Through the Uprights: Mike Lavieri 8/20

Mike Lavieri

By Mike Lavieri PrepsKC columnist
Posted: August 20, 2018 - 7:26 PM

There isn’t a better three-letter phrase than: Football. Is. Back!

Well, at least on the Missouri side. Kansas later than Missouri is like saying a football field is 120 yards long – duh. Good news is that it’s only a week difference this year.

Now that my annual complaint is out of the way, there’ve been some changes on the Kansas side.

First, Bishop Miege coach Jon Holmes will have a new quarterback under center as Carter Putz has moved on to play baseball at Notre Dame. It’ll be interesting to see how the four-time defending Class 4I-A champions adapt.

The Stags may not air it out as much this year as they have in years past, but that’s because of the electric Brison Cobbins. The junior running back ran for nearly 1,300 yards last year and amassed 15 touchdowns on the ground.

Cobbins and the Stags will have a huge test in Week 1 when they face defending 6A champions Blue Valley North.

I’m eager to see how Graham Mertz handles the pressure this season and builds upon an excellent 2017.

While he lost top receiver Dylan Freberg and running back Grant Hamel to graduation, he returns Nigel Roberts, who caught 69 passes for 1,085 yards and 13 scores.

The good news for Mertz is he has his recruitment out of the way. He’s heading to Wisconsin next. I don’t know what his recruitment would have looked like had he decided to stay at Miege given this season would be his only season starting. But I do think he made the right decision to transfer.

Blue Valley North finds itself in an interesting situation as they’ve seen themselves as little brother to Blue Valley for years, but the Mustangs have flipped the table.  

Speaking of Blue Valley, former Tiger quarterback Zach Rampy will take over coaching duties at Shawnee Mission North. The Indians had their most successful season in a long time two years ago going 6-5, but regressed to 1-9 last season.

It’s not an easy job, but Rampy is familiar with the program having been the offensive coordinator last season. The former Simone Award winner will definitely have some bumps along the way, but he knows how to win leading Blue Valley to a state title in 2006, when his father was the coach.

Zach has collegiate experiencing as a graduate assistant at Pittsburg State when his father Steve was offensive coordinator.

Steve enters his first season as the Lawrence Chesty Lions head coach, replacing Dirk Wedd, who was with the program for 19 years.

Lawrence’s last state title came in 1995 when it won six Class 6A championships in seven years. Since that last title, Rampy won three of his own at Blue Valley before departing for the college ranks for the past eight years.

There’s some competition now in Lawrence as to who is the best coach in town. I couldn’t think of a better hire for the Lions as they look to get back to the top.

It’ll be interesting to see how all this newness plays out. The Thursday and Friday before Labor Day weekend can’t get here soon enough for us to start seeing it all unfold.