IL gets ready for the season

Toriano Porter/PrepsKC

By Toriano Porter PrepsKC Staff Writer
Posted: August 21, 2015 - 7:57 PM

The start of the season is one step closer for teams in the Interscholastic League after Saturday's four-team jamboree at IL Stadium.

Two-time defending league champion Lincoln Prep was joined by East, Northeast and Afrikan Centered College Prep during the jamboree.

League members Southwest Early College Campus and Kansas City Central didn’t participate due to players with less than the required amount of practices under their belt.

Lincoln Prep head coach Henry Newell was pleased with the work of his team after their first round tilt against Northeast. The Blue Tigers are aiming for a three-peat of the IL crown this season.

“I was happy with the effort,” Newell said. “The new kids that were playing for the first time, they produced. Overall not bad. We have a long ways to go, but we’re getting there.”

Lincoln Prep running back and safety Kalyn Davis said the Blue Tigers had a productive day, but room for improvement.

“We have some stuff we need to improve on both offense and defense,” Davis said. “We need to execute better and practice harder next week to prepare for the season-opener.”

First-year Northeast head coach Kevin Bair said the Vikings got in some quality work against Lincoln Prep.

“I saw a lot of hustle out there and a lot of hard work,” Bair said. “I liked what I saw.” 

Vikings’ safety and quarterback Angel Rodriguez said he was impressed not only with the defensive aggressiveness of the four teams but also the sportsmanship displayed by the squads.

“Back when I played my freshman year there was a lot of aggressiveness,” he said. “I still see that aggressiveness, but it’s not as violent.”

Leon McElrath, first-year coach at ACCP, said fatigue set in during their scrimmage against East. However, McElroth said, he was glad to see his team compete against the Bears, then later against Lincoln Prep.

“We’re a young team and we have a lot of work to do,” McElrath said. “I know we are not all the way ready, but I want to see my team compete every play.”

ACCP’s senior Franklin Thornton , who had a 35-yard touchdown reception against Lincoln Prep, said breaking the monotony of preseason camp was overdue.

“It’s always good to compete against my peers in the IL,” Thornton said.

Greg Smith, head coach at East, said he wanted to see his team pick up the defensive pressure against Northeast after a so-so opening round against ACCP. Smith got his wish as the Bears recorded three sacks and four interceptions against the Vikings.

“For the first two weeks of practice, I think we are right where we want to be,” Smith said.

Bears senior free safety Xanthanus Pierro snagged two of the picks against Northeast.

“Our team played really good,” Pierro said. “We were very disciplined and we listened to coach and stuck with the game plan.”