From here on out there isn’t a weekend that won’t go by without meaningful football until February and it’s a glorious feeling.
As always, it wouldn’t be a Mike Lavieri opening season column without the absurdity of Missouri starting its season before Kansas, but I will commend KSHSAA for approving the Jamboree.
At the April Board of Directors meeting, the board of directors voted in favor of the proposal 62-3, which allows three or four KSHSAA-member schools to come together for an optional preseason scrimmage.
According to KSHSAA, “a member school team must have completed 10 days of practice, prior to the preseason jamboree date” to be able to participate and “each individual player must participate in at least (9) nine days of practice before that individual is permitted to participate in the preseason jamboree.”
It’s a great opportunity for teams to “hit somebody else” other than their own teammates. Teams will be limited to 36 offensive plays for a jamboree date. As KSHSAA lays out, for example, a Jamboree of four teams would allow a team to run 12 offensive plays against each of the other three teams.
I can’t think of a better jamboree in the metro than the Bishop Miege-Mill Valley-Olathe West-Shawnee Mission East one taking place on Friday.
Each of these teams will contend for a state title at their respective class levels and that will make it a heckuva a lot of fun to watch if you’re a fan.
Speaking of state titles, I think it’ll be Miege once again in 4A. Until somebody dethrones the Stags, they’ll continue to be my pick year in and year out.
In 5A, I love what TJ O’Neill did in his first year at Olathe West, taking the Owls to the semi finals before losing to eventual champ St. Thomas Aquinas. Do I think they’ll win the title, no, but I think they’re a dark horse as they are still young. I think De Soto takes another step in the right direction and you can never count out Joel Applebee’s Mill Valley Jaguars. However, I’m taking Aquinas to repeat.
Does Derby make it three in a row in 6A? It’s very possible, but I think this class is wide open just like 5A.
If you gave me the field of Free State, Olathe North and Shawnee Mission East or Derby, I’d take the field. I think East takes a huge step forward in its second season with Justin Hoover at the helm. Given the circumstances from last season, I think he handled it perfectly.
While the loss of Daymonn Sanchez will be a tough one for Olathe North, quarterback Arland Bruce IV returns for his junior year. He was electric through the air and on the ground and I assume we’ll see the same in 2019.
As for Free State, the Firebirds enter a new era with Kevin Stewart taking over for Bob Lisher, who had been the coach since the school opened in 1997. Stewart has big shoes to fill, but the word out of Lawrence is they’re loaded again with talent.
With all that said, I’m taking the Lancers to come out of the East part of the bracket to try and topple Derby.
Can’t wait to see you all out on the sideline this season.