Loss to SM West knocks Lancers out of Sunflower title contention — but playoff berth likely

Pressure from the Vikings defensive line had SM East quarterback Jordan Darling scrambling from the pocket on Friday.

The Lancers traded blows with the SM West Vikings for three quarters Friday.

And then, almost from the moment the fourth quarter began, it all fell apart.

After a spectacular third quarter drive from that ended with a highlight-reel-worthy back-of-the-endzone pass from Jordan Darling to Billy Sutherland, the Lancer had tied the game at 14 and appeared to have momentum on their side.

But then SM West’s defense — which had put consistent pressure on Darling all night — took their game up a notch, and nearly forced a safety on the Lancers’ next possession. The Vikings took over with excellent field position, and drove in for a touchdown with 9:29 to go.

Back on offense, Darling again faced intense pressure from the Vikings defense and threw an interception on a long pass. SM West quarterback A.J. Verdini didn’t waste any time in making the Lancers pay, hooking up with wide receiver Andre Maloney for a long touchdown pass that put the Lancers down 28-14 with the fourth quarter winding down.

The loss knocks SM East, now 6-2, out of contention for the Sunflower League regular season title. Still, with a win over 0-8 SM North, who lost 42-14 to SM Northwest this week, in the final regular-season game of the year, the Lancers secure a spot in the playoffs — though the loss to SM West likely means the Lancers will enter the postseason as a five or six seed as opposed to a one or two seed.

The Lancers defensive kept SM West pretty much in check through three quarters.

Here’s a panoramic photo from the sidelines Friday:

East vs West 2012 from brian libeer on Vimeo.