Loaded again

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: September 2, 2015 - 11:19 AM



Bishop Miege

Head Coach: Jon Holmes, 4th season

2014 record (overall/conference): 13-0/6-0

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 6/5

Biggest Challenge: A large part of the championship team is back again this season but some players are in new places. Getting those players up to speed along with building the depth behind them has been a focus of the work getting ready for game No. 1.

Outlook: The Stags are the prohibitive favorite to repeat as Class 4A-I champs. Miege returns powerhouse running back Dawson Downing along with several other all-state caliber players on both sides of the ball. Miege will again be tested through a tough EKL. While undefeated conference and state titles might not be possible this team is one of the best in the Metro every time it takes the field.

Coach’s thoughts: “I like there are a lot of guys back that were on that team last year. That’s something we’ve kind of put a focus on in the first couple of weeks this season and I know our guys are ready to get after it Friday night.”

2015 Schedule:
9/4 Blue Valley Northwest
9/11 @ Gardner-Edgerton
9/18 @ Blue Valley
9/25 St. Thomas Aquinas
10/1 @ Blue Valley West
10/9 Blue Valley Southwest
10/16 @ Spring Hill
10/23 Louisburg
10/29 Sumner

Blue Valley

Head Coach: Eric Driskell, 6th season

2014 record (overall/conference): 9-2/6-1

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 5/6

Biggest Challenge: The Tigers bring back a good group of starters that made it to the 6A quarterfinals a year ago. Blue Valley finished last season strong and are looking to keep improving this year as the season goes on.

Outlook: Blue Valley easily made the jump from 5A to 6A and was one of the top teams in the state. This year could be another strong one and the Tigers have the chance to be the first non-Sunflower League team to make it to the 6A title game on the East side of the bracket in 37 years.

Coach’s thoughts: “I really like our seniors. Our senior group is a strong leadership class. They are really pulling for each other and they have a lot of energy and a lot of want to. I think we bring back some experience at some key spots. Our leaders on offense and our leaders on defense in those positions are back so it’s well rounded.”

2015 Schedule:
9/4 Shawnee Mission Northwest
9/11 @ Blue Valley West
9/18 Bishop Miege
9/25 @ Blue Valley Southwest
10/2 Blue Valley North
10/9 St. Thomas Aquinas
10/16 @ Gardner-Edgerton
10/23 @ Olathe South
10/30 Blue Valley Northwest

Blue Valley North

Head Coach: Andy Sims, 2nd season

2014 record (overall/conference): 2-7/1-5

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 10/8

Biggest Challenge: The Mustangs played almost all underclassmen last year so almost the whole team is back. Those players will be playing with expectations for the first time and how they handle those expectations will be a big part of North’s success.

Outlook: Blue Valley North could have one of the better offenses in the EKL and that is saying a lot. The Mustangs have talented quarterback Joey Dolan triggering an attack that has several other good skill players. If North can find some defense from week to week this could be the best team in quite a few years.

Coach’s thoughts: “These kids have been an unbelievable group of seniors to work with. Really all of our underclassmen overall have been great. All of these guys are eager, they are hard-working guys and we do have a little bit of talent that we developed. Maybe some of those areas that we don’t have much talent those guys have done a great job in the weight room this offseason.”

2015 Schedule:
9/4 Blue Valley Southwest
9/11 @ St. Thomas Aquinas
9/18 Blue Valley West
9/25 Blue Valley Northwest
10/2 @ Blue Valley
10/9 @ Gardner-Edgerton
10/15 Shawnee Mission South
10/22 Shawnee Mission Northwest
10/30 @ Shawnee Mission West

Blue Valley Northwest

Head Coach: Mike Zegunis, 11th season

2014 record (overall/conference): 5-4/4-3

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 2/4

Biggest Challenge: For the second-year in a row the Huskies have three tough games to start the season. Northwest opens with Bishop Miege then follows it with Mill Valley and St. Thomas Aquinas. The Huskies will need to be ready to play mistake-free football to start the season.

Outlook: Northwest has been a team that each year plays tough physical football. The Huskies tough early schedule didn’t stop them from having a winning season a year ago and this year could be the same. Another big test will come at the end of the season in a district that features Blue Valley, Olathe South and Gardner-Edgerton.

Coach’s thoughts: “We feel pretty excited about our skill position guys that are coming back. On offense we have four or five playmakers. Guys that have good speed and guys that are athletic. Hopefully again our guys are going to make plays out on the football field. Defensively they do a good job as well. We think we have good team speed and we fly around the football.”

