Harrisonville among area's elite in 2010
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
The 2010 season was just another ho hum affair for Harrisonville. All the Wildcats did was run off another long winning streak, win their district, beat the defending Class 4 champions in the playoffs and give the eventual Class 4 champs their toughest game of the season.
It was just another year of outstanding football for Harrisonville. For the ninth straight season Harrisonville was in the playoffs and won a game.
This past year the Wildcats lost their opening game to Jefferson City Helias then ran off 12 straight victories before falling 35-8 to eventual Class 4 champion Webb City in a game that was much closer than the score showed.
Head coach Chuck Lliteras made it to the quarterfinals his first two years with Harrisonville and this past year the Wildcats took one more step beating undefeated defending Class 4 champ Kearney on the Bulldogs home field in the quarterfinals.
“I think without a doubt, defeating Kearney and moving on to the next round to face Webb City was our biggest achievement,” Lliteras said. “Two of the best teams in Class 4 and we felt very honored to be able to play them both.”
The Wildcats hung their hat on defense all season. After the opening game loss to Helias, Harrisonville didn’t allow any regular season opponent to score more than nine points in eight games. Only Grandview scored in double digits as the Wildcats earned a 34-26 win in the first week of district play.
Harrisonville kept getting better each week. Its offense got off to a bit of a slow start put was up respectable numbers heading into the playoffs.
“Consistency on offense and the turnover margin was our biggest improvement from week one to 14,” Lliteras said.
After sweeping through a deep district that included Missouri River Valley West Conference foe Grain Valley along with a talented Grandview team and an improved Center squad, Harrisonville was primed for a long run in the post season.
The Wildcats opened the Class 4 playoffs with home wins over Moberly and Hannibal and then traveled to Kearney for the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs matched Harrisonville’s 12-game winning streak with a 21-game streak that dated back to the 2009 season when they won the Class 4 title.
Harrisonville answered the challenge and kept Kearney from getting the turnovers it had thrived on all season long as the Wildcats gutted out a tough 21-14 win. The season would end the next week as Webb City came to Harrisonville and continued its march to the Class 4 title with a 35-8 semifinal win.
The Wildcats should be a strong team again in 2011 but they will have to replace 22 seniors, 11 of which saw starting time on both sides of the ball.
Lliteras said it will be tough to replace that experience but his team is working hard in the offseason.
“We will need to replace some key individuals on both offense and defense,” Lliteras said. I think being able to consistently handle the pressure of big games and play well will be a big key for us in 2011.
“Most of our players are multiple sport athletes which is good, having said that we always concentrate on improving strength, power and speed in our winter conditioning program.”
For a copy of the 2010 Harrisonville roster click here.
For a copy of the 2010 Harrisonville statistics click here.
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