Back to all Experts
Photo Credit: Ryan Edwards

Friday’s game between St. Thomas Aquinas and Raytown was one of those rare games where the Suburban Conference and Eastern Kansas League played head-to-head against each other.

And it got me thinking.

How hard is it to prepare for a team you don't play on a regular basis?

That question was answered on Friday. The Bluejays didn’t seem to be intimidated by the Kansas 5A powerhouse.

In fact, the Bluejays came out and matched the physicality of Aquinas and showed that they could hang with the big boys from the EKL.

Even Aquinas coach Randy Dreiling admitted after the game that he couldn’t gage just how good Raytown was --- especially on film.

“We have nothing to compare it to,” Dreiling said after his team defeated Raytown, 28-14 on Friday. “With their size and speed … we (had to be) ready for anything. Until you get into the game and figure where this thing is ... you just don’t know.”

Not only were the Saints dealing with an unfamiliar opponent, they were also missing their star running back.

The injury to Young late in the Aquinas’ 41-35 win over Bishop Miege on Sept. 18 limited what Dreiling’s offense could do --- especially when Young runs the ball so well outside of the tackles.

Coming into the game against Raytown, the Saints offense was averaging 389 yards per game on the ground on 61 carries with Young in the lineup.

Young’s absence was felt.

Against the Bluejays, those numbers went down drastically, finishing the game with 220 yards rushing on 49 attempts.

“Anytime Tank’s not in we have to call a different game,” said Dreiling, whose team was limited to just 4.5 yards per carry.

Dreiling, who’s in his sixth season as Aquinas’ coach, said Raytown presented his team a lot of issues early in the game.

That was evident on Raytown’s first series of the game.

Trailing 7-0, the Bluejays offense struck quick and fast. The new look offense seemed to have its way against a stout Saints defense, but as good teams usually do, Dreiling and his defensive staff made the necessary adjustments and were able to come away with the win.

“They were taking it to us a little bit (early in the game),” he said. “I think our defense did a great job. … That’s not a bad team (over there).”

NOTE: This goes without saying. … I have seen a lot of good football throughout the last year since I’ve moved back from central Nebraska, but, and I know this is a stretch, I would really like to see the EKL and Sunflower League free up the last weekend of August.


Because I want to see more matchups between the EKL, Suburban and Sunflower Leagues. Not only do I think they’d be ultra-competitive games, but the amount of talent and the number of legendary programs in the area would make it must see football in metropolitan area for years to come.

Again, I know that’s wishful thinking on my part.