It’s Kansas high school football sectional playoffs week. Among teams remaining in the playoffs from the Eastern Kansas League and Sunflower League, here are four must-see games on Friday night:
By KATHLEEN GIER
The Kansas City Star
Class 6A: Lawrence Free State (9-1) at Olathe North (7-3)
Olathe North has made a habit this season of defeating top teams. One of those just happens to be Lawrence Free State, which Olathe North defeated 26-19 Oct. 3. It was Free State’s only loss thus far, and the Firebirds will be looking for revenge in this Kansas 6A sectional. Outside of that game, they have played several other close games with four games decided by seven points or fewer, including a pair of two-point victories. Olathe North has won five of its last six games since that victory against Free State and has held opponents to seven points or fewer in four of them.
Class 6A: Shawnee Mission East (9-1) at Olathe East (7-3)
Olathe East is coming off a big upset victory over Gardner Edgerton in last week’s Kansas 6A regional matchup. Thus, second seeded Shawnee Mission East should be very wary, especially because the Hawks have homefield advantage at the College Boulevard Athletic Complex. Olathe East has some momentum as well, having won two straight games. Shawnee Mission East, on the other hand has rattled off four straight victories, all of which were decided by 22 points or more, since an overtime loss to Lawrence Free State. The Lancers defeated Leavenworth 26-14 in last week’s regional.
Class 5A: Mill Valley (10-0) at Blue Valley (7-3)
Mill Valley is the top seed out of the East in the Kansas 5A state tournament and is looking to stay undefeated with three games left until the championship. The Jaguars are coming off a 38-6 trouncing of St. Thomas Aquinas in regional play, which was their eighth double-digit conquest. The only two teams to play them close were Manhattan (by five points in the season opener) and Piper (by seven in Week 6). Despite having won three of its last four games, Blue Valley ended the season on a sour note in a one-point loss to rival Blue Valley West on a last second field goal. The Tigers defeated Shawnee Heights of Topeka 42-14 in the regional last week to get back into the win column.
Class 5A: Blue Valley West (7-3) at Bishop Miege (9-1)
Bishop Miege’s only loss was to Gardner Edgerton in Week 4. Other than that, the Stags have been generally rolling over opponents with seven of their victories by 25 points or more. Blue Valley West was one of the few teams to play them close in a 21-19 loss Oct. 11. The Jaguars fought to erase a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter only to see their potential game-winning field goal blocked. Adding to the intensity of this matchup, Miege eliminated Blue Valley West in the quarterfinals last season.