Thursday, October 23, 2014
A running conversation in the KCAL and KVL is the level of competition produced with in the leagues. Playoff appearances for the KCAL have been few and far between. Due to a rough week that saw all 6 KCAL teams lose their first game of districts, it less likely there will be one this year. In the KVL however there is a solid mix of schools ranging from the approximately 300 students of Bishop Ward to Mill Valley which is one of the largest 5A schools in the state. Despite the population gap even Bishop Ward, who has gotten beaten senseless in the KVL, was able to make the playoffs in 2013.
This enrollment disparity between Mill Valley and the 4A schools reached a point last year that some interesting decisions were made. Some believe that Mill Valley went independent and is no longer a member of the KVL in football. It was reported by some including myself initially that Mill Valley was not going to be eligible for a KVL crown. Their schedule was void of the 4A schools and only included the three 5A KVL schools Turner, Bonner Springs and Lansing. These three games do in fact make up the league schedule for the Jaguars. The league is decided by winning percentage and if Mill Valley is able to beat Bonner Springs and Turner they will claim a 3rd consecutive KVL title.
The enrollment at Mill Valley has been on the steady rise and they had not lost a league game since 2011 against a Colin Murphy led Basehor-Linwood Bobcat team. My interpretation of the situation is simple. Mill Valley wants to contend for a 5A title and felt a need to bump up their level of competition and the 4A teams were not interested in playing a team that had out grown them. I understand the reasoning but we missed out on a very good game between Piper and Mill Valley. Piper who has played Mill Valley tough despite their numbers would have provided a good fight if not a legit chance to win. For Mill Valley head coach Joel Applebee is business as usual for his team.
"To us it doesn't matter who we are playing, preparation remains the same. Much of the focus is on us and what we need to do to improve. We need to know our opponents schemes, strengths and weaknesses and then focus and what we need to do to put ourselves in a position to succeed. Winning is never easy, no matter who you play. We can’t take any opponent for granted."
With the open spaces on the schedule the Jaguars did not joke around with their opponents in 2014. St. Thomas Aquinas which they played in the first round of the playoffs last year, defending 6A champion Derby and a powerful Staley. I won't sugar coat in saying that while plays were made by the Jaguars they got smacked around but I do believe it has made them battle tested. I asked QB Logan Koch about the schedule.
Koch explained, "The tougher schedule made a big difference, it's like playing a district game every week."
The strategy however became clear that this team was building for district and playoff football. The team was able to get that first win last week against St James Academy which moved to 5A this season. They needed a late TD grab by Christian Jegen to get a narrow 17-14 win.
"That catch by Jegan was huge, I knew if I just gave him a chance he would go make the play!", said Koch
It is easy for everyone to focus on that last catch in the end zone by Jegen but it was a complete team effort to even make the drive possible.
"We executed as a team very well on that last drive. We work on those situations in practice so that we can have those types of drives when we need them. Logan, Christian and all the offense played very well on that last drive. And to be honest, our defense put us in position to have a game winning drive. They showed confidence that they could get it done and did so."
The win was exciting but has to make the Jaguar faithful take a step back and think. We played this tougher schedule to prepare us for districts, the playoffs and we struggle in the first game. It also raises an interesting question that will be answered this week.
Did playing this schedule beat us up to where we aren't as fresh as we need to be for this time of year?
"We are as healthy as we have been all year heading into the Bonner Springs game. ", explained Coach Applebee, "Our kids understand that at any moment they may be called upon to play at a high level, and they have done a great job of that all year."
The Jaguars will get on a bus Friday and head a few miles north to Bonner Springs who are riding high at 6-1, winners of 6 straight. Most importantly they come into this game fresh and posting video game numbers throughout the season. Conner Byers has 1347 through the air and 14 TD's to just 5 INT's, 516 rushing yards and 8 TD's has been spectacular in his first year starting through 5 games.
"Byers is a very smart quarterback that can do a lot of different things in all aspects of the game." said Applebee.
They hung 48 more points on Turner so these numbers are a bit more impressive. There are only a few threats to Conner Byers claiming SHUKC POY honors and one of them is his team mate Marcell Holmes who is putting together a fantastic set of stats of his own.
"Bonner Springs is an extremely well coached team." said Applebee, "They play physical and with great speed."
The Jaguars are bigger and arguably better tested. This is a rhetorical question for everyone. Are you better off getting beat by some of the top competition or winning consistently against good to bad competition? I know I can't wait to see the answer Friday night.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
by David Brox, firstname.lastname@example.org
I wanted to share an email I got from Coach King at Washington. He along with his team were able to take a trip to KU which is a great experience but more importantly some positive news for Washington. This is a trip that Coach Minor would do at Schlagle many moons ago so again awesome for the kids.
On Thursday, October 16, 2014 the WHS boys took a special trip to KU. The boys visited Allen Field House, which was a special treat. The boys were able to see the KU practice faculties, locker room, weight room, etc. The KU staff talked to the boys about school and basketball. After basketball, the WHS boys took a tour around campus, dorms, KU visitors center, etc. The boys got a special talk from KU guard Wayne Sheldon about life, basketball, and being a student-athlete. The boys finished the trip by eating in the college cafe. I took about 60 boys on this trip. Freshmen through varsity. I think it really opened their eyes learning that if they work hard in the classroom and on the court, their basketball dreams can come true. - Coach Eric King
I know I am looking forward to seeing this team play. James McNeal who was an All SHUKC performer is back with Kalem Harrison, Jamarcus Dawn, and Trayvon Hards. This team will be the favorite to claim yet another KCAL title and possibly get back to Topeka.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
If you know me then you are probably aware of my thoughts about Justin Richmond. I value my recommendations and am giving the highest possible for this man's work ethic and intentions of providing a good service. This is a steal folks as you are looking at less that $20 a session.
by David Brox, email@example.com
Lansing head coach John McCall and Cole Henley from Bishop Ward. The champ and coach were awesome to talk to. If you would be interested in sponsoring the show and having your logo or commercial shared on the broadcast please let me know.
Monday, October 20, 2014
Cast your vote in the comments below. Tweet and share to get your vote in!
A lot was made of the game winning TD but how about this catch Logan Koch to Christian Jegen?
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Argentine wins 8-0 over West
Northwest 36-6 over Coronado
Arrowhead 20-8 over Rosedale
Sumner Academy 38-0 over Eisenhower
This sets up the game for the league championship Saturday November 1st @9:00 AM between the Sumner Academy Sabres (4-0-1) and the Arrowhead Apaches (5-0) at Harmon HS.
Good luck to both teams!