Now that the solar eclipse is behind us, we can look forward to what’s really important: Football returning to Kansas on Sept. 1.
With any preseason come predictions and hot takes and I’m serving up some of the hottest takes on this side of the state line in this column.
Last season we saw Shawnee Mission North graduate quarterback Will Schneider finish his career with 8,901 passing yards, breaking a record that stood for a decade.
Schneider’s record won’t hold up for a year. Bishop Miege senior quarterback Carter Putz will break the record and he’ll do it playing one less season of varsity football than Schneider.
Last November, Schneider told me he’d congratulate the record breaker and say, “’Hell of a job, kid.’ It takes time; it took me four years. Some kids can do it in three. I would just be like, ‘Great job, man,’ because what else is there to say?”
I hope Schneider has Putz’s phone on speed dial because Putz, who currently has thrown for 6,492 yards, is on pace to break the record by Week 10. Putz already holds the record for most touchdown passes in a season with 50, and he only needs seven to surpass Shannon Kruger’s (Silver Lake, 1994-97) career record of 92. Putz, who averaged 3.8 touchdowns a game last year, will have this record by Week 3.
After Mill Valley captured its first state title in 2015, I didn’t think the Jaguars would repeat in 2016. I was wrong and I won’t bet against Joel Applebee again as long as they have “defending champ” in front of their name. The back-to-back champs are my pick to win it all in 2017, but, and this is a big but, St. Thomas Aquinas will be the biggest challenger.
Another year of Brody Flaming throwing to Evan Rice will help Mill Valley turn this repeat into a threepeat.
Not so bold prediction in Class 6A: Blue Valley and Shawnee Mission East will face off in the semis for a chance to play Derby.
But you didn’t come here for the cold takes or the lukewarm takes, you came here for the dog days of summer takes. The most-improve team this year, in Class 6A, will be Olathe South.
Last season, there wasn’t a single Olathe school that finished above .500, but the Falcons played some of their best ball late in the season. They won three of their last four games as they closed their season with a loss to Blue Valley, but not before playing them close for all 48 minutes.
I like the Falcons to go 6-3 this regular season and make a deep run in the playoffs.
See you all on the gridiron!