Wristen: Playoff success is critical for KVL
For the second straight year the Kaw Valley League flexed its muscle in the district playoffs and sent six of its 10 teams to state.
The question this year is whether the teams from the area can make a lasting impression now that they’re there.
The league has steadily — albeit quietly — improved during the last four years while operating below the radar that has been transfixed on the Sunflower League and East Kansas League.
Respect began coming in for the KVL in 2008, however, as league teams showed up on various state rankings. Even Metro Sports broadcast Friday’s game between Lansing and Mill Valley live with the KVL and district titles at stake.
Now that a hat-tip has been given, the league needs to prove itself on the grandest stage: the state playoffs.
We’ve already seen a few of the results. Class 4A has an extra round of playoffs, so some games were played Tuesday. The KVL already has lost two of its postseason competitors as Basehor-Linwood was eliminated in a 48-8 loss to a one-loss powerhouse from Holton and Bishop Ward was drilled by Atchison, 42-20.
Perry-Lecompton had a successful opening night, however. The Kaws rolled the De Soto Wildcats, 23-0, and moved on to face Atchison on Saturday.
It’s worth noting that Perry handed Atchison a 21-7 loss in week four of this season, but that’s still no guarantee that the Kaws will soar into the state quarterfinals.
The teams likely to make the most noise for the KVL are those in the Class 5A bracket: Mill Valley (8-1), Lansing (8-1) and Turner (4-5).
One team is guaranteed to make the quarterfinals because Lansing plays Turner on Friday. LHS hammered Turner 33-0 in week two this season. Mill Valley faces a difficult but very winnable district opener with Sumner Academy (7-2).
On paper, the prospects look good for Perry, Lansing and Mill Valley all to advance to the state quarterfinals in their respective classifications
For a league longing for respect at the state level, this would be a bold step in the right direction.