Class 6A Semifinal Preview

Josh Moore (8) & Olathe North will try to get by Shawnee Mission East. (Nick Smith, PrepsKC)
By: Matt Gilmore & Conor Nicholl for
Nov 18, 2014

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Class 6A

6A East: No. 2 Olathe North (11-0) at No. 1 Shawnee Mission East (11-0)

“The Game” is here.

The state’s two top teams wire-to-wire this season will meet in the 6A Sub-State semifinal when No. 1 Shawnee Mission East hosts No. 2 Olathe North. The Lancers and Eagles met in the 6A semis a season ago with Shawnee Mission East prevailing, 37-27.

The two league rivals did not meet during the regular season this year, and, as a result, shared the Sunflower League title.

Shawnee Mission East has dominated their opposition this season to the tune of 531-97. The Lancers’ closest win came by 23 points over Shawnee Mission West in Week 4. SM East beat West again in last week’s quarterfinal, 41-0.

Against the Vikings last week, SM East rushed for more than 415 yards led by Wyatt Edmisten’s 152 yards and three touchdowns.

Quarterback Gunnar Englund added 129 yards and two scores on the ground, while Jackson Gossick rushed for 88 yards and a score on just six attempts.

Edmisten is the Lancers’ leading rusher this season with 1,226 and 26 touchdowns.

Olathe North’s defense figures to be a stiff challenge for the Lancers. Olathe North held Blue Valley to just 128 yards on the ground in a hard-fought 27-14 win.

The Eagles and Tigers were tied at 14 early in the fourth quarter when Olathe North scored on a touchdown pass from Cole Murphy to Venus Triplett.  After a Blue Valley fumble in their own territory, the Eagles scored again on a Murphy touchdown pass to Josh Moore with just over a minute to go.

Murphy completed 10 of 13 passes for 207 and those two touchdowns a week ago.  He was also the Eagles leading rusher with 92 yards.

Olathe North’s standout running back Venus Triplett was limited to 38 yards on 21 carries, but had three catches for 120 yards and a score. Triplett entered the game with nearly 1,200 yards rushing on the season.

SM East 27, Olathe North 23 (Gilmore)

6A West: Hutchinson (7-4) at No. 4 Lawrence Free State (8-3)

Free State and Hutchinson, each in the top-10 in Class 6A to start the season, had rough starts.

The Firebirds opened 2-3, including a surprising 35-21 home loss to Leavenworth, which ended up a Class 5A playoff quarterfinalist. After a 42-14 defeat to No. 1 Shawnee Mission East, Free State has won six in a row, all by double figures.

Hutchinson, under first-year coach Ryan Cornelsen, started 1-3 and 2-4 with multiple injuries but has won five in a row, two of the games by seven points.

Cornelsen, very successful at stops at La Crosse and Hays, is in his first sub-state championship game as a head coach.

The Salthawks have played very well offensively with 62, 48, 35, 64 and 35 points in the winning streak. However, the defense rose up in the second half in a 35-28 victory versus Derby last week. The Panthers had minus-10 second half yards and Hutchinson’s defense had three key stops after intermission.

Blaik Middleton, Hutchinson’s all-time single season rushing leader, collected 177 yards on the ground.

Free State is 5-0 against Class 6A opponents behind dual threat quarterback Bryce Torneden.

Daniel Clarke kicked three field goals and Torneden returned an interception for a score and collected 313 total yards, according to the Sunflower Football Blog.

The Firebirds have only made the state title game once, a runner-up showing in 2008. This marks the fourth time they’ve reached at the sub-state championship game.

Free State has the schedule edge with the No. 2 SOS in Class 6A, while Hutchinson checks in at No. 7. Free State has outscored opponents 308-221, while the Salthawks have edged teams 381-310.

While Free State is a slight favorite on paper, I like the Salthawks, behind another big game from Middleton and an improved defense, to win on the road.

Hutchinson 42, Free State 35 (Nicholl)


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