Through the Uprights: Adam Sullivan 10/15
By Adam Sullivan PrepsKC Columnist
Districts are finally here in Kansas. The “regular season” is finally over, and playoff football is getting ready to kick off this week. It’s where every team starts 0-0 again and dreams become reality, and seasons end in heartbreak. It’s where teams that currently sit 0-6 or 1-5 have a chance to reverse everything and make a state run.
So the question now becomes who you should keep an eye out for. And what districts are the toughest? Who will advance out of district play and into the playoffs? Here are my predictions for Sunflower League teams.
Predicted champion – Shawnee Mission East (6-0). Don’t be surprised if East drops 50 points each week of districts. The Lancers will cruise to 9-0.
Predicted Runner-up – Shawnee Mission North (0-6). The Indians stayed with Olathe North for three quarters last week and are bound to get a win sooner or later. I think North will go 2-1 in districts and advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
Outside looking in – Wyandotte (1-5) and Harmon (0-6). I just don’t think these two programs have enough talent just yet to compete in 6A.
Predicted champion – Shawnee Mission West (2-4). The Vikings are finally clicking and have one of the best coaches in the league. Look for West to make a run into the playoffs and pull an upset on someone early.
Predicted runner-up – Shawnee Mission South (1-5). The Raiders have had a tough start so far but wins are possible against their remaining three opponents.
Outside looking in – Shawnee Mission Northwest (2-4). Don’t be surprised if the Cougars make a push for a district title or playoff spot, but also don’t be shocked if they go 0-3. Hard to tell who Northwest is at this time. And Blue Valley North (1-5). Looking at an 0-3 district for the Mustangs.
Predicted champion – Olathe South (5-1). South was an extra point away from being 6-0 and possibly ranked the number one team in the state. Look for a huge game against Blue Valley on the 24th to decide the district champion.
Predicted Runner-up – Blue Valley (5-1). The Tigers are always tough.
Outside looking in – Blue Valley Northwest (4-2). The Huskies need a victory over Olathe South or Blue Valley to give them a chance to survive and advance. And Gardner-Edgerton (0-6). Did anyone see the Trailblazers going 0-9?
Predicted champion – Olathe North (6-0). The Eagles on paper are easily the best team in the district and should go 3-0. Look for Venus Triplett and Josh Moore to have monster weeks ahead.
Predicted runner-up – Lawrence (3-3). I’ve been high on the Chesty Lions all season long, and to this point they’ve been disappointing. I think a late run is in store and think they’ll go 2-1 in district play.
Outside looking in – Olathe Northwest (4-2). The Ravens have made great strides this season and have a legitimate shot of coming out of this district. If they can get past Lawrence in week seven, it’ll set up a huge showdown on the 24th against Olathe East. Also, Olathe East (3-3). Jeff Meyers has led the Hawks to post-season play 12 years in a row. Despite the Hawks dropping two straight games this season, you have to wonder if Meyers can put some playoff magic together and find a way to get in as he has the talent to do so.
Predicted champion – Manhattan (6-0.) The Indians look like the toughest team in this district and have a great home field environment.
Predicted runner-up – Topeka (5-1). The Trojans fell last week to Shawnee Heights, but make no mistake about it. Topeka is for real this season and will give Manhattan a run for their money.
Outside looking in – Lawrence Free State (3-3). The dark horse of this district. I could see Free State going 3-0 but just as easily see them going 1-2. And Washburn Rural (2-4). The weakest of the bunch and expected to drop all three district games.
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