by David Brox, firstname.lastname@example.org
Win or start getting ready for basketball or what ever winter activities you plan to participate in. This is the theme heading into the first round of the 2014 KS State playoffs. I really enjoy this time of year because I can go strictly into fan mode and cheer for the teams that I cover. Some schools have a chance at a nice run and a few have daunting tasks ahead of them.
Bonner Springs vs Aquinas
I will start with Bonner Springs who had me jaw dropped by their score against St. James Academy last Friday night, a 13-0 shutout. So the Braves enter the playoffs for the first time since 2011 and most importantly with some momentum. After getting worked over by Mill Valley the week before this team showed a great deal of grit and determination to get the win. The concern however is the bottom falling out of the offense the last two weeks. 13 points total in 2 games raises a bit of a red flag considering that it is the strength of the team.
They will face off against Aquinas who is coming into this game with a loss against Pittsburg. There was some discussion about a key injury but I won’t speculate there. This team plays a very unique style of offense which gave Mill Valley fits earlier this year. No playoff game is easy and for Bonner Springs this is going to be an huge challenge. Hopefully they have some tricks they have been saving up on offense to get off to a fast start.
Spring Hill vs Piper
I need all Piper players to skip this as I am about to contradict what I just said above to Bonner Springs. This should be a win for the Pirates no matter how you look at it. Spring Hill benefited from a district with Louisburg and Sumner Academy who had a combined 5 wins. This game however is interesting to me because it will then become a common opponent for Bishop Miege who beat Spring Hill 42-0.
Ty Banes should be back at QB for the Pirates who have been lights out since the loss against Bonner Springs. 3 consecutive 50+ ball games with contributions from everyone. Keep an eye on Sterling Owens who is starting to jump on my radar for post season honors. Piper has many weapons and a lot of depth with Travon Jones and Colton Beebe in the back field but Owens’ big play capability is reaching silly levels. He has 766 rushing yards and 8 TD’s. On the surface that just looks good but that has been accomplished on just 77 carries. That is almost 10 yards every time he touches the ball. His 9 receptions for 117 yards and 2 TD’s isn’t bad. If Piper is able to make a run he will get enough touches to get him on par with his peer RB’s.
Basehor-Linwood vs Miege
The Basehor-Linwood Bobcats have really surprised a lot of people with their consistency. They remind me a bit of last years Chiefs team under Andy Reid. Coach Stallbaumer has done an exceptional job of getting these players on the same page because if you watch you can see it is still a work in progress. The job he has done has him on our Coach of the Year radar and why not? First playoff birth since 2011 with a 7-2 record. This means they didn’t just sneak into this game but were consistent through out the season.
For that effort however they have to face arguably the best team in the East and perhaps the state in Bishop Miege. Ryan Willis has put up some great numbers in route to a 9-0 record, 1988 yards and 25 TD’s to just 5 INT’s. Pair him up with Dawson Downing who has piled up 1497 rushing yards and 19 TD’s and another 5 TD’s through the air. All this against some of the best competition. Their football roster is a 1/3 of Bishop Ward’s enrollment. Its a mockery of the division but I won’t go into that.
This is definitely a tall order for Basehor-Linwood but I expect the leadership on this team to leave everything on the field.
Lansing vs Shawnee Heights
Lansing is caught in a yearly ground hog day as this year looks just like the last 3. Some ups and downs during the regular season but get into the playoffs. The problem with Lansing is that they seem to play the last game of the season so poorly. Last year it was Mill Valley and this year it was Leavenworth. Falling flat in what had to be a huge rivalry game has to have the team shell shocked heading into this matchup with Heights. It will be a tall task for Coach McCall and his staff to wake up the Lions.
Heights is led by senior RB Tony Barksdale who averages 138 yards per game. He has 21 total TD’s and will be the player to key on if Lansing is going to get a playoff win.
Pittsburg vs Mill Valley
This is the game I will be attending because it is offering a big test for the Mill Valley. Mill Valley will come into the game rested after they cruised through the last two weeks of district play. Their draw however seems to be a stern test in the first round. I believe that Mill Valley is peeking at the right time. They have figured out how to create a bit of deception with their offensive attack with Christian Jegen and Logan Koch. We know all about Koch and Jegen who take advantage of Evan Applegate and Ben Hecht on the offensive line. I however will have my eye on Luke Krull who has come on strong during district play. The 6’5 TE will not be hard to find because he sticks out like a sore thumb running through the secondary. He however has very good hands and can make some plays to keep Pittsburg guessing.
Good luck to all my teams. My message to each and every player. I dare each of you to go out there and leave it all on the field. Exhaust yourself!