A look at the Bonner Springs-Piper showdown


By NICK SLOAN, NJSloan212@gmail.com

It's a little rare for a game involving two Wyandotte County football teams to matter so much.

While the county has made gains in football recently, this area can still be considered a basketball city.

Friday night, you have a game between two teams that deserve to be ranked in any Kansas City metro football poll.

Both Bonner Springs and Piper are off to great starts, with Bonner Springs coming in undefeated and Piper coming in a rock solid 2-1.

What are the keys to Friday night's showdown? I'm glad you asked!

1. A fun positional match-up will Bonner Springs young passing attack vs. Piper's experienced secondary. Piper's biggest strength on paper is its secondary. Six seniors rotate positions throughout the game, with Keaton Cofield leading the way. Piper's secondary has been pretty good to start out the season and have forced turnover after turnover so far this year. Meanwhile, junior quarterback Jordan Jackson has been everything the Bonner Springs program has asked him to be. He will have a major challenge this Friday night. Jackson, Mason Roberts and Travis Dooley will have its hands full Friday. If the Braves prevail and the passing game looks good, that should be a pretty strong sign of Bonner Springs' future. If Jackson passes this test, he can pass just about any at the 4A level and inside the KVL. Piper's secondary is that good. The scary thing is for Piper is Jackson has the ability to do it. This will be a very fun chess match.

2. The game will feature two junior quarterbacks who have already won big. Both Jackson and Piper's Tanner Eikenbary have winning records as a starting quarterback. Both have won a district title already. Eikenbary has won a playoff game, while Jackson threw for almost 400 yards in the regional game against Gardner-Edgerton last year. Jackson and Eikenbary, just juniors, are already winning like seniors. Seeing how both will perform in this big game will be interesting to watch.

3. Bonner Springs' most important player on offense could be Jared Knernshield, the team's running back. Piper's secondary, on paper, has an advantage in experience entering the game. It's not hard to imagine Bonner Springs having to win this game on the ground. Enter Knernshield, and to some extent, Jordan Jackson's legs. Bonner Springs' rushing attack could keep Piper off the field as well. Knernshield had a big touchdown in week one and had nearly 150 rushing yards against Bishop Ward last week.

4. Piper is certainly the more battle-tested team entering the game. Playing two good programs like Eudora and Basehor-Linwood have already given Piper the "big game" advantage this season. Bonner Springs, meanwhile, has played three teams with a combined 1-8 record. That doesn't take away from their great start - but it does separate the two teams a bit in strength of schedule. One early indication of a potential Bonner Springs victory this Friday is if the Braves can get off to a good start or at least weather a possible Piper storm in the beginning.

5. While Piper's looked good, their offensive line needs to play a little better to win Friday. Tonganoxie, who was absolutely blown out of the water against Piper, was able to put some pressure on Eikenbary. Bonner Springs' defensive line, with all due respect, is better. Tyler Howell is putting in an early case as a first-teamer in the Kaw Valley League this year. Kyle Dumler also has potential to cause some problems. Piper's line was good enough to beat Tonganoxie, but they'll need to step up the effort this week against Bonner Springs in order to win.

6. Bonner Springs needs to keep an eye on Paul Jones. Jones is already a threat in the rushing game, but Piper head coach Chris Brindle has done a very nice job of using Jones in the passing game this season. He's made play after play in the passing game. Stopping Jones is a must for Bonner Springs to win.