Suburban Small Six Preview

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: August 13, 2015 - 10:15 AM



Belton

Head Coach: Todd Vaughn, 3rd season

2014 record (overall/conference): 4-7/1-4

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 7/8

Biggest Challenge: Right now the focus is week No. 1 and the game at rival Raymore-Peculiar. The Pirates are in a much better position to compete with a top program and this first game will be a test of the progress made over the last two seasons.

Outlook: Belton has a large group of talented returners who saw a lot of playing time last season. The program has seen its numbers almost double in the past three seasons and this could be a breakout season for the Pirates if they can gain confidence to go with the talent.

Coach’s thoughts: “We had a great offseason. We’ve had a great summer. We have kids who are stepping up leadership wise verbally and physically leading by example. When you see that happening you know you are making progress. How much progress we will have to wait and see, but we are making progress. Our kids have bought into what we are doing and they work hard and have a great attitude. We have kids that are willing to do whatever it takes as far as sacrificing personal goals. That’s progress and that’s what’s exciting.”

2015 Schedule:
8/21 @ Raymore-Peculiar
8/28 @ North Kansas City
9/4 Park Hill
9/11 Grandview
9/18 Oak Park
9/25 @ Platte County
10/2 Raytown South
10/9 @ Kearney
10/16 @ Winnetonka

Grandview

Head Coach: Jeremie Picard, 1st season

2014 record (overall/conference): 1-9/0-5

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 8/6

Biggest Challenge: Longtime coach Andy Leech moved to an administration job early in the summer and Jeremie Picard was elevated to the Interim Head Coach position in June. The transition time was short but Picard has been with the program for a while so he and the staff were able to hit the ground running. Now that regular practice is here the staff and team are ready to focus solely on football.

Outlook: Grandview was young last year and a lot of players saw the field last season. Most of those players are back so the Bulldogs look to much improved. There is quality at the skill positions and if the line play comes together Grandview can be one of the toughest opponents on anybody’s schedule.

Coach’s thoughts: “Our senior group is really kind of special. There are a lot of them for one. We are very fortunate this year to have about 20 guys plus returning as seniors. That by itself just brings a lot of experience. A very good number of them are very talented and have the added benefit of having played together since they were kids. There are a lot of positive relationships everywhere.”

2015 Schedule:
8/21 @ Ruskin
8/28 @ Oak Park
9/4 Grain Valley
9/11 @ Belton
9/18 Liberty North
9/25 @ Raytown South
10/2 @ Winnetonka
10/9 Platte County
10/16 Kearney

Kearney

Head Coach: Greg Jones, 10th season

2014 record (overall/conference): 12-2/4-1

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 3/4

Biggest Challenge: Kearney is replacing a lot of starters off a team that went all the way to the semifinals in Class 4. While there are going to be a large group of players getting their first start in game one it is still an experienced bunch. The Bulldogs will be senior dominated again and getting ready for the first game will be key in the transition of the team.

Outlook: Anyone who counts Kearney out or expects a step back season hasn’t been paying attention the last decade. The Bulldogs spent two seasons up in Class 5 where they went to the semifinals in 2013 and then followed that up with a trip the to the semifinals in Class 4 last season. There are a lot of new starters but that is nothing new. Once those players become comfortable, look for Kearney to make another deep run in the postseason.

Coach’s thoughts: “I think this group of seniors have been around two great classes before them. So they’ve seen as sophomores they were surrounded by a great senior class of leaders. As juniors they were surrounded by a great senior class of leaders. They’ve had that in front of them for two years so they know what is expected of them. I think that they are trying to live up to that tradition and just pass on the torch to the next class. They work extremely hard and you have to like the fact that there are 29 of them.”

2015 Schedule:
8/21 @ St. Joseph Central
8/28 Liberty
9/4 Liberty North
9/11 @ Raytown South
9/18 @ Ruskin
9/25 Winnetonka
10/2 @ Platte County
10/9 Belton
10/16 @ Grandview

Platte County

Head Coach: Bill Utz, 8th season

2014 record (overall/conference): 9-2/4-1

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 8/8

Biggest Challenge: The returning talent is there and this group of juniors and seniors have a lot of experience on Friday nights. The Pirates were a good team last year and are looking to take that next step and make a deep run in the playoffs. How this team uses its confidence and talent will be a big test this year.

Outlook: For the last two years Platte County has been on a good run only to fall short against Smithville in the district semifinals. This team is good enough to further but they need to get over that hump and maybe have a very special year.

Coach’s thoughts: “I like the experience we are bringing back. We have several positions that have experience and I’ve got some really, really good kids. They are fun to be around. They are fun to coach. They have put a lot of good work in and they enjoy being out there to play. That makes coaching and being around them a lot easier. It’s just a fun team to be with.”

2015 Schedule:
8/21 @ William Chrisman
8/28 @ St. Joseph Central
9/4 Ruskin
9/11 Park Hill South
9/18 @ Winnetonka
9/25 Belton
10/2 Kearney
10/9 @ Grandview
10/16 Raytown South

Raytown South

Head Coach: Nick Adkins, 2nd Season

2014 record (overall/conference): 7-5/2-3

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 4/5

Biggest Challenge:  The Cardinals come in with a lot of youth and inexperience at most of the skill positions. Those young players are learning on the job and the work in the summer along with the preseason are going to be key to them being ready when games start.

Outlook: Raytown South has a lot going for it this season. Standout dual threat quarterback Jabril Cox is back from a knee injury and could be one of the most dynamic players in the Metro. South will also play in its own home stadium for the first time in the 54-year history of the school. If the young players come along and Cox can stay healthy this could be a very dangerous team in the postseason.

Coach’s thoughts: “This has been a great group of seniors that have been together. The core group has played together all four years at Raytown South. It’s fun to see these guys work hard together and grow into the leaders they have become and then get to reap the benefits of having the opening game in a new stadium. It’s a very fun group of kids and we are excited about them getting this opportunity that’s been 55 years in the making.”

2015 Schedule:
8/21 @ Fort Osage
8/28 Truman
9/4 @ Park Hill South
9/11 Kearney
9/18 Raytown
9/25 Grandview
10/2 @ Belton
10/9 Winnetonka
10/16 @ Platte County

Winnetonka

Head Coach: Sterling Edwards, 6th season

2014 record (overall/conference): 8-3/4-1

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 3/5

Biggest Challenge: Winnetonka finds itself in a different position heading into the 2015 season. The Griffins will be young and starting quite a few new players in key positions. That group will be in the limelight for the first time and how they grow will be a big test early.

Outlook: After two straight years of experience all over the field Winnetonka will be breaking in many new faces. The Griffins graduated six starters on offense who had started since they were sophomores. There is talent in the program but instead of reloading it may be a bit of a rebuild early on.

Coach’s thoughts: “We’ve got a lot of guys that are a little green behind the ears but it is fun coaching those guys because they don’t have that experience and they don’t know what Friday nights are like. They’re getting that feeling of being the guy and us counting on them. So it’s a lot of fun to coach that group that doesn’t have that experience and the excitement they have.”

2015 Schedule:
8/21 Oak Park
8/28 @ Lee’s Summit North
9/4 @ Lee’s Summit West
9/11 Raytown
9/18 Platte County
9/25 @ Kearney
10/2 Grandview
10/9 @ Raytown South
10/16 Belton