Technically, it may have been the most important game of the season. But Friday’s SM East romp over Harmon on Friday looked more like a scrimmage.
The Lancers easily added a notch to the win column in the first week of the three-game district play series that determines which teams advance to the 6A state playoff bracket, stomping the Harmon Hawks 69-0.
Though the Lancers fell short of the record 83 points they put up against the Hawks last season, the gaping disparity between the teams’ level of play was quite apparent from the start. SM East’s varsity offense played only the first quarter, but managed to put 34 points on the board before taking to the sidelines in favor of the junior varsity squad for the rest of the first half. Sophomore and freshman players took the majority of the reps in the second half.
Based on the a long-bemoaned district play system — which is set to expire next year in favor of a move toward an eight-game regular season with a state-wide playoff starting in week nine – the Lancers will for the second year in a row face Wyandotte and SM North to close out their pre-playoff schedule. Neither team figures to pose a serious challenge to the Lancers, who appear to have rebounded well from their 30-22 loss to Free State two weeks ago. SM North defeated Wyandotte Friday 49-30 to move to 2-5 on the year. Wyandotte is winless.
SM East head coach Dustin Delaney said his team had tried to keep its practices challenging for the players so they can keep their edge during the district play weeks.
“We do a lot of one versus ones in practice, a lot offense versus defense situations where we try to make it really competitive and have a winner and a loser every day in practice,” he said. “So we keep our speed up and our competition.”
Delaney said keeping a sharp edge will be important as the Lancers look to the playoffs, where he says there’s more parity among teams then there has been since the 2013 season.
“There’s really five or six teams that have got a shot to get to the state championship on the east side of the bracket,” he said. “Whoever is playing their best football come playoff time is going to the state championship.”