What we didn't expect: Surprise teams after week 3

Kingman (3A) is yet to allow a point in 2014. (photo: Joey Bahr)
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen
Sep 20, 2014

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What we didn't expect...

Below is a list of some of the surprises of 11-man football teams after three weeks in the 2014 season. Some have benefited off of schedule, some have just improved, some haven’t produced. Check it out below…

6A

Gardner Edgerton: Maybe not a surprise that they are 0-3 because of their brutal schedule, but a bit surprising to see zero points on the scoreboard after the first two weeks. The Trailblazers got on the board in week three in their 49-25 loss over Blue Valley Southwest. Gardner may have a tough time finding wins in most of their remaining ball games in the loaded EKL and 6A district they play in. Another tough task ahead in week four as they will take on Blue Valley West (2-1). The Randy Dreiling vs. Marvin Diener EKL match-up will take place in two weeks, but this time it’s not Hutch vs. Salina Central.

Hutchinson: Hutch is 1-2 to start off the Ryan Cornelsen era since Randy Dreiling left for Aquinas. However, they may be one of the best 1-2 teams in Kansas. Their losses didn't come to just anyone (Olathe South, Salina South). With the way this schedule looks, its possible the Salthawks wont be favored in their next two games (Derby, Maize). The good thing: Brutal schedule only helps prepare the Salthawks to make a run for the 6A playoffs. 

Olathe Northwest: Chip Sherman always seems to really make a difference in his second year of taking a program over and so far he’s supported that statement in 2014. The Ravens (2-1) are three points away from being 3-0 on the season, with their only loss coming to Hays (14-12) in week one. Big match-up against Sunflower League rival, Olathe South, this coming week.

Olathe South: The Falcons have played one of the best schedules in Kansas and have started out the season 2-1, only loss coming last night against Olathe North in double OT (27-26). After missing the playoffs last season, they have showed they are a contender in 6A after the first three weeks of the season.

5A

Aquinas: No surprise that Aquinas (3-0) has had success, but maybe a surprise that they are considered a contender so fast in 5A. Adding longtime coaching legend, Randy Dreiling, from Hutchinson was an immediate spark to this program that started 0-4 a season ago. Huge match-up against EKL rival, Miege, this week. The Flex Bone offense was very successful in Kansas City last season under SM East’s, Dustin Delaney, who coached under Dreiling at Hutch. Aquinas currently sits in a loaded 5A district with teams, including themselves, that have went a combined 11-1 in 2014 (BVSW, BVW, Pittsburg). Expect big things out of Aquinas in the near future.

KC Turner: Although Turner hasn’t faced the schedule that most of the 5A powers would have faced, they are currently 3-0 after going 2-7 a season ago. It may be very hard for them to find some wins in their remaining six games, but hats off to the Bears on a successful start to 2013.

Mill Valley: Many probably expected Mill Valley to have a big season in 2014 after their one loss season in 2013, and that's not to say it still won't happen. The Jaguars have started off 0-3, but have played Aquinas, Blue Valley Northwest, and Derby. So the 0-3 isn't horrible when you look at who they have played and it also shows they have benefitted off their weaker schedule in the past. MV plays in the Kaw Valley League, which features a mix of small 5A & 4A-I schools, but have played an independent schedule in 2014 to help prepare them for 5A. They will look to get on the winning track of things this week against KC Southwest.

Salina South: You might be questioning why South is a surprise after taking second in 5A last season. The Cougars were a big question mark team heading into this season with all of the talent they lost a year ago, but newcomers have stepped up and have them back in as  contender in 5A. The Cougars took care of business in week three with a 27-21 win over Hutchinson. The way their schedule shapes up, it could be very possible to see them at 9-0 after districts, obviously 6A Derby (2-1) will have something to say about that in week six of the season.

4A-I

Abilene: The Cowboys, under first year head coach Steve Simpson, are off to their first 3-0 start since 2011. The 3-0 isn’t as impressive as the seven total points allowed after three games. Big NCKL match-up with Wamego (3-0) this week in which will really help decide this league race.

Baldwin: Most people wouldn’t expect Baldwin to be 1-2 at this point of the season after the year it had in 2013, but it doesn’t take away the fact that the Bulldogs are still a good 4A-I football team. Losing a lot of key talent last year has shown throughout the first two weeks of the season. Also keep in mind, they lost to a pair of pretty good 4A-I football teams in Basehor- Linwood and Piper . Frontier League is probably not as tough as some years past, but looks to be parity in this league with nobody currently undefeated. They get their first taste of the league this year, when they host Spring Hill this coming week. Throw that 1-2 start out, Bulldogs are still a contender to get into the 4A-I playoffs.

