Four games will showcase 913 area high school football teams on Friday night in Kansas sectional playoffs:
Blue Valley (9-1) at Olathe North (10-0)
Blue Valley finished second in the Eastern Kansas League, due in large part to the success of its ground game. The Tigers relied on a balanced attack from William Evans and AJ Totta, who combined for 22 touchdowns. Quarterback Colton McCumber added eight more rushing touchdowns in the regular season.
Olathe North has its own rushing threat in running back Venus Triplett, who finished the regular season ranked third in the Sunflower League with 996 yards and 16 touchdowns on 207 carries.
SM West (6-4) at SM East (10-0)
The Vikings are in upset mode and that could mean bad news for undefeated Shawnee Mission East.
SM West last week avenged a midseason loss to Olathe South with a six-point victory. SM West backup quarterback Jonathan Shull had two rushing touchdowns in the game and Isreal Watson caught a touchdown pass from Adam Rellihan. It was the Vikings’ fifth straight victory after starting the season 1-4.
SM West will try to work its magic again this week against SM East, which won the first matchup between the teams, 42-19, earlier this season. The Lancers had the Sunflower League’s most prolific offense with 4,219 total yards and 63 offensive touchdowns during the regular season.
St. Thomas Aquinas (7-3) at Leavenworth (6-4)
Running back James Cosentino has led the Saints on a big turnaround this season in Aquinas coach Randy Dreiling’s new offense. Cosentino tore up the Eastern Kansas League with 1,194 yards and 13 rushing touchdown in 156 carries. Aquinas quarterback Karter Odermann also added to the rushing attack with 553 yards and eight touchdowns during the regular season.
The Saints’ rushing success could bode well against Leavenworth, which gave up just more than 200 yards on the ground per game during the regular season.
Bishop Miege (10-0) at Fort Scott (9-1)
The most dangerous part of the Bishop Miege offense might be its balance. Kansas commit Ryan Willis led the Eastern Kansas League with 1,990 yards and 25 touchdowns, with just five interceptions on 202 attempts this season. His top target was Jafar Armstrong, who had 677 yards and four touchdowns in the regular season. Danny Murphy followed with 482 yards and six touchdowns.
Willis also has the option of handing it off to Dawson Downing, who led the league with 1,462 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns in 166 carries.
That combination helped the Stags average 466.78 yards and 41.89 yards per game in EKL victories over Class 5A and 6A opponents.