling away for a 38-24 win in the regular season before holding on to a 14-11 win in the Missouri Class 6 quarterfinals. The Wildcats, 2-0, are clicking offensively behind new quarterback Ian Brown, a transfer from Rockhurst. Brown threw six touchdowns last week against Park Hill South. Dalvin Warmack, the reigning Thomas A. Simone Award winner, has five touchdowns in two weeks.
2. Blue Valley West at St. Thomas Aquinas
The top two finishers in the Eastern Kansas League from last season meet. That was probably enough to make this a big game for Aquinas, but it took on some added importance when the Saints dropped their season opener at Blue Valley Northwest last Friday. Behind senior quarterback Danten Cosentino, Aquinas is looking to avoid falling to 0-2. Thats easier said than done against Blue Valley West, which got 206 rushing yards from Grant Garcia in a season-opening victory against Topeka Washburn Rural. BV West quarterback Ryan Ralston can hurt you with his arm or his feet. He accounted for four touchdowns last week.
3. 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 seasons total. New coach Chip Sherman unveiled his fast-paced offense in a 21-14 victory over SM Northwest last week, though 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, which lost a 26-23 heartbreaker to Olathe North after taking a lead into the fourth quarter.
4. Winnetonka at Grandview
Two weeks. Two wins. And two shootouts for the Grandview Bulldogs. If nothing else, Grandview has kept its first two weeks exciting, outscoring its opponents 103-67. Can the Bulldogs compete in the Suburban Blue Conference? This date with Winnetonka should answer the question. The Griffins are one considered one of the favorites to win the league.
5. Center at Hogan Prep Academy
These Missouri Class 3 programs matched up twice last season. Those games were decided by a combined eight points, with Center stealing the playoff victory. Hogan Prep is off to a fast and furious start this fall with 121 points in two games. Center, 1-1, is still searching for a way to replace its top offensive weapons from last season, but its the defense that faces the tallest task Friday.