Sunflower Football League blog ranks Lancers 5th, Indians 12th heading into season

The Lancers lost a lot of leading talent in 2012 — but the pieces are there for an exciting 2013 season as well.
The Lancers lost a lot of leading talent in 2012 — but the pieces are there for an exciting 2013 season as well.

Sunflower Football League blogger Eli Underwood has released his pre-season power rankings for 2013, and all things considered, the Lancers’ fare pretty favorably.

Shawnee Mission North, on the other hand, has a hard few months ahead of it, in Underwood’s estimation.

Underwood slots Shawnee Mission East in at fifth out of the 12 Sunflower League Teams. Despite the loss of coach Chip Sherman and college-caliber quarterback Jordan Darling, Underwood thinks the Lancers have enough firepower to put together an exciting season:

How hard is it to convert a team’s offensive identity over the course of one (shortened) summer? We’re going to find out this fall as SM East and new head coach Dustin Delaney debut a Hutchinson-based flexbone offense just nine months after the the Lancers closed out 2012 as the league’s third most pass-happy offense. It will be a dramatic overhaul but Delaney’s successes with his teams at Emporia High School suggests he’ll find a way.

As for the Indians, who went winless in 2012, Underwood doesn’t see much hope for a dramatic turnaround:

There’s no sense in sugar-coating anything about the state of SM North’s football program. For the last nine seasons the program’s been a train wreck on the field…Things hit rock bottom — on the field — last season when the program finished winless at 0-9. Following the season Dennis Grayless resigned as head coach. However, his replacement Don Simmons looks like a superb coach for the job.

Simmons brings a winner’s mentality to SM North. He went a combined 37-10 at Blue Valley North (a school whose football program has been terrible since his departure) from 1997 to 2001, before posting a 65-32 record the past nine years at Chanute, with playoff berths in all nine seasons…As far as talent goes, Simmons will be working with a relatively unknown group of players. The Indians only had two honorable mention All-Sunflower league selections last fall, and they were both seniors.

Underwood has district rival and defending Kansas 6A state champions SM West on top. Check out his full rankings (and excellent team overviews) here.