Its Week 3 of the Kansas high school football season. Within the Eastern Kansas League and Sunflower League, here are five must-see games.
By SAM MCDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
1. Olathe East at Lawrence Free State
Lawrence Free State is a program on the rise over the last three seasons, and the Firebirds are using a physical brand of football to continue that trend. They have allowed only 10 points in two games, turning both matchups into victories. Their rushing defense has been downright dominant, having allowed only six yards thus far, and Joel Spain has intercepted passes in consecutive weeks. That makes for an intriguing matchup against Olathe East, 1-1, which will counter with a run-first offense. The rushing game is headlined by Jordan Brown, but the Hawks have a committee of tailbacks ready to. After dropping the season opener at Olathe North, the Hawks rebounded nicely for a win against Olathe Northwest.
2. Gardner Edgerton at Blue Valley Southwest
It didn't take long for Gardner Edgerton running back Traevohn Wrench to get back on track. After being shut down in a 28-0 loss to Blue Valley in the season opener, Wrench responded with a five-touchdown night in a 49-27 romp against Blue Valley Northwest. The Trailblazers are suddenly looking like the team many expected to compete for the Eastern Kansas League title. Their opponent Friday, Blue Valley Southwest, is off to a 2-0 start. And that qualifies as a bit of a surprise. The Timberwolves, however, can prove they are no fluke if they can knock off Gardner Edgerton. Quarterback Drake Herrman has accounted for nine touchdowns in two weeks.
3. Olathe Northwest at Shawnee Mission East
Both teams have found a way to light up the scoreboard, but they do it in completely different manners. Shawnee Mission East, 2-0, has already rushed for an astounding 700 yards including 276 from Luke Taylor and quarterback Christian Blessen has needed to attempt only 27 passes. That's a dangerous recipe for Olathe Northwest, which has surrenderd more than four yards per carry. On the flip side, Olathe Northwest, 1-1, has passed 64 times a total nearly double of any other Sunflower League team. Wide receivers Chase Gitlin and Nathan Power and tailback Cody Sestrich have played key roles in coach Chip Sherman's pass-heavy offense.
4. Bishop Miege at Blue Valley Northwest
Two teams putting up plenty of points will meet in a Thursday night game likely to keep the scoreboard busy. Unless, of course, the Bishop Miege defense can continue its trend. The Stags, 2-0, have allowed only 18 points in two games, and they have coupled that by scoring 70. Dynamic weapon McKinley Johnson leads the Eastern Kansas League with 292 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Blue Valley Northwest, 1-1, has increased its offensive productivity from last season, although it must see a better effort from the defense to compete with Bishop Miege.
5. Olathe South at Leavenworth
Neither team puts the ball in the air often, meaning this game Friday night could by played quickly. Leavenworth running back Jason Randall is third in the Sunflower League in rushing with 222 yards in two games. The Pioneers, 1-1, shut out Shawnee Mission North last week. Olathe South, 1-1, saw its season-opening offensive success come to a screeching halt against Shawnee Mission West last week. Jeff Gourley's group looks to regain its form on the road Friday.