What Steve Said: Steve Bubalo 8/24

Steve Bubalo

By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: August 24, 2016 - 7:31 AM



Small sample sizes are not to be trusted in sports. That’s what we’ve always been told, no matter the sport.

Omar Infante puts together a 10-game hit streak. Don’t get roped in!

Alex Smith completes a pass of more than 40 yards in multiple games in a row. Maybe he can throw deep after all? No! Don’t be fooled!

This is like Week 1 of the football season. It’s easy to read too much in to scores. All teams are breaking in new players, some new coaches, new plays, you name it. So much is new.

There’s no better example of this than the 2008 version of Blue Springs South. The Jaguars hosted Rockhurst in the season-opener on ESPN and got pummeled. Wasn’t even close. Almost three months later, those same Jaguars had knocked Rockhurst out of the playoffs and nearly won a state championship.

So it’s with hesitation that I bring up defending Class 4 state champs Kearney and they’re very impressive opening-week win at defending Class 5 champion Fort Osage, 35-14. But, man, did the Bulldogs look good.

Despite just a handful of returning players from last year’s championship team, Kearney looked like a team that didn’t miss a step. A big reason might be that the Bulldogs still have a senior-heavy class. They might not have the experience, but they’ve been around a program that is consistently challenging for state titles.

Everyone knows one of the most important positions - if not the most important - on a football team is the quarterback. And for Kearney, that’s one position where the starter is someone who actually hasn’t been a part of the program.

Senior Anthony Pritzel moved in from Excelsior Springs and looked quite comfortable in his first game under center for the Bulldogs despite the pressure he said he felt.

“I still have that pressure, but I’m more relaxed now that I’ve played a game with my teammates,” he said after the win.

Pretzel did damage with his legs, along with running back Logan Hachman, while also being very efficient in the passing game. Jess Davis was Pritzel’s favorite target through the air and showed playmaking capabilities.

Only two players on the Bulldog offense Friday night had any varsity experience. Two. They still managed to score on six of their first seven possessions, the only exception being a 10-second drive right before the half as time ran out.

And this is all without mentioning a defense that held Fort Osage in check for most of the game.

Although, if we’re being honest here, it’s not like Kearney is some kind of underdog. This shouldn’t come as some big surprise. Should there really be any hesitation to proclaim them as great again? They’re still the defending champs. They’re still ranked No. 1 in Class 4. People talk about rebuilding and reloading, and it appears the Bulldogs are doing the latter.

After all, success breeds success. The Bulldogs aren’t going anywhere. I’ll take my chances saying so after just one week.