Thursday, October 11, 2012

KCK Preps Game of the Week preview: Mill Valley visits Schlagle to open district play


With both the Kaw Valley League and Kansas City - Kansas Atchison League being clinched last week by the Mill Valley Jaguars and Wyandotte Bulldogs respectively, it's time to begin the push for the postseason.

KCK Preps this week will be at Washington High School to broadcast the Mill Valley Jaguars-Schlagle Stallions game.

As we always do at KCK Preps, we try our best to hype up the game and to get everyone prepared.

Here are some quick game notes and keys to the ballgame.

1. Mill Valley is on fire more than the City of Los Angeles is each time the Lakers win an NBA title - and I say that as a Lakers fan. Joking aside, after a season opening loss to Manhattan, Mill Valley has been on a roll. In their five-game winning streak, the Jaguars have outscored the competition 267-43. The Jaguars should be considered the heavy favorites in this district. Some teams don't live up to the preseason hype given to them. Mill Valley definitely has.

2. For Schlagle to have any shot at pulling an upset, Mill Valley needs a healthy dose of J'veyon Browning. He is the best running back in Kansas City, Kan., and as both David Brox and Vernon Birmingham mentioned two weeks ago, sometimes he may not be used enough in the Schlagle offense. Browning is the best player on the Schlagle team and if he gets rolling, he will serve another purpose - keeping Skyler Windmiller and the Jaguars high-powered offense off the field. The Schlagle rushing attack is important any week - but especially in a game where the Stallions are the underdogs.

3. The Jaguars have a pretty nice rushing game, too. Windmiller leads the team in rushing with 390 yards and seven touchdown runs. Fellow senior Kendall Short, who's dealt with injury issues this season, had his best game of the season against the Piper Pirates in last week's league clinching win. He had 99 rushing yards on just nine carries, along with a 35-yard touchdown reception from Windmiller. He finished with 134 total yards on just 10 total touches, meaning Schlagle has another player to worry about. Freshman Logan Koch has also been a spark in the Jaguars rushing attack, totaling 208 yards on 34 carries.

4. Will playing Dimonic McKinzy earlier in the season help the Stallions prepare for Windmiller? For those Mill Valley and Wyandotte fans, I'm in no way trying to compare or suggest one quarterback is better than the other. However, both are similar players - dual-threat quarterbacks who can kill you through the air and on the ground. While Mill Valley's previous opponents did not have the experience playing against a dynamic Division 1 caliber talent at the quarterback position, Schlagle has. The McKinzy experience could potentially help out Schlagle in this game - or at least put them in a better position to compete.

5. Schlagle will need to force some turnovers. Whether that's De'Ante Ambler or D.J. Sayles in the secondary or Trevon Wallace or Derrick Gibbs in the front seven, the Stallions need to find a way to create some turnovers. Wallace is a monster of a linebacker and the Stallions need to feed off of his intensity that he brings to the table each Friday night. Gibbs has emerged this season as one of the best pash-rushers in Wyandotte County. At last check, no one in KCK has more sacks this season than Gibbs. Meanwhile, Ambler has performed well in the secondary, but he'll have some big challenges ahead this Friday night. To pull an upset, Schlagle needs to win the turnover battle, something Piper failed to do last week as the Pirates turned it over five times.

6. Mill Valley's special teams unit has been special this year. Combining kickoff and punt returns, the Jaguars have 31 returns for 770 yards - good enough for nearly 25 yards a return. Staton Rebeck and L.J. Hatch have been the most dangerous returners for Mill Valley. Rebeck has over 400 combined return yards on just 16 returns, while Hatch has 229 return yards on just six kickoff returns. Mill Valley has the capability to break off big returns and Schagle's special teams unit will have to bring it this week.

7. On paper, the winner of this game will be in very good shape to make the postseason. Mill Valley comes in as the favorite in the district, but with Lansing's decline this season and with the youth of Washington, the Stallions could be considered the favorite in being the other team to move on. If Schlagle were to pull the huge upset, they're in a very good position to dance in the postseason. A Mill Valley victory puts them in the driver's seat to win the district.

As I said in last week's Mill Valley-Piper preview, Mill Valley is a heck of a football team. They will present Schlagle a challenge they haven't seen this season.

The Stallions will need a lot to go right in order to shock the metro area. However, the Stallions have a senior class with tremendous character that will fight for the win and play hard. Playing hard is a great first step in pulling off an upset.

Also, for those college coaches in the area - be at this game. There will be some talent on display from both schools and Washington High School could be a fertile recruiting ground Friday night.