Chanute: I think many people expected Chanute (1-2) to be 3-0 and 2-1 at this point in the season and they very well could be with the difference of a few plays. The Comets are playing the type of schedule that will only help them get better throughout the season. Their two losses came in non-league play (Columbus, Bonner Springs) in the first two weeks. They took care of Coffeyville last night (24-12), a team they lost 56-27 in last years regular season. Columbus, a former SEK league opponent, is ranked number two in 4A-II, while Bonner has started 2-1. On paper, Chanute may not look good, but this is a very good 1-2 4A-I football team. Their biggest task comes this week when they host 5A SEK league rival, Pittsburg (3-0).

4A-II

Prairie View: PV went 2-7 in 2013, but have started the season at a perfect 3-0 in 2014. The Buffaloes have only allowed 13 points all season. The schedule gets much tougher over the next two weeks as they face non Pioneer league opponents, Ottawa (Frontier) and Fort Scott (SEK). At this point one may think that PV and Santa Fe Trail (3-0) are the favorites out of their district to make the 4A-II playoffs.

Santa Fe Trail: Although the schedule hasn’t been exactly tough for the Chargers (3-0), it has been impressive how they have won. They have outscored opponents 144-19 after three weeks. The most impressive thing is that the prior seven seasons combined, three wins for SFT. On paper it seems that they will be the favorite along with Prairie View to make it to the playoffs out of their 4A-II district. It’s very possible that this could be a 6-3 or 5-4 type of ball club after districts wrap up.

3A

Fredonia: Yellow Jackets (3-0) have had three combined wins over the last three seasons (2011-2013). Fredonia’s schedule will get a lot tougher as they will have Cherryvale (3-0) this week in a TVL match-up. Jackets are going for first playoff appearance since 2006 in a district with Caney (3-0), Eureka (0-3) and Neodesha (3-0).

Galena: Many expected the Bulldogs, with 10 returning starters on each side of the football, to be either 3-0 or 2-1 at this point, instead they are 1-2. They are a very good 1-2 football team in 3A and will be overlooked by several statewide because of their record. The week one loss to Colgan (3-0) could have went either way and they were simply outmatched in the second half against Columbus (1-2), a very good 4A-II squad, in week three. We do know one thing, the Bulldogs will have been battle tested by the end of districts. May be the best 1-2 3A football squad in Kansas at this point.

Hutch-Trinity: The Celtics (3-0) have nearly equaled their win total from 2013 (4-6). Their most impressive victory came in week one against Sedgwick (39-14).

Kingman: The Eagles (3-0) may not be a surprise as far as their record but how they have won is. They haven’t allowed a point after three weeks of the football season. The most impressive thing is they have only scored 36 points doing so. Hats off to the defense of Kingman.

Maur Hill: The Ravens (3-0) went 2-7 last season, so they have to feel great about already having more wins than a year ago. Three wins already is impressive, but not as impressive as only allowing six points after three weeks of the football season. Concerns going forward: their three opponents have combined for one win. MHMA hasn’t made the playoffs since 2002.

Neodesha: Many are surprised to see Neodesha sitting at 3-0 after going 1-8 last season. The Bluestreaks haven’t faced the best schedule but they have taken care of business. On paper it looks like they will be battling with Eureka and Fredonia to get that second playoff spot in class 3A, in a district that favors Caney Valley.

Northeast-Arma: The transition to the Three Rivers League from the CNC has seemed to help the Vikings (2-1) in all sports over the last few seasons. When their seniors were freshmen, they went 0-9. Over the last two seasons Northeast has won eight ball games, going 4-5 in both 2012 and 2013. They are looking for their first winning season since 2000. Northeast, led by head coach Phil Hobbs, is three points away from being undefeated in 2014, however their schedule gets a lot tougher. If they can beat Oswego this week, the Vikings have a legitimate shot at a winning record for the first time in 14 years. Even more important, the Vikings are looking for first playoff appearance since 2002, and have a legitimate shot to fight for that second playoff spot with Erie and Humboldt.

2-1A

Bennington: The Bulldogs went 2-7 in the 2013 campaign but have started off the 2014 season on the right track at 3-0. Downfall to the 3-0 start is that their three combined opponents are 0-9 on the year. They have two big tests coming up in Sedgwick and Phillipsburg. The Bulldogs are going for their first playoff appearance in five years.

Oakley: The Plainsmen have been consistent winner over the last 10 seasons or so. They have made the playoffs every year but one (2010) since 2004. First year head coach Ty Pfannenstiel has started off his career at Oakley with a very tough schedule, losing in consecutive weeks to Smith Center and Norton.  It doesn’t get any easier this week as they travel to Phillipsburg (2-1). Regardless of 1-2 start, Oakley is still a contender to make the 2-1A playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.

Oswego: The Indians went 2-7 a year ago and have started off the 2014 campaign with a 3-0 record. Schedule hasn’t been great, but they have beaten what’s in front of them. We will really see where Oswego is at after weeks five and six, when they will be big underdogs against Lyndon and Olpe.