Most years, there is a clear-cut favorite among the Kansas City schools by now in the Kansas 6A ranks, Kansas 5A or both. That isn’t the case for 2012, however, which should make for an intriguing three weeks leading up to the state football championships. I didn’t mention 4A, because with twice as many teams and such disparate levels of competition at the conference level it’s always a crapshoot in the playoffs with those mid-level teams.
Honestly, I wouldn’t be shocked if Lawrence Free State, Gardner Edgerton, Lawrence or SM West reached the 6A final from eastern Kansas. And that doesn’t even include Olathe East, who is playing as well as any team right now – albeit by rolling through a district that was far from overwhelming – and has more to play for – State for Nate, in honor of the late Nate Trinkle – than other team in 6A. SM East is a dark horse in there as well and could just as easily end the Hawks’ run next week as get rolled right out of the playoffs.
Meanwhile, in 5A, Aquinas has distinguished itself as the East Kansas League champion, but the Saints are beatable. It’d be stunning if Lansing upset the coach Mike Thomas’ squad in the opening round of the playoffs, but beyond that Aquinas is in for a dogfight. The intriguing team is Mill Valley, which has won eight straight but hasn’t been tested much in the Kaw Valley League. The Jaguars are favorites in my mind against Bishop Miege, but not overwhelmingly so.
Besides, the powerhouses in 5A appear to be on the other half of the bracket, where undefeated Bishop Carroll will be duke it out with either Salina South or Emporia for a spot at Emporia State’s Welch Stadium on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Playoff schedule involving local Kansas teams
Kansas 4A (Tuesday, Oct. 30) – Jefferson West, 5-4, at Piper, 7-2 … Baldwin, 6-3, at Spring Hill, 5-4 … Chanute, 5-4, at Paola, 5-4 … Atchison, 6-3, at Tonganoxie, 4-5 … De Soto, 4-5, at Eudora, 8-1 … Louisburg, 5-4, at Fort Scott, 9-0
Kansas 6A (Friday, Nov. 2) – Olathe North, 3-6, at Lawrence Free State, 8-1 … SM East, 7-2, at Olathe East, 5-4 … Lawrence, 7-2, at Gardner Edgerton, 6-3 … BV Northwest, 5-4, at SM West, 8-1
Kansas 5A (Friday, Nov. 2) – Lansing, 3-6, at St. Thomas Aquinas, 8-1 … Blue Valley, 5-4, at Shawnee Heights, 5-4 … Topeka-Seaman, 5-4, at BV West, 7-2 … Bishop Miege, 4-5, at Mill Valley, 8-1 Kansas 2-1A (Friday, Nov. 2) – Jackson Heights, 6-3, at McLouth, 8-1
WEARING THE LEAGUE CROWN
Final Sunflower League standings (overall record)
- SM West, 7-0 (8-1); 2t. Lawrence Free State, 6-1 (8-1); 2t. Lawrence, 6-1 (7-2); 4. SM East, 5-2 (7-2); 5. Olathe South, 4-3 (5-4); 6t. Olathe East, 3-4 (5-4); 6t. SM South, 3-4 (4-5); 6t. Olathe North, 3-4 (3-6); 9t. Leavenworth, 2-5 (4-5); 9t. Olathe Northwest, 2-5 (2-7); 11. SM Northwest, 1-6 (2-7); 12. SM North, 0-7 (0-9).
Final EKL standings (overall record)
- St. Thomas Aquinas, 5-1 (8-1); 2. BV West, 5-2 (7-2); 3t. Blue Valley, 4-3 (5-4); 3t. BV Northwest, 4-3 (5-4); 5. Gardner Edgerton, 3-3 (6-3); 6. BV Southwest, 3-4 (5-4); 7. Bishop Miege, 2-5 (4-5); 8. BV North, 1-6 (1-8).
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