Southeast shuts out Northeast
By Toriano Porter PrepsKC staff writer
That axiom was evident after Southeast downed Interscholastic League foe Northeast 20-0 Saturday at Interscholastic League stadium.
On the home side stood Southeast head coach Leon McElrath, who coached at the school last year when it was known as African Centered College Prep.
On the visitor’s side roamed Roger Franks, who was the head coach last year at the now-shuttered Southwest Early College Campus.
ACCP and Southwest merged this year to become a reincarnation of Southeast. The Knights feature a number of players who played for Franks.
The matchup was difficult for Southeast quarterback Darias Jones, who walked - more appropriately limped - off the Bryant Field at Interscholastic League stadium in obvious pain with a nagging calf injury.
Jones, a senior, had just led his team to its first league win at the expense of his former coach at Southwest.
“It was bittersweet,” Jones said. “Coach Franks is somebody I’ve been with for three years. At the same time, it also showed that I can do it in any surrounding and be coached and be a leader.”
And that, Franks said, is what the game is about.
“I’m all about the kids, man,” Franks said after Vikings’ sixth loss in seven games this season, including a 1-3 mark in league play. “To see Darias and some of those other guys that have been under my program - to see those guys have the skill set to go play in another program, I must be doing something right.”
Franks added he was proud that his former players have adjusted to McElrath's leadership.
“Normally kids can’t go from one program to another and actually get out there and play,” he said. “I’m not about scheme, I am about teaching the basics of football, so I think I have done my job to get those guys a chance to play at the next level.”
McElrath is happy to have his senior signal caller and the rest of his combined squad. Week after week the Knights, 2-5 overall on the season and 1-2 in the IL, have shown marked improvement.
Two weeks ago, they were clipped 24-22 by Lincoln Prep, then bowed out late to Kansas City Central in a 36-14 loss last week.
Lincoln Prep and Central are tied for first in the IL with 3-0 records.
“The kids really bought in this week more so than the last couple of weeks,” McElrath said. “When the kids buy in we feel like we can beat anybody.”
On the field, the Knights struck first, nursing first-half leads of 7-0 and 14-0 as the Vikings’ season-long offensive woes continued. They average less than 10 points per game.
The Vikings did, however, stick close with a smothering defensive effort. They trailed 14-0 heading in the fourth quarter.
Southeast tacked on another scoring run in the fourth to account for the final margin.
“We’re young and we don't handle adversity well, but you have to keep them grounded and grinding,” Franks said. “It could have easily been a blowout but we weathered that first half.
“We were still in the game to the very last minute. You can’t beat that in the first year of the program with a group of young guys.”
Northeast will try to regroup next week against 6-1 Hogan Prep. Southeast will go on the road to face 6-1 Cass-Midway, a Class 1 powerhouse.
“We just have to do what we have to do and focus in practice,” Jones said. “We need to come out level-headed. It was a victory today, but we’re moving on this point forward.”
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