View From the Press Box: Dion Clisso 11/23

Dion Clisso

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: November 24, 2012 - 9:56 AM

I love summer football. It’s the time of year when teams are working on getting better without the pressure of winning games.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing like the season and this week is the time when we crown state champions, and that is always special. Sometimes when we get to this point it is nice to look back and see how these teams were built.
This past summer I got the chance to see quite a few teams doing team camps, 7-on-7 and other team activities. One of the team camps I went to was in Blue Springs. The Wildcats hosted four other teams in a two-day scrimmage. This is common practice around the Metro, so there wouldn’t seem to be anything special about the two days in late June out at Blue Springs.
The teams that were out there might change your mind. There was Blue Valley Northwest. The Huskies were a solid team this year and qualified for the Kansas 6A playoffs. Winnetonka was also in attendance. The Griffins had a very good season, winning a post-season game before falling to Fort Osage in the district title game.
The other three teams you may have heard of. There was the host Wildcats who just earned a trip to play for the Missouri Class 6 title along with Shawnee Mission West and Fort Osage. Yes, two other teams that will be playing for state titles this weekend.
You never know what you will see when you come to a summer team camp, but there were a few things that stood out to me. First, Blue Springs Dalvin Warmack looked bigger. Warmack looked like he had hit the weight room in the offseason and his strong runs between the tackles could be a sign of things to come.
I would love to tell you that I knew he would go for 2,000-plus yards and score more than 40 touchdowns. He ran stronger and it gave me an idea the Wildcats rushing attack would be improved this year.
West was a team that I didn’t know much about heading into the summer. The Vikings were coming off an OK season, but there were a lot of questions. I saw them scrimmage Winnetonka and they looked physical and like a team that would be much improved. I didn’t know at the time West would end up playing in a state title game, but it looked like a team that could make some noise.
Fort Osage scrimmaged Blue Springs, and the one thing that stood out to me was they were fast and physical. The Indians did struggle with the Wildcats offense, but you could see flashes of what the defense could be. Friday night at Fort Osage that defense was on display, and the process was complete and the Indians have become one of the top defenses in the Metro.
Looking back it was a fun couple of days watching football. Five months later we see the teams combined for a 48-12 record and three state title games. That was quite a team camp.