The KVL is a league that has faced quite a bit of turmoil the last few years. Schools have explored options on many different fronts. In the end the only change announced at this point is Mill Valley leaving after this season to join the EKL. It has become evident the last few years that Mill Valley has outgrown the KVL's 4A schools and even their fellow 5A schools Lansing and Turner.
I will run through my predicted order of finish for the KVL and random thoughts about each team.
Mill Valley is the obvious choice to win the league and not just because they will only play 3 league games. The Jaguars are fully loaded for a good opportunity to advance farther in the playoffs in 2015. This team for what our awards are worth returns 6 All SHUKC spots on our team last year. Logan Koch, Christian Jegen and Ben Hecht on offense is a solid base to work with. Spencer Clayborn and Anthony Brown on defense are both back from last years All SHUKC team. Christian Jegen was named to our All Special team. Jegen has a legit beef as well to be on the defensive team as he was avoided for the most part last season in the secondary.
I say all this to emphasis that it would have been very hard for any team in the KVL to challenge Mill Valley this season.
Bonner Springs brings back a lot of weapons of their own but there would be no way for me to say that they are 42 points improved from last year. While Mill Valley will be a challenge I was impressed overall with Bonner's season despite losing in the first round of the playoffs to Aquinas. Aquinas made the final in 5A and Bonner played them very tight last year. I have a lot of respect for what Aslin has built at Bonner Springs. Definitely a program that has produced a lot of players who keep the Braves competitive.
Basehor-Linwood needs to take a step forward. I will make a bold prediction here sleeping a bit on Piper who would be the next logical choice here based on track record. The Bobcats however have some players back on offense and defense that have me intrigued. Jahron McPherson is the leader from a production stand point on this team but their secondary is going to be very solid. The Bobcat secondary should be dominant with McPherson, Eric Scott and Nick Fisher. College coaches need to get to Basehor to get a look at Fisher in the secondary. I am always skeptical about height listings but I am 6'0 and look up to Fisher. He has the size and proved to be a ball hawk last year. Fisher has skills on the basketball court as well so keep an eye on the 2014 All SHUKC performer in the Bobcat secondary.
Piper has so many questions to answer but the program Coach Brindle has built will not allow me to bury the Pirates. Seeing the best and most accomplished football player in SHUKC graduate is hard enough to replace but I have mentioned the second layer. Over 250 tackles at LB have to be replaced. Sterling Owens is an All SHUKC performer who deserves some college looks. Owens is a powerhouse despite his height. He works his tail off in the weight room and is a track athlete. That all equals a hell of an athlete that would be a good fit at the next level.
Lansing Lions open up their new stadium opening week against the Pirates and I am looking forward to being there. I would say that the Lions struggled a bit with the new coaching staff last year. Losing Colin McQuillan so early in the year doomed the Lion's chances of challenging in league or district play. They do however have some intriguing pieces returning this year. Quinton McQuillan and Dewaun Wilkes will look to carry the squad this year on offense. Keep an eye out for Collyn McCarthy on the defensive side of the ball. He was among league leaders in TFL and sacks as a junior.
Turner was the talk of the town during the first few weeks of the season. They shocked Washington week one and benefited from playing Bishop Ward and Tonganoxie. The Bears however faded as the competition level went up. The Bears despite that took a step forward under Coach Milne. Their defense was strong last year but fought injuries late. Andre Jackson who is a stand out on the basketball team could be a player to watch on offense. Joe Prosser is the likely replacement for Tino Bernal who gradated. On defense keep an eye on Arnez Dowdy that caught the coaches eyes during early practices.
Bishop Ward will have Jordan Mitchell at QB and a few returning players to go along with him. I honestly have a lot to learn about the Cyclones at media day.
Tonganoxie continues their rebuilding efforts in my opinion in 2015. Kyle Fain and Ryan Musick return as seniors and represent the bulk of offensive production from 2014. Fain had a 100 yard game last year along with a TD against Piper. Kyle Burge had 19 catches last year for 250 yards and a TD. So bottom line for the Chieftains is they are going to be short on proven production.
What are your thoughts?? Am I sleeping big time on Piper?
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