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Third and long: Ryan Edwards 1/24Photo Credit: Ryan Edwards

Before I get started, I want to thank the coaches, players and athletic directors I interacted with all season.

You made my job fun and I truly appreciate how hopefully you were throughout the season.

Any time I needed a quote or stats for a story, you never once asked me what it was for, and I thank you for that.

When I moved back to Kansas City, I didn’t know what to expect when it came to high school football in the states of Missouri and Kansas.

You see, I wasn’t used to seeing the speed and athleticism that both states have to offer.

However, that all changed this season.

I saw talent, and I saw good games, too.

I’ll start by saying this: Lincoln Prep is loaded and should be in the thick of things in Class 4.

The Blue Tigers have two legit Power 5 players. Capable that with a good coaching staff and tough schedule, Lincoln Prep will be good.

This past season was the coming out party for the Blue Tigers. They finished the regular season 9-0 and made it all the way to the quarterfinals, where they were upended by Platte Co.

Lincoln Prep wasn’t the only impressive team I saw this season — the Odessa Bulldogs capped off its perfect season with a Class 3 title.

The Bulldogs dominated all season. When I saw them play Savannah in the quarterfinals, I knew immediately they’d have a good chance of winning state.

Why?

Coaching and execution on both sides of the ball.

Legendary Odessa coach Mark Thomas was able to turn a once proud program around with a senior class that made an impact right away as freshmen.

Though the results didn’t show right away, each year Thomas and the Bulldogs inched closer and closer to the ultimate prize — and they did so this year — by winning a state championship.

I’ll wrap this up with Rockhurst hiring Kelly Donohoe.

Donohoe is considered one of the best coaches in the state of Missouri. And for the longest time Rockhurst has been the best in the Metro.

When I heard he was hired to replace the legendary Tony Severino, I couldn’t help but think this the high school version of Nick Saban leaving LSU for Alabama … The difference is Saban, of course, spent one year in the NFL before he restored Bama back to national glory.

I suspect it won’t take Donohoe long and I suspect he’ll have the Hawklets back on top in no time.