White shining bright in 2017

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: August 10, 2017 - 8:00 AM



The Suburban White Conference has been home to some of the best Class 5 teams in the Metro the last few years. Both Staley and Fort Osage have won state titles in the last decade and look to be two of the best teams in Missouri Class 5 again this year.

While those two have routinely battled for the conference crown last year William Chrisman earned a share of the title with Staley and Fort Osage. The Bears are coming off their best season in decades and bring back a lot of players from the 2016 team.

North Kansas City, Ruskin and Oak Park have struggled in recent years but all three have the chance to be better this year and will be a much tougher opponent in 2017.

Here is a quick look at all of the teams in the Suburban White Conference.

Fort Osage

Head Coach: Brock Bult, 2nd season

2016 record (overall/conference): 5-6/4-1

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 8/7

Biggest Challenge: It was a bit of a step back for Fort Osage in 2016. After winning a state title with a senior led team in 2015 there was bound to be some growing pains for the young players last year. The Indians got off to a rough start but then began to play their best football down the stretch. The challenge this season is to keep that growth going and turn the potential shown last season into big time results on the field this year.

Outlook: The Indians return a lot on both sides of the ball. The have experience at quarterback and receiver on the offense and in every skill group on the defense. Fort Osage will be working in a couple of new lineman on both sides of the ball but there is talent there so that should be a quick transition. Expect a big bounce back for the Indians in 2017.

Coach’s thoughts: “I really like what we did last year and I really hope we can build on that. Our kids grew up and came together. They really bought in as the year was going. We’ve had a really strong offseason. A lot of kids gained confidence last year and then continued to gain confidence in other sports. I really look to keep that going this year.”

2017 Schedule:
8/18 @ Kearney
8/25 @ Truman
9/1 Lee’s Summit

9/8 Ruskin
9/15 @ Staley
9/22 @ North Kansas City
9/29 Lee’s Summit West
10/6 William Chrisman
10/13 @ Oak Park

North Kansas City

Head Coach: Leon Douglas, 7th season

2016 record (overall/conference): 3-8/1-4

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 7/4

Biggest Challenge: There aren’t that many starters back on the defensive side but that challenge has turned into a positive. The Hornets younger players have stepped up this offseason and have picked up the defense quickly and it should help that group come together quicker this year.

Outlook: North Kansas City had only three wins last season but one of those came in the post season. That victory over Truman paid big dividends for the Hornets and they have used that to have a good offseason. There are several teams in the Suburban White that could take a step forward this year and North Kansas City is one of them.

Coach’s thoughts: “I think this year’s team definitely understands the 1-0 mentality we have to have week in, week out and really take advantage of those opportunities to win ball games. We need to get that confidence going early. I think we have a very challenging schedule however, I do think the challenge is the great part about it. It gives us a chance to see where we are at.”

2017 Schedule:
8/18 @ St. Joseph Lafayette
8/25 @ Staley
9/1 Raytown South
9/15 @ Leavenworth
9/8 @ Oak Park
9/22 Fort Osage
9/29 @ William Chrisman
10/6 Ruskin
10/13 St. Joseph Central

Oak Park

Head Coach: Ken Clemens, 1st season

2016 record (overall/conference): 0-10/0-5

Returning Starters (Off/Def): N/A

Biggest Challenge: With an almost an entire new coaching staff coming over with Ken Clemens from Liberty North there has been some get to know you time with the players and staff. That can be a downside but Clemens said it has brought up the excitement level for him and his staff.

Outlook: It’s been a tough run at Oak Park over the last eight years. It’s been almost a decade since the Northmen have had a winning season. Clemens returns to his alma mater with hopes of turning that around. The positives might not be measured in a lot of wins this season but in the team’s ability to compete on a weekly basis.

Coach’s thoughts: “The kids in that school, the district and the administration of that school they are all hungry to have success. They are all willing to work to do what it takes so it has been an exciting change.”

