It’s Week 9 of the Kansas high school football season. Within the Eastern Kansas League and Sunflower League, here are five must-see games:
By KATHLEEN GIER
The Kansas City Star
1. Olathe East (5-3, 4-2 SL) at Shawnee Mission South (4-4, 3-3 SL)
These teams meet Friday with the second playoff spot in District 3 on the line. Each has one win and one loss in district play at the hands of current leader Blue Valley Northwest. Olathe East has more than twice the offensive touchdowns of Shawnee Mission South 38-17. Olathe East quarterback Connor Leach leads the Sunflower League with 15 passing touchdowns on just 981 yards. Also, Jordan Brown leads the Olathe East ground game with 701 yards and nine touchdowns on 150 carries.
2. Blue Valley West (5-3, 3-3 EKL) at Blue Valley (6-2, 4-2 EKL)
With a district title on the line Blue Valley West plays at Blue Valley. Both teams are undefeated in district play, but Blue Valley holds a slight edge in the overall record. The Tigers have won three in a row since a loss to Blue Valley Northwest, and they have won by an average of 20 points a game. Both teams have strong ground games. Blue Valley ranked second in the Eastern Kansas League averaging 278 rushing yards a game and 29 total touchdowns. Blue Valley West was right behind them with 26 total touchdowns and 237 rushing yards a game.
3. Bishop Miege (7-1, 5-1 EKL) at St. Thomas Aquinas (3-5, 2-5 EKL)
St. Thomas Aquinas has had a rough season, but there’s nothing like a rivalry game to get the fire going. Offensively, Miege looks to have the advantage with the top passing quarterback in the EKL in Ryan Willis, who has completed 109 of 176 passes and amassed 1,892 yards. He also has two of the top targets in the league in McKinley Johnson and Michael Murphy with 608 and 489 receiving yards, respectively. The Saints have been more balanced on offense, averaging 201 rushing yards and 157 yards passing a game, but 27 of their 36 offensive touchdowns have come on the ground.
4. Gardner Edgerton (7-1, 5-1 EKL) at Olathe Northwest (3-5, 3-3 SL)
After a loss in Week 1, Gardner Edgerton has rattled off seven straight wins, including a last-second victory over Olathe North last week. It was the Trailblazers' third victory decided by fewer than five points. Olathe Northwest is coming off back-to-back losses where it managed only seven points in each game. Northwest will surely need to score more to hang with the Trailblazers who are scoring nearly 34 points a game.
5. Olathe North (5-3, 4-2 SL) vs. Olathe South (5-3, 4-2 SL)
Olathe North is ranked second in the Sunflower League in total offense, averaging 370 yards and 31 points a game. The Falcons are led by Venus Triplett who leads the league with 18 rushing touchdowns on 153 carries. Right behind him is Cole Murphy with seven touchdowns on 124 carries. That's a tough task for Olathe South, which is averaging 317 yards and 18 points. The second playoff berth out of District 4 goes to the winner.