Archive for Thursday, September 10, 2009

KVL football title race will be blurry

September 10, 2009

If we learned anything from Friday’s opening night of football, it’s that the Kaw Valley League is going to be a bit of a mystery this season.

It’s hard to answer many questions about the teams by simply looking at the scores and matchups, or by reading recaps of the games.

Basehor-Linwood and Tonganoxie won big against soft opponents. That’s nice, but what do we make of that?

Mill Valley lost to Class 6A opponent Blue Valley West, but the Jaguars did the same thing last year and followed it up with a nine-game winning streak and an undefeated KVL championship.

Perry-Lecompton lost to traditional Class 4A powerhouse Holton, but the Kaw pretty much graduated their entire state runner-up team from last year and had the game close early.

Bonner Springs played a tough league opponent in Bishop Ward and lost, 37-16, but the Braves still aren’t set at numerous positions.

If we can walk away from week one with a comfortable assessment of anybody in the KVL, we can probably assume we know what Lansing and Turner are made of.

Lansing graduated a talented group of seniors from its 2008 league runner-up squad, but the Lions’ core was its sophomore class. Now juniors, that class accounts for many of the key starting positions with fullback Nathan Wessel and tailback Spencer Blew leading the offense and Nick Pfrimmer leading the linebacker corps on defense. Although young all around, the Lions have proven performers at most positions.

As for Turner, the Golden Bears had a talented bunch in 2008 that underachieved early in the season. They started the year with a 1-5 record, being blown out and shut out by Lansing in the season-opener, and looked like they were content to limp through the season. Then they refocused and caught fire, rattling off a late winning streak, making the Class 5A state playoffs where they upended Lansing and advanced to the quarterfinals.

After such a bizarre first season in the KVL, questions lingered about whether Turner would get its act together early in 2009. The Golden Bears answered that question with a resounding “yes” when they upended Class 6A opponent Blue Valley North, 23-15, on Friday night.

While these two teams have offered a somewhat clear picture of where they’re headed this season, the other eight remain somewhat of a blur at this point. Week two should offer a bit more clarity as Mill Valley faces its first league foe in Piper and rivals Bonner Springs and Basehor-Linwood square off.

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