RE/MAX Big 3 Games of the Week

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: August 14, 2016 - 4:16 PM

Kearney at Fort Osage
7 p.m. Friday at Fort Osage Stadium

It’s not very often we see two defending state champions open a season. This year the Suburban Conference schedule makers sent the Class 4 champion Kearney on the road to face Class 5 champ Fort Osage.

While the schools are the same ones that raised trophies last November in St. Louis, the players who will take the field Friday night will look a lot different. Both squads lost big senior classes that featured a high number of starters.

Kearney only has five total starters but that number isn’t much different than the past few years. The Bulldogs have just reloaded in that time going to two straight semifinals in two different classes before topping Webb City to win the Class 4 trophy last year.

The Indians have their lowest amount of returning starters going back a few seasons but Fort Osage has also been known to reload and not rebuild.

One thing is for sure these teams play a similar style and have matched up for some epic games over the last decade and this could be yet another chapter in this storied rivalry.

Blue Springs South at Lee’s Summit West
7 p.m. Friday at Lee’s Summit West Stadium

Two powerhouses open the season with a different look on the field and on the sideline. The biggest changes come at the head coaching positions as two state championship coaches retired at the end of the season.

Blue Springs South’s Greg Oder called it a career and handed the baton to long-time assistant Jon Oyler. West’s Royce Boehm did the same and elevated assistant coach Vinny Careswell to the top spot.

The Jaguars are coming off an undefeated run to the Class 6 state title and while they lost a big senior class there are still good players left from that team. South will be replacing some key spots like quarterback and several members of the offensive line but this will still be a good team.

West has good numbers back but with the coaching change came other changes as well. Careswell moved from being the defensive coordinator at the same time he brought in a new offensive coordinator. The schemes are new on both sides so the Titans have been in a learning mode all offseason.

This is a great game to kick off the season in general but it could have big implications in the Suburban Gold Conference race.

Liberty North at Staley
7 p.m. Friday at the North Kansas City District Activities Center

Two of the better Class 5 programs in the Metro open with a tough non-conference tilt. This has been a conference battle for the past four seasons but Liberty North has moved up to the Suburban Red division so now it is just for bragging rights.

Staley is another team that is a part of the “Replacing a legendary head coach” group as Fred Bouchard moved into administration and assistant Phil Lite took over. Lite has been at Staley with Bouchard since the beginning so the transition should be pretty seamless.

The Falcons have a good group back but most of those players are on the offensive side of the ball. There could be as many as nine new starters on defense so that could be a work in progress. Defense has been the calling card for Staley so this could be an interesting first week for the Falcons.

Liberty North has experience returning but a number of those players have switched sides of the ball. The Eagles only returned four starters on defense so a few of the offensive starters from last year will be playing defense this year.

North will look to do what it always does which is play physical and try to establish the run. This will be a great test for both schools to start the 2016 season.