Sideline Pass: Jim Bradford 1/8
By Jim Bradford PrepsKC Senior Writer
A new year is upon is. Out with the old, in with the new, right?
Well, sort of.
As 2013 raises its head from the pillow and awakes to the brisk, sometimes biting air of Kansas City, everyone has an idea of how the new year will play out.
What will 2013 bring? With that, come the resolutions. So why should I be any different. So, here you go. Here are some things I’d like to see in 2013 on the Kansas side of the state…
Another magical run. For the second year in a row, the Kansas Class 6A state champ has been from this side of the state – and taken us on a pretty amazing ride.
In 2011, Olathe South, leading by four, had to march down the field in the final minute to put some points on the board in the district finale just to make the playoffs. They then rolled to an amazing state championship – their first in school history – by beating Wichita Heights, the defending state champ, in a classic title game.
This year, Shawnee Mission West laid in the weeds all year long while Lawrence and Lawrence Free State hogged the glory. All West did was hop on Brett Sterbach’s back and win the school’s first state title – and the first by any Shawnee Mission school – since 1985.
The Simone to return to the Kansas side. I know, it’s only been a couple of years since the award for the top player in the Metro has set up shop across the state line, but it’s high time it returns. And if I was a betting man, it would end up right back where it last rested – at Gardner-Edgerton. Watch out for Traevohn Wrench. Yeah, you know the name. It won’t take him but a game or two to set the school’s all-time rushing record and is it too crazy to think about a high school running back going for 3,000 yards?
The Class 6A and 5A state championship teams to come from the eastern side of the state. It hasn’t happened since 2003 when Olathe North won the Class 6A title and Blue Valley won the 5A title, but it’s high time it happened again. I’m not sure who it will be, but there are plenty of options in both classes to make a run at both titles.
More of the gutsy calls. I loved it this year, when Scott Wright Blue Valley West went for the win against St. Thomas Aquinas in triple overtime and came up short. It didn’t stop him from doing it again a month later against Blue Valley Southwest. And that gave him the confidence in his team to try it one more time in the state quarterfinals against Bishop Miege. With the game– and the season – on the line, Wright wasn’t afraid to roll the dice (the Jags went 1-2 in those games) and his team loved him for it. So did I. That’s what high school football is all about.
Even more parity, please. There were four new playoff teams in Class 6A in 2012. That’s half of the teams from the eastern half of the state that were playing in November that weren’t just one year before. Nothing builds a program – and sustains a program – better than extra practice. Just ask Olathe North. They played the equivalent of a couple extra seasons over the course of a decade thanks to continual deep playoff runs and state titles. Let’s see some more fresh faces in 2013.
And here are a few things that I think we’ll see in 2013…
Olathe will return. For those of you who thought that Olathe was down, think again. East made it to the state playoffs again in 2012 and North snuck in with a 3-6 mark, but the collective 15-21 mark by the four Olathe schools, including a 1-2 mark in the playoffs, won’t happen again. Hope everyone enjoyed getting their chance at Olathe teams this year.
The south will rise. Schools from the southern side of the Kansas side of the state line are on the verge. Gardner-Edgerton is here to stay and playing Class 6A. Blue Valley West is ready to take the next step and, well, uh, see above.
Eudora will struggle a bit. A team doesn’t lose a coach like Gregg Webb and not miss a beat. Webb led the Cardinals to back-to-back state title games in Class 4A. They will still be good, but they may take a step back in 2013.
Another Shawnee Mission run, someone besides West, though. Not sure why I think this, but sometime tells me that another one of those Shawnee Mission schools makes some noise this year.
The return of the running back. He was there in 2012. I mean, Sterbach became the first non-Olathe running back to rush for 2,000 yards in Sunflower League history, but aside from him, Wrench and Shawnee Mission South’s Gabe Guild, there running backs were few and far between in 2012. Not so this year. It starts with Wrench. Venus Triplett is set to roll at Olathe North. Who knows who else might pop up, but I’ve just got a feeling that we are going to see some sensational running backs to go along with that solid quarterback play we’ve been seeing over the past couple of years.
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