Suburban Big Six Preview

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: August 17, 2014 - 11:05 AM



The Suburban Big Six Conference has long been home to some of the best teams in the Metro and the state of Missouri and this season shouldn’t be any different.

The conference boasts the last three Missouri Class 6 champions, one of the top rated quarterbacks in the country and just for good measure added the Class 5 title holder Lee’s Summit West. The Titans move into the league and into Class 6 for the first time while Liberty moved down to Class 5 and the Suburban Middle Six.

Blue Springs brings back a talented team that has won the last two Class 6 championships and is currently on a 24-game winning streak dating back to the 2012 season. West is the defending Class 5 champs while Lee’s Summit is led by Drew Lock who spent his summer at the Elite 11 quarterback camp. The rest of the conference is no cake walk as Raymore-Peculiar is much improved, Blue Springs South is young but talented and Lee’s Summit North is looking to make big strides with young players and several new assistant coaches.

Here is a look at each team in the Suburban Big Six:

Blue Springs

2013 Record: 13-0 (Class 6 Champions)/5-0 Conference Champions

The Wildcats lost some big time players in two-time Simone Award winning tailback Dalvin Warmack, two-time Buchanan Award winner Elijah Lee, Kaleb Prewitt and Darius Shepherd. That group is gone but several top notch players return led by defensive linemen Carlos and Khalil Davis.

Blue Springs was as dominant as any team in the last decade and are looking to become the second team in Missouri’s biggest class to win three straight titles joining Jefferson City that won three in-a-row in 1976-78.

To reach that rarified air the Wildcats will have to overcome its conference along with Rockhurst in district play and a semifinal that could include last year’s finalist Columbia Rock Bridge or rival Blue Springs South.

Wildcats coach Kelly Donohoe said his team has come into this season ready for a new set of challenges.

“We’ve got a good core of kids back talent wise,” Donohoe said. “But more importantly we have good core of character guys back.

“They have been part of some really special teams and they get it and thank goodness I’ve got coaches on staff that lead the right way. We’ve got a lot of good people in place that are showing them the right direction. These kids thank god come from a lot of good parents because they sure do things the right way. We are really proud of them and excited to go into this year with these guys leading us.”

Kelly Donohoe Podcast

Blue Springs South

2013 Record: 6-5/3-2

Last season was a roller coaster ride for the Jaguars. A deep senior class got off to a good start before injuries put them in a mid-season slide. South recovered to win three straight including a win over Rockhust in the first round of the postseason before bowing out to rival Blue Springs.

Gone are more than 40 seniors leaving the Jaguars with just one player who can be called a true returning starter. This year’s team has fewer seniors but is backed up by a group of juniors and sophomores who have been successful at every level so far.

South has talent but that talent hasn’t really played under the lights on Fridays. The question for the Jaguars is how fast will they adjust and will this group be able to win at a high rate at the top level of high school football after dominating the lower levels.

Jaguars’ coach Greg Oder said his group is inexperienced but getting better each day.

“I like the fact that they are extremely coachable,” Oder said. “They are a bunch of really good kids. They are doing everything we are asking them to do. They are working extremely hard. They are excited for the year to start and that makes it pretty easy to coach.

“Our lower levels have had pretty good success. We have a pretty young squad and had quite a bit of sophomores who got a quite a bit of time last year that are juniors now. The fact that they don’t have a lot of Friday night experience makes it extremely exciting for them. The only thing they are concerned with are the Blue Springs South Jaguars and I think that is going to be big for us.”

Greg Oder Podcast

Lee’s Summit

2013 Record: 10-2/4-1

The Tigers are coming off one of the best seasons in school history and return possibly the best quarterback in the Metro in Drew Lock.

While lock and several receivers are back the Tigers are looking to replace a couple of offensive linemen and a running back. Last year Lee’s Summit also had standout Casey Slaughter as a threat in the backfield and the Tigers will be looking for his replacement heading into the season.

Lee’s Summit’s defense returns most of its linebackers and defensive backs but needs to find an all new defensive line. If the Tigers can find those linemen the defense could get close to the unit that played its best football late in the season last year.

Tigers’ coach Eric Thomas knows he has one of the best weapons in the Metro but other areas will have to step up if the team is to return to 2013’s lofty heights.

“I think it starts on the defensive side for us,” Thomas said. “We’ve talked about this in the offseason and continue to talk about that we have to be a more physical defense. I thought we got to that point last year with a great group of seniors that took a lot of reps on defense. I thought we became more and more physical as the season went and we have to continue to do that.”

Eric Thomas Podcast

Lee’s Summit North

2013 Record: 2-8/0-5

The Broncos got off to a 2-0 start last season before a tough schedule sent North to eight straight losses.

It’s tough to make a climb in the Big 6 but the Broncos have a renewed focus heading into this season. Head Coach Ty Kohl has remade his coaching staff and has a talented group of underclassmen that could be ready to compete.

What the Broncos don’t have is experience. The senior class is small and a lot of key positions will be filled with underclassmen.

Even with the lack of experience Kohl said the infusion of new faces on the staff has refocused how North is building its program.

“We are not going to be very experienced but we have some young kids that are very coachable, kids that want to be here and kids that want to learn,” Kohl said. “They are a great bunch of kids and are looking forward to building offense and defense and a program. One of the things we’ve talked about here is we had been trying to build a team to compete and we need to be building a program and we have a chance to start doing that this season.”

Ty Kohl Podcast

Lee’s Summit West

2013 Record: 13-1 (Class 5 Champions)/5-0 (Suburban Middle Six Champions)

The Titans make the move to Class 6 this season after winning state titles in both Class 4 and 5 in their first 10 seasons. During that time West has been one of the best programs in the state and now it will play in the best conference in the state’s biggest class.

The Titans lost a decent amount of players off last year’s state championship team but bring back some stars as well. Tailback Ryan Williams returns and the Mizzou commit should be one of the top running backs in the Metro this season. The Titans will need to replace a couple of offensive linemen but that hasn’t really been an issue for them the last few seasons.

The big question for West is how will it stand up to a conference schedule that features Blue Springs, Blue Springs South, Lee’s Summit and Ray-Pec along with non-conference games with Liberty and Columbia Rock Bridge.

The schedule has definitely taken a step up and Titans’ coach Royce Boehm said his team is just doing the same thing it has always done just trying to get better.

“We are not changing what we are doing, we just continue on,” Boehm said. “The thing that we tell these young men is you are either on board or off board. You have either bought into the system or you haven’t bought into the system. That’s what exciting about it.”

Royce Boehm Podcast

Raymore-Peculiar

2013 Record: 4-6/1-4

If there is any team that signifies the depth of the Big 6 it is Ray-Pec. The Panthers only won one game in the conference in 2013 but also went on the road and beat Class 6 finalist Columbia Rock Bridge.

The Panthers are coming off an up and down 2013 but looked to be well positioned heading into 2014. Ray-Pec returns a good group of players and could be a team that takes a big step forward. The question will be how far forward in a conference that just got tougher with the addition of Lee’s Summit West.

Panthers coach Tom Kruse said he feels like his seniors are a group that can be impact players and leaders this season.

“I think we have an opportunity to be pretty solid,” Kruse said. “The majority of that lies in that group. We always say we will be as good as our seniors allow us to be and I think that this class is pretty well focused and they know they have a chance to do something special.”

Tom Kruse Podcast