Sideline Pass: Jim Bradford 11/13

Jim Bradford

By Jim Bradford PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: November 14, 2014 - 7:23 AM

For a few weeks, there has been a lot of talk about a so-called collision of undefeated teams in the Kansas Class 6A sub-state finals. Or as normal people would call it, the Kansas Class 6A state semifinals.

It makes sense. People have been talking about Shawnee Mission East and Olathe North for a while now for good reason. They are good teams. Really good teams. Undefeated teams.

But let’s put that talk to rest. Let’s just talk about what we get to see over the next couple of weeks and leave it at that. We have three more games before we send a team from this area to the state title game.

And while Shawnee Mission East will have its hands full with long-time rival and upset-minded Shawnee Mission West, the marquee game of this week will definitely be taking place at the Olathe District Activities Center, where two of the area’s true blue bloods square off as Olathe North hosts Blue Valley.

Since the early ’90s, these two teams have been the unquestioned kingpins of Johnson County football. They once shared lockers, so to speak, as members of the East Kansas League until the late ’80s. Since then they have rarely played one another, but when they do they have been classic matchups, including the 2009 6A semifinal won by North at Blue Valley on a last-second field goal.

While both teams have been breezing through most of the season on their way to this game, it was their week three games that shaped the courses of their seasons.

Everyone had Olathe North set up on a pedestal before the season began. They came within a game of the state title game and brought just about every one of their key players back. They were loaded, and everyone was all but handing them a state title before they traveled to Rogers, Ark., for a week one battle.

They had to get a late turnover and score a late touchdown to pull out the win. The next week they needed every single minute again to come from behind to beat Lawrence Free State by a touchdown. Hardly setting the world on fire, the 2-0 Eagles hosted 2-0 Olathe South.

This game might have been the springboard they needed, even though they had to go to double overtime to pull out the win. Since then, they have rolled over every opponent, posting three shutouts and having another game in which they gave up just three points. And even hanging an impressive 68 points on the board in last week’s regional win over Shawnee Mission North.

They now stand a perfect 10-0 heading into Friday night.

Blue Valley was still a bit of an unknown. They had shut out Shawnee Mission Northwest and doubled up Blue Valley West but still hadn’t really found their rhythm.

They came into their week three matchup with just as many questions as North may have had. And they walked away from a stinging 42-21 loss to Bishop Miege with some work to do.

Needless to say, they have gotten that work done. They have reeled off seven straight wins and done so in impressive fashion against teams such as Olathe South, Blue Valley Northwest and St. Thomas Aquinas.

They hung 70 points on Gardner-Edgerton and rolled over Shawnee Mission South last week in the regional opener.

As the two teams get set to square off on Friday, there’s no doubt that week three for both teams proved to be a catalyst.