2017 Schedule:
8/18 William Chrisman
8/25 @ Platte County
9/1 Excelsior Springs
9/8 North Kansas City
9/15 @ Ruskin
9/22 @ Grandview
9/29 Staley
10/6 @ Belton
10/13 Fort Osage

Ruskin

Head Coach: William Perkins, 3rd season

2016 record (overall/conference): 2-8/2-3

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 4/6

Biggest Challenge: The talent level and interest in the program is on the rise but the consistent numbers are still a struggle. The lack of consistent offseason participation beyond a core group of players hampers the Eagles as they try to build depth in a tough conference that features powerhouse programs like Staley and Fort Osage.

Outlook: Perkins is back for his third straight year giving him the longest tenure of a Ruskin coach in the last decade. That continuity is starting to pay dividends. There are several standout players that can play on any team in the city. The next step is filling in some brick and mortar players who can help put a consistent group on the field week in, week out. If the Eagles can find those players it could be one of the better seasons in the last 10-15 years.

Coach’s thoughts: “I like our seniors. I think we’ve got a really good group of seniors that’s been there since the three years that I’ve been there. I think we are really athletic. I think we are athletic across the board…We are talented as far as athleticism. We are getting stronger and that’s our biggest thing. We have been really focused on being in the weight room this offseason and I think that is going to really pay off for us.”  

2017 Schedule:
8/18 @ Raytown South
8/25 William Chrisman
9/1 St. Joseph Central
9/8 @ Fort Osage
9/15 Oak Park
9/22 @ Raytown
9/29 Belton
10/6 @ North Kansas City
10/13 Staley

Staley

Head Coach: Phil Lite, 2nd season

2016 record (overall/conference): 10-3/4-1

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 6/8

Biggest Challenge: The offensive line will have four new starters in 2017. That group paved the road for a dominant rushing attack and those players will be missed. The Falcons are now working to rebuild that line so the offense can hope to get back to a similar level to 2016.

Outlook: Last season it was the defense that entered the season with some questions. This year it’s the offense. Simone Award winner Julian Ross is gone but there are good players still in the fold. Staley has been one of the top programs and the word reload is used a lot more than rebuild and this year could be another reload.

Coach’s thoughts: “We’re going to be different in several ways. We are still going to try to run the football, play action pass you, play excellent defense and win the kicking game. I really like the work ethic of these kids. I love the seniors and the leadership they’ve provided. They were the core of our team a year ago even though they were juniors. They were a big part of our leadership last year. I’m really proud of this group.”

2017 Schedule:
8/18 @ Liberty North
8/25 North Kansas City
9/1 @ Platte County
9/8 @ Blue Springs South
9/15 Fort Osage
9/22 William Chrisman
9/29 @ Oak Park
10/6 Kearney
10/13 @ Ruskin

William Chrisman

Head Coach: Matt Perry, 1st season

2016 record (overall/conference): 8-2/4-1

Returning Starters (Off/Def): 6/9

Biggest Challenge: Talented quarterback James Bailey graduated so the offense is undergoing some changes to fit the style of the new signal caller. Also, even with a large group of starters returning developing depth has been a challenge this offseason.

Outlook: William Chrisman is coming off its best season in decades. Assistant coach Matt Perry took over after Scorpio Horn left to join the staff at Missouri Western. Perry has been a part of the program for a few years so the transition has been smooth. The Bears have one of the most talented players in the Metro in defensive lineman Daniel Carson along with eight other returning starters. With that type of experience coming back it could be another big year for the Bears.

Coach’s thoughts: “I’ve got a great group of players coming back and a really good coaching staff all pretty much intact from last year. The momentum we had from last year has just kind of rolled into another year. Nothing is really too new for the kids so that’s been awesome as far as like a new coaching staff. We didn’t have to reteach anything. They know the system and how we run things.”

2017 Schedule:
8/18 @ Oak Park
8/25 @ Ruskin
9/1 Truman
9/8 Grandview
9/15 @ Raytown South
9/22 @ Staley
9/29 North Kansas City
10/6 @ Fort Osage
10/13 Winnetonka