Preseason Interscholastic League favorite Kansas City Central went into its Week 1 contest against Hogan Prep looking to make a statement.
The Blue Eagles wanted to show pundits they could compete outside of the league after a 3-1 second-place finish in the IL last year. They were 0-6 in other contests.
Central head coach Allen Supplee’s best-laid plan was to jumpstart the 2017 season with a win over a Hogan Prep team that handled them 42-24 a year ago.
In a game that was postponed from Friday night to Saturday morning, the Blue Eagles came up short 28-22.
“We were ready to go Friday night,” Supplee said. “The thing I saw was a year ago these kids’ head would hang if something went wrong. Not against Hogan. Our kids fought to the end.”
The postponement came after former Hogan Prep standout Roosevelt Cooper was shot and killed last Thursday in Kansas City.
“My heart goes out to Hogan Prep,” Supplee said this week.
Football-wise, the one-day delay was a test for a program that has about 64 players from freshmen to seniors. The Blue Eagles had less than 40 players last year.
With 8 all-league performers returning, Supplee spoke highly of 17 juniors and seniors and their leadership heading into the game.
Despite missed opportunities and some mistakes, that leadership was on display against Hogan Prep, Supplee said.
“We should have beaten them by three touchdowns,” he said. “We kind of shot ourselves in the foot but we have a (great) squad this year. We’re looking to do great things. We just came out of the gate on the wrong foot.”
The Blue Eagles are scheduled to play their first game on their new on-campus turf field Sept. 16.
Coupled with a new weight room that Supplee had a heavy hand in developing, and other facility upgrades, the Blue Eagles are poised to press defending league champion Lincoln Prep for the 2017 crown.
“We had a great offseason with some of our core guys,” Supplee said, adding most of them spent the summer in organized weight training for the first time. “We’re poised to do some big things this year.”
KC Central is not the only IL team looking to rebound from a Week 1 loss. Each team in the five-member league came up empty to start the season.
Lincoln Prep lost 36-26 to West Platte. The Blue Tigers host Plattsburg Friday at IL Stadium.
East, just two seasons removed from a league championship, will try to rebound after a 46-6 loss at Center. The Bears will host KC Central to open league play Saturday on the new field at Northeast High.
Northeast, coming off a 38-0 loss at Forsyth, will be on the road Friday at Richmond.
Southeast, on the wrong end of a 46-20 loss against Van Horn, takes on Jefferson City Helias Saturday at IL Stadium.