2011 Sunflower League football season
|Number of teams||12|
|← 2010|| |
The 2011 Sunflower League football season is made up of 12 high school football programs in Johnson County, Kansas, that compete in the Sunflower League under the KSHSAA. All teams have the classification of 6A, the highest in the state. Last season, the league title was shared amongst Olathe East High School, Olathe North High School, Shawnee Mission East High School, and Shawnee Mission West High School.
Each team will play a total of 9 regular season games and up to 4 postseason games in the season.
The Lions are predicted by many to be a much improved team from last year. Things will go well if junior quarterback Brad Strauss has another great season. He will be helped by big go-to receiver Anthony Buffalomeat, and solid running back Charles Jackson will be a great balance to the passing attack.
Coach Bob Lisher is faced with the tough replacement of graduated quarterback Dylan Perry, but they return great wide receiver talent in Desmond Wyatt and Shawn Knighton. Punter Kale Joyce is one of the best punters in the nation as well. But the Firebirds need to patch up holes in the offensive and defensive line. The future of this team is uncertain at this point.
Once again, the season ahead looks bleak for the Pioneers, who have won 4 games in the past 6 years. The school has the talent as shown by the school's successful men's basketball team, but the leadership hasn't been there. Hopefully new coach Kevin Kopecky can somehow build this team to get some respect in the Sunflower League.
The season looks good for legendary coach Jeff Meyers's Hawks, as they have had 11 straight winning seasons, more than any other Sunflower League team. They return outstanding linemen Matt Baltimore, Ethan Goss, and Myron Tipton, plus great athletic defensive back Junior Williams, but they are faced with the task of replacing outstanding running backs Brandon Willingham and Austin Fulson. But Meyers always finds great replacements for previous running backs (see Dee Bell for Andre Jones, JaVon Williams for Bell, and Willingham and Fulson for Williams).
The most respected program in Kansas returns without great athletes Adonis Saunders and Victor Williams, plus defensive great Kyle Swartz. But the Eagles have two big-time running back transfers in Orange Mooney, a fabulous athlete, and Olathe East transfer Treshawn Root, who was predicted to be the starting running back for the Hawks. They will also see big contributions on defense from defensive end Tanner Gentry and linebacker Terence Brown.
The Ravens will continue to be the inferior program in the Olathe district, as they have little returning talent other than All-League honorable mention running back Connor Middleton.
The Falcons will suffer from the loss of their great 2010 backfield corps, but are lucky to have signal-caller Frankie Seurer under center. They will also have a solid core of defensive players returning. This season shouldn't be much different from last.
Shawnee Mission East
The Lancers are coming off an 8-1 season and a share of the league title. Although coach Chip Sherman is faced with the task of replacing Colorado walk-on quarterback John Schrock, the upcoming season looks good for the team, especially with Illinois commit Elliot Faerber at wide receiver. And if running back Adam Lowe has a good season, Shawnee Mission East will be a very good team.
Shawnee Mission North
The Indians are coming off a playoff berth, but they were lucky in getting there, benefiting from an easy district. They will have a shot at the same teams this season, and will be led by corner back Mason Perez and running back Brock Burrows. The season will most likely come down to their last game against Leavenworth.
Shawnee Mission Northwest
The Cougars were hit hard by graduation, losing great defensive end and tight end Drew Goodger, quarterback Stephen Manglesdorf, and running back James Gregory. They are a young team, with a lot of new players expected to lead the team through the season.
Shawnee Mission South
The Raiders made the right move in hiring former Shawnee Mission West assistant Ryan Lonergan as head coach, who will inherit All-League quarterback Alex Forslund, wide receiver Shawn Laurent, and running back Gabe Guild. But the future is still uncertain for the team, as they will have to get used to Lonergan's new offensive and defensive schemes, and haven't had a good program for a while.
Shawnee Mission West
The Vikings are very lucky, as their quarterback, Armani Williams, and running back, Tre Burt, are both returning. But Williams needs to be a more consistent passer, while Burt needs to step up his game for Shawnee Mission West to have a good season, as well as their great new talent; all levels below varsity went undefeated in 2010.
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