View From the Press Box: Dion Clisso 1/11

Dion Clisso

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: January 11, 2014 - 3:35 PM

This is the fourth season of PrepsKC and this year Blue Valley, Blue Springs, Maryville and Lee’s Summit West all won titles to close out e season.
If those names are familiar they should be. In the four years of each of these teams has won two championships. Maryville and Blue Springs won last season while West and Blue Valley each earned a title in 2010.
All of these teams along with the likes of Staley, Shawnee Mission West, Rockhurst, Blue Springs South, Fort Osage and Olathe North have been some of the more dominant teams in this time. The teams that have been good continue to be good.
There are a lot of reasons. Some schools have a tradition and have strong numbers year in and year out. More players mean more opportunities to find talent. Good coaches and experienced staffs lead these groups of young men and help to continue strong traditions.
Those are all good reasons but there is one that I come back to over and over. Every year these teams that go deep in the playoffs can play three, four or even five extra games. That is almost half a season extra time on the field in practice and games.
Think about the sophomores who are up with the varsity in the postseason. Those players might just be running some scout team or seeing time on special teams but there are 10, 15 or 20 extra practices that can help them understand the game better. The instincts are sharper, the knowledge of the game is deeper.
 Even if it is just one extra week those players get to see what it takes to win games. Beyond the practice the game experience can be valuable as well. Even if the players are on the sidelines watching those high pressure games can pay some serious dividends.
Lee’s Summit West has unintentionally found the formula to always have a freshmen class with state experience. The school opened in 2004 without any seniors. The freshman class that year would be seniors when the Titans earned their first title in 2007. Those 2007 freshmen were seniors when West won a championship in 2010. Do the math and you see the same thing happened this year. You can’t plan it.
Blue Springs went to the state championship in 2009 and then returned the last two seasons. Only in 2011 did the Wildcats not gain any postseason experience.
Blue Valley has had the most impressive run in the last four years. The Tigers won the state title in 2010, went back to the game in 2011 and this year won its sixth Kansas Class 5A championship. This group of seniors has more title experience than any other team in the Metro and next year’s seniors will be working on a similar level.
The easy way to say it is winning makes winning easier.