High schools

Five things to watch in Friday’s prep games

Updated: 2013-09-20T19:10:15Z

By SAM McDOWELL

The Kansas City Star

1 Blue Springs at Lee’s Summit West

Blue Springs is the No. 1-ranked team in Missouri Class 6 and the defending state champion. Lee’s Summit West is the top-ranked team in The Star’s big-class poll. What more do you need to know? Just take a look at last season — the game turned into an instant classic, which Lee’s Summit West won 35-28 in overtime. Thought that was good? This season’s game, believe or not, may be even more hyped. It will feature some of the best athletes in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Lee’s Summit West boasts two-sport stud Monte Harrison at wide receiver, with Missouri commit Logan Cheadle anchoring the defense at cornerback. Blue Springs has the reigning Thomas A. Simone Award winner in tailback Dalvin Warmack, a Kansas State commit, while quarterback Ian Brown has given the Wildcats an added dimension to their offense. And with two more Kansas State commits, defensive end Elijah Lee and Kaleb Prewett, leading the defense, every unit on the field is impressive.

2 Olathe Northwest at Shawnee Mission East

These two teams have lit up the scoreboard in the early going, but they do it in completely different manners. Let’s start with Olathe Northwest, 1-1, which threw the ball 64 times in two weeks. That’s nearly double any other team in the Sunflower League. Contrast that with Shawnee Mission East, which has rushed for for 700 yards in its two victories — led by Luke Taylor, who has 276 yards— behind a powerful offensive line. That could spell trouble for the Olathe Northwest defense, which is allowing more than 4 yards per tote.

3 Liberty at Lee’s Summit

Not many predicted this Suburban Gold Conference match-up would feature two undefeated teams, but Liberty and Lee’s Summit have been pleasant surprises. Lee’s Summit won only three games last year but has already matched that number this season behind red-hot quarterback Drew Lock, who has thrown 10 touchdowns in three weeks. The sledding won’t be easy, however, against a Liberty defense that has allowed only two touchdowns in three weeks. The Blue Jays are dominant up front on both sides of the football. A win would not only give Liberty a 3-0 start in league play, it would offer some momentum heading into a showdown with defending conference champion Blue Springs next week.

4 Olathe East at Lawrence Free State

A program that has increased its win production each of the past three seasons, Lawrence Free State is using a physical brand of football to try to continue that trend this fall. The Firebirds have allowed only 10 points in their two wins. In particular, the rushing defense has been impenetrable, allowing only 6 yards this year. But something has to give. Olathe East, 1-1, presents a running attack headlined by Jordan Brown that also includes a committee of tailbacks who will see carries Friday. Should Olathe East decide to move the ball through the air, it would be wise to avoid Joel Spain, who has picked off passes for Lawrence Free State in consecutive weeks.

5 Suburban Blue Conference matchups

Five of the six teams in the Suburban Blue Conference — Winnetonka, Platte County, Liberty North, Grandview and Kearney — have started 2-1. Over the next few weeks, though, the conference may start to see some separation as those teams face one another. Kearney will travel to Liberty North on Friday in a matchup that features Kearney’s high-flying offense against a Liberty North defense that has posted two shutouts in three weeks. Meanwhile, Grandview travels to Platte County.

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