Sideline Pass: Jim Bradford 8/26

Jim Bradford

By Jim Bradford PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: August 26, 2015 - 5:37 PM

OK, let this one sink in Shawnee Mission East fans — it’s time to begin defense of your state championship.

Sounds good doesn’t it?

In a little more than a week, that’s what the Lancer faithful will be able to boast.

And when you begin defense of a state championship — something a different Sunflower League team has done in four of the last six years, it means that the season has begun.

Well, Missouri got the ball rolling last week, but Kansas fans will have to wait until next week for the fun to begin. When it does, it’s going to be a good one. Here’s a look at a handful (or so) of games that highlight week 1 in Kansas big class football.

Gardner-Edgerton at Shawnee Mission East — This one is just interesting to me. Gardner-Edgerton went 0-9 last year and East won the first state title in school history by going 13-0. Either the Lancers run their winning streak to 14 — and push the Blazers skid to 11 — or the Blazers pull the ultimate upset. Something tells me the score will not be similar to last year when East won 40-0, but then again…

Heritage (Ark.) at Olathe North — Heritage High out of Rogers, Ark. gave North one its toughest tests before they finally lost in the state semifinals last year. North will be breaking in a new coach in week 1 when Chris McCartney takes over as the fifth coach in school history. It should be a good test right out of the chute.

Hutchinson at Olathe South — The seven-time state champion and defending state runner up Salt Hawks roll into Olathe for the first time next week. After losing to Hutch in the state title game in 2004 and 2007, the Falcons will look to make it two straight wins over the Salt Hawks when they square off next week.

Mill Valley at St. Thomas Aquinas — The best part of this game is that this will be the last time they face off as a season-opening non-conference showdown. The next time the two teams line up against each other, it will be an East Kansas League matchup as Mill Valley moves to the EKL to start the 2016 season — unless it’s in the playoffs. And that’s not that far-fetched.

Olathe East at Garden City — A new era at Olathe East begins with a trip out West as Jesse Owen leads the Hawks into their first game without Jeff Meyers as head coach. Owen takes the reigns of a young East squad that hopes to get out of the gates with a quality win against a Garden City team it knocked off last year at CBAC.

Shawnee Mission Northwest at Blue Valley — The Bo Black era as Northwest begins with a doozie. A real doozie. It should be a great way to get the season going for the Cougars, but man, oh, man. They better do something early because after a date with Blue Valley, the Cougars get Shawnee Mission East in week No. 3 and Lawrence in week four. That might be the top two teams in the Sunflower League — after facing off against the class of the EKL in week 1. Yikes.