Today, eight teams remain in the Kansas 6A football playoffs.
Tomorrow there will be four.
And if the Shawnee Mission East Lancers want to be among them — and build on their already record-breaking season — they’ll need to put away the Olathe East Hawks, who are fresh off an upset win over a strong Gardner-Edgerton team last week.
And, as the Lancers are surely aware, Olathe East was the team that ended SM East’s season last year with a defeat in the opening round of the playoffs.
But head coach Dustin Delaney, who took to the airwaves on ESPN 100.7 this week to talk about the matchup, says the Lancers’ string of down-to-the-wire victories midseason helped the team build character that will come in handy tonight.
“Those games are really, really beneficial for this time of year,” Delaney said on the air. “When you get into the playoffs, you’re not going to blow people out. Our kids don’t flinch. They don’t blink when they’re down. We’re going to keep doing what we do, and find a way to get back in football games.”
Lancer Magic has worked in nine of ten weeks, and we’ll see if it’s good enough for another victory this time. Olathe East has proven they can stop a traditional rushing attack time and again, but they’ve yet to face what SM East brings to the table with the flexbone. And, as eight other Sunflower League teams can attest to, it’s not exactly an easy thing to shut down the first time you face it. Really though, if those two forces are kind of neutralizing, it could come down to SM East’s passing game versus Olathe East finding success in the run game. The Hawks are tough to beat when Branson and Brown get their carries, while SM East is best when they have early success through the air to keep defenses honest.
Kick is 7 p.m. at the College Boulevard Activity Center, 11031 S Valley Pkwy, Olathe.
Briar Libeer’s motivational video for the week is below. It’s awesome. Like really awesome. And for two reason: 1.) Van Halen’s “Right Now” is the backing track, and 2.) George Brett does the voiceover.
GO GET ‘EM LANCERS!!!: