Friday, October 5, 2012

KCK Preps Game of the Week: Previewing Wyandotte-Washington


For the first time in at least five years, the Wyandotte Bulldogs-Washington Wildcats football game will matter significantly in terms of a league championship.

And will be providing a live broadcast of the game. 

For most of the last decade, the Wyandotte Bulldogs football program was near the bottom in terms of success among those programs in the Kansas City metro area.

For the last three years, Washington was even worse than Wyandotte.

Wyandotte enters Friday night 4-1 overall and coming off a huge victory against the Schlagle Stallions last Friday. Washington, meanwhile, is on a bit of magic carpet ride after an 0-2 start.

Sandwiched around an easy victory against Harmon, the Wildcats have upset Atchison and Sumner Academy two of the last three weeks - improving their overall record to 3-2.

The Wildcats enter with a three-game winning streak and the winner of the game will leave Washington High School with at least a share of the lead in the Kansas City Kansas - Atchison League.

Here are some keys to the game:

1. Washington's defensive line must create some havoc for Dimonic McKinzy. McKinzy, the junior quarterback at Wyandotte, is among the best individual talents in Kansas City. Washington can't let him have time. If McKinzy has a lot of time, he and his teammates will have a lot of fun come Friday night. Even if Washington can get some pressure, that might not be enough to stop the quarterback. He had several escape jobs against the Schlagle defense last week. It won't be easy - Wyandotte's offensive line is physical.

2. Let's talk about the other quarterback some. Kalem Harrison has had a nice season for the Washington Wildcats. Harrison is just a sophomore, but he's won three games this year as the team's quarterback and he's been one of the reasons why. He's made some big time passes and interceptions on defense this year and if Washington is to pull another upset, he will factor into it. Harrison, however, has also made a few mistakes. Those are expected when you're young. Harrison has made some nice plays this season, especially to wide receiver Lloyd Stanfield. Harrison could also be a huge part of Washington's defense. He plays in the secondary and he may draw either Mario Garcia or Antonio Brown. If Harrison covers Brown, it would be a reunion for the two - they played as teammates at West Middle School.

3. Both teams are very young. While much has been made by me about the youth of the Washington team, Wyandotte's varsity roster has less than 10 seniors on it. Friday night could begin a rebirth of the Wyandotte-Washington football rivalry, provided both teams continue to improve in the next few years. Most of the playmakers from these two squads are underclassmen.

4. Washington needs to limit its mistakes. A young team makes mistakes. However, even in the wins, Washington has had to overcome them. They committed a ton of penalties in the Harmon game and they've turned the ball over some, though it's less than they did last year. There's a simple formula to pulling off a big upset - a key ingredient is limiting your own mistakes.

5. Wyandotte needs to play well in the first half. The Bulldogs, as good as they've been in stretches this season, have been a second half team. That's not a bad thing, but it's better to be a two-half team. Wyandotte struggled against Schlagle in the first half until a late drive cut a 13-0 lead in half. They also let a winless Sumner Academy team hang around until they put them away in the third quarter and fourth quarter. Wyandotte's good enough to win this game comfortably, in my opinion. But they need to start off well to do that.

Along with those five keys, here are some game notes:
  • Washington wins the KCKAL if they upset Wyandotte and Atchison defeats Schlagle at home. Washington would have the tie-breaker over Atchison and with Schlagle already have two league losses under this scenario, the final game doesn't matter too much in terms of the league race. 
  • Along with rooting for their own team, Bulldogs fans need to hope Schlagle defeats Atchison. If Wyandotte wins and Schlagle wins, the Bulldogs win the league championship. 
  • Wyandotte has defeated Washington three straight seasons. It should be noted that Washington snapped a three-game losing streak to Harmon and snapped a longer losing streak to Sumner Academy. The Wildcats have snapped a lot of bad streaks this season. Is another one on the way?