2015 Schedule:
9/4 @ Bishop Miege
9/11 @ Mill Valley
9/17 St. Thomas Aquinas
9/25 @ Blue Valley North
10/2 Blue Valley Southwest
10/9 Blue Valley West
10/16 @ Olathe South
10/23 Gardner-Edgerton
10/30 @ Blue Valley

Blue Valley Southwest

Head Coach: Anthony Orrick, 1st season

2014 record (overall/conference): 3-6/2-5

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 7/5

Biggest Challenge: With a small senior class the Timberwolves have a lot of younger players in new coach Anthony Orrick’s new system. Southwest has some talent but the task at hand is developing the younger players into quality depth for a tough EKL season.

Outlook: Southwest will look to climb up the ladder in the EKL this season. It will be a tough road but this is a team that could be much better at the end of the season than it was at the beginning.

Coach’s thoughts: “We’ve got a few returners on both the offensive and defensive side. From what I’ve seen so far the kids are just really buying into the things that we are doing and seem to really enjoy themselves. I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids. They are very respectful. They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do and really embraced all of the changes we’ve brought in this year.”

2015 Schedule:
9/4 @ Blue Valley North
9/11 Shawnee Heights
9/18 @ Gardner-Edgerton
9/25 Blue Valley
10/2 @ Blue Valley Northwest
10/9 @ Bishop Miege
10/16 St. Thomas Aquinas
10/23 Pittsburg
10/30 @ Blue Valley West

Blue Valley West

Head Coach: Scott Wright, 15th season

2014 record (overall/conference): 5-4/3-4

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 6/6

Biggest Challenge: There are some new skill players on offense and that group is still gaining confidence heading into the season. Being consistent and getting enough scoring will be key for the Jaguars

Outlook: West missed the playoffs for the first time in a while last season. This is a talented group led by a strong defense. If the offense can develop this could be one of the better Kansas Class 5A teams in the Metro.

Coach’s thoughts: “The group of seniors that we have is a really tight group of kids that have been successful all the way through. I’m really looking forward to their leadership. They are just a good group of kids. I like that. I like the overall feel of the team. They’ve really bought in to what we want to do.”

2015 Schedule:
9/4 @ Lawrence
9/11 Blue Valley
9/18 @ Blue Valley North
9/24 Gardner-Edgerton
10/1 Bishop Miege
10/9 @ Blue Valley Northwest
10/16 Pittsburg
10/23 @ St. Thomas Aquinas
10/30 Blue Valley Southwest

Gardner-Edgerton

Head Coach: Marvin Diener, 10th season

2014 record (overall/conference): 0-9/0-7

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 3/3

Biggest Challenge: It was a tough year for the Trailblazers so this group is looking for some confidence. The senior class doesn’t have a lot of depth so Gardner-Edgerton will be looking to younger players to fill in some spots.

Outlook: Gardner-Edgerton proved how tough the EKL can be. The Trailblazers went from battling for the league title one year to winless the next. There is a good group of younger players so this might be a team that grows and restores confidence as the season goes on.

Coach’s thoughts: “I really think we are vastly improved in our skill position areas. Those kids are still fairly young and we simply have more firepower. We’ve had a good offseason and couple first weeks of practice. We still have a lot of football to learn but we really like the potential of the team.”

2015 Schedule:
9/4 @ Shawnee Mission East
9/11 Bishop Miege
9/18 Blue Valley Southwest
9/24 @ Blue Valley West
10/2 @ St. Thomas Aquinas
10/9 Blue Valley North
10/16 Blue Valley
10/23 @ Blue Valley Northwest
10/30 Olathe South

St. Thomas Aquinas

Head Coach: Randy Dreiling, 2nd season

2014 record (overall/conference):  9-4/5-2

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 8/7

Biggest Challenge: The Saints return a good group of starters but the defense has some new players in key positions. Those players will need to get up to speed quickly and how they adjust will determine how well the defense plays early on.

Outlook: Aquinas is the consensus No. 1 pick in Kansas 5A according to most of the polls. They return a strong group on both sides of the ball. It may not be state title or bust but most people associated with the program expect this team to maybe take that final step and bring home a football championship.

Coach’s thoughts: “We had a really good offseason. Karter Oderman did a great job getting the kids together working on the passing game and the option game. That’s why he was elected captain. So we are hitting the ground running right now. The state allows you to do things in the summer which makes a big difference. Now we weren’t learning we were polishing. It’s I guess a total transformation from a year ago.”

2015 Schedule:
9/4 Mill Valley
9/11 Blue Valley North
9/17 @ Blue Valley Northwest
9/25 @ Bishop Miege
10/2 Gardner-Edgerton
10/9 @ Blue Valley
10/16 Blue Valley Southwest
10/23 Blue Valley West
10/30 @ Pittsburg