Wristen: Playoff teams hindered by weak KVL
Five of the eight Kaw Valley League football teams advanced to the state playoffs this season, but only one of them won a game.
Piper — which joined Basehor-Linwood in advancing to the 4A playoffs — won its first-round game before being crushed in the second round by Perry-Lecompton.
Meanwhile, Class 5A qualifiers Bonner Springs, Mill Valley and Lansing all lost in the first round.
The lack of postseason success is a pretty clear indicator that the KVL simply wasn’t very strong this year. We had suspicions of this when typically strong teams such as Turner and Bishop Ward struggled mightily. Meanwhile, Tonganoxie went 1-8 and closed the year with eight straight losses.
Bonner Springs, which went 4-6 this season, earned its victories against teams that were a combined 3-33, meaning the schedule of both league and district opponents hardly prepared the Braves to face top-ranked Gardner-Edgerton in the state playoffs.
Lansing, which finished the season with an 8-2 record, only beat two teams with winning records this season — Mill Valley (28-27) and Piper (35-34).
Mill Valley, which went 6-4, had just one victory against a team with a winning record. It beat Piper, 42-35.
Only two teams in the Kaw Valley League had three or more victories against opponents with winning records this season.
Piper beat three teams with winning records — Atchison (37-6), Sumner Academy (19-14) and Perry-Lecompton (20-13).
Basehor-Linwood, which won an undefeated Kaw Valley League title and posted a perfect 9-0 regular-season, was ousted by Sumner Academy in the first round of the playoffs. The Bobcats had the most victories of any KVL squad against teams with winning records: four.
BLHS beat Piper in week one, 42-26. The Bobcats also defeated Lansing (26-7), Mill Valley (39-34) and Perry-Lecompton (43-20).
When it came playoff time, however, the Bobcats made an early exit.
Just like their KVL counterparts that advanced to the playoffs, it seems clear that the Bobcats weren’t battle-tested enough when the postseason arrived.
Much of a team’s postseason success can be attributed to the competition played along the way. Look no further than Topeka Hayden in Class 4A — which plays in a powerhouse league of Class 5A and 6A schools, or the East Kansas League schools (Gardner-Edgerton, Blue Valley, St. Thomas Aquinas, Bishop Miege) as evidence that a tough league usually equates to some strong playoff teams. The Kaw Valley League didn’t have that this season, and it’s up to all of the league schools to do their part in creating a different result in 2011.