Sideline Pass: Jim Bradford 11/19
By Jim Bradford PrepsKC Senior Writer
OK, we’ve been talking about it all year. We’ve been talking about two teams in Kansas Class 6A — Olathe North and Shawnee Mission East.
All of us so called experts, pundits and yahoos have been salivating about this matchup since they both hopped out to 3-0 starts. It was then that we started to see the figurative writing on the wall.
If everything went the way it was looking like it would, those two standouts were on a collision course.
Well, they were and now we can talk about the matchup that we’ve all been looking for — this Friday’s Class 6A sub-state final. The matchup is a rematch of last year’s sub-state final that East won 37-27 on route to their first ever state championship game appearance.
It’s a heavyweight bout and a matchup we’ve haven’t seen at this point in the playoffs in a long, long time. By the time most teams get to the point, someone has stubbed their toe. A battle for a spot in the state title game between two teams on the eastern side of the state with perfect records is rare.
But so are these two teams. Talented and playing their best football at the right time.
For the Lancers, a pair of lopsided playoff wins — a 35-7 win over Lawrence in the sectional round and 41-0 win last Friday in the regional final — have actually put a dent in their lofty per game scoring average. They were averaging better than 50 points a game. Yep, you read that right. They were averaging more than 50 points a game. They never trailed throughout the entire regular season and trailed for all of 4:13 seconds last week in the playoff opener against Lawrence.
For some perspective, the Lancers have trailed for just an eyelash more than four minutes of a possible 528 minutes.
Yep, the Lancers are good and can score on anyone.
We all knew the Eagles’ defense is tough, but Friday night, they were downright nasty. The Tigers — a team that had averaging better than 46 points over the past four games — looked pedestrian, at best.
They scored just one offensive touchdown in the 27-14 loss. They had just 143 yards of total offense — an average of 2.6 yards per play. Take away their lone scoring drive, which was a nine-play, 66-yard drive late in the third quarter, and they averaged a paltry 1.7 yards a play.
They had just four plays in which they gained more than 10 yards and 19 plays that gained them two yards or less.
“It’s a great feeling,” North linebacker Marcel Spears said after Friday night’s win over Blue Valley. “But we’ve still got some work to do. We want to get out there and win state.”
The Eagles will have their hands full with the defending sub-state champs and North head coach Gene Wier knows it.
“We want to keep them off balance and hope that we can hang in there,” Wier said about the matchup against SM East.
I’m sure SM East coach Dustin Delaney feels the exact same way.
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