Through the Uprights: Mike Lavieri 8/18

Mike Lavieri

By Mike Lavieri PrepsKC senior writer
Posted: August 18, 2016 - 7:48 PM

You hear that? The click-clack, the crunching of concrete?

That’s football coming out from the locker room.

You smell that? The fresh-cut grass or the heat coming off of the turf? Or the pads and helmets that don’t have that lingering, musty sweat smell?

That’s football beginning anew.

Ah, August. Where the practices are longer and the days are hotter. It’s all preparation for that first Friday night where the entire community comes together and is hopeful for the upcoming season.

Last season we saw a lot of firsts in Kansas. Mill Valley captured its first football title in program history. We saw a Sunflower League team fail to make a state championship game for the first time in the conferences history.

This season will also see more firsts as Mill Valley and St. James usher in a new era as members of the Eastern Kansas League.

For two years these schools have been patiently waiting for this time. Not to knock the Kaw Valley League, but Mill Valley was miles better than the rest of the league, but that’s because of sheer numbers. And St. James, after opening its doors in 2005 will finally have a place to call home as it was an independent up until now.

They’ll make fine additions to the EKL, which, in my opinion, is the strongest football conference in the state from top to bottom.

It boasts two 2015 reigning champions in Mill Valley, Class 5A, and 4A-I champion Bishop Miege, and the Class 6A runner-up, Blue Valley.

While Miege and Mill Valley were miles ahead of the competition in their respective classes last year, I don’t think 2016 will be the same.

Both will be contenders and Miege will most likely be the favorite to win it all again, but I think this season is as wide open as it’s been in recent years.

And maybe that has to do with the fact that 5A and 6A are going to the everybody-is-in-the-playoffs model, which could make for some drama.

My predictions will come in two weeks, but until then Missouri has the spotlight as their games get underway this week.