Head Coach: Bryan DeLong, 7th season
2014 record (overall/conference): 8-3/4-2
Returning Starters (Off/Def): 4/6
Biggest Challenge: This season depth of players is an issue for Center. As the team gets ready for the season that lack of depth makes the coaches walk a fine line between getting enough reps and keeping players healthy enough to play. The Yellowjackets have talent keeping it healthy will be key.
Outlook: Center has become one of the more consistent programs in the West Central and the Metro the last few seasons. The Yellowjackets have a winning tradition that could be tested this year if the team can’t stay healthy. Center plays with a very physical style and if they can continue that without getting to banged up along the way it could be another successful season for the Yellowjackets.
Coach’s thoughts: “We have some good hard working kids that have been there all summer getting better at all the things it takes to be a good football player. I’m just excited to see these kids come out and lead us to where we are going to go this year.”
8/21 @ University Academy
8/28 @ Nevada
9/4 @ Pembroke Hill
9/11 Lincoln College Prep
9/18 St. Pius X
9/25 @ Clinton
10/9 @ O’Hara
10/16 Sedalia Smith-Cotton
Head Coach: Bill Lowe, 1st season
2014 record (overall/conference): 1-9/1-5
Returning Starters (Off/Def): 5/5
Biggest Challenge: Wins have been hard to come by for Clinton the last few years. Bill Lowe comes over from Blue Valley Southwest with an almost entirely new staff of coaches to help him. Lowe started the program at Southwest and had them in the postseason in their second year. While that was a brand new program the challenge of building a winning culture is similar. It’s a fresh start for everyone and the Cardinals will try to turn build confidence and turn around the program.
Outlook: Everything is new for Clinton as players are learning right along with the coaches. It’s a tough hill to climb in the West Central and in Missouri Class 3 but Lowe has done a build from the ground up so he should bring some of those lessons with him. The Cardinals are not that far removed from some winning seasons so once the taste of success comes back it could be a turnaround for Clinton.
Coach’s thoughts: “I like our enthusiasm right now. The kids are really excited about the season. Right before that first game everybody is undefeated right now. They are enthused and they are doing what we ask of them. We are really looking forward to getting against other schools and seeing what we can do.”
8/21 @ Warsaw
9/11 @ St. Pius X
10/2 @ Sedalia Smith-Cotton
10/16 @ Nevada
Head Coach: Eric Yoakam, 3rd season
2014 record (overall/conference): 2-8/1-5
Returning Starters (Off/Def): 6/8
Biggest Challenge: The Tigers bring back a good group of talented players but now the next step is to become leaders. The team did lots of team building in the offseason and now the task is to carry that over to the football field on Friday nights.
Outlook: Nevada has a year under its belt in the West Central so the surprises should be gone. This year have a solid knowledge of all of their opponents could help with the overall confidence of the team and coaches. If that confidence can marry with the talent the Tigers could fight their way to a winning season in 2015.
Coach’s thoughts: “We have a good mix of different styles of players and I think they will all work together. We are a little bit smaller up front than we were last year but we are definitely a lot quicker. In our offensive scheme having some smaller quicker linemen can be to your advantage.”
8/21 @ Willard
9/4 @ St. Pius X
9/11 @ O’Hara
9/18 Sedalia Smith-Cotton
9/25 @ Seneca
10/9 @ Warrensburg
Head Coach: Jim DeMarea, 21st season
2014 record (overall/conference): 10-2/5-1
Returning Starters (Off/Def): 5/5
Biggest Challenge: Last year O’Hara was one of the more athletic and explosive teams in the West central. The Celtics have that talent at the skill positions again but the line is undersized. Both sides of the ball lack size up front and that will be something the Celtics will need to overcome when they face bigger opponents.
Outlook: O’Hara may not have the numbers of other programs but the Celtics are always a strong team. This year the offense again has playmakers but they may need to make a lot of plays with an undersized line. There were some graduation losses that hurt but look for the Celtics to be competitive all season long.
Coach’s thoughts: “We have a lot of talent with playmakers. We lost a lot last year but we have a lot of kids coming back to fill those spots. We are trying to fill the offensive and defensive line and that’s who gives these guys the opportunities to make these plays.”
8/27 Oak Grove
9/4 @ Clinton
9/18 @ Kansas City Central
9/25 @ Sedalia Smith-Cotton
10/2 @ St. Pius X
Head Coach: Ryan Boyer, 2nd season
2014 record (overall/conference): 7-4/4-2
Returning Starters (Off/Def): 8/8
Biggest Challenge: The Tigers moved into a new stadium last fall and this will be the first year they play all of their home games at the new facility. A new building can bring a lot of pride and expectations but Smith-Cotton will need to not get caught up in where they play and focus on how they play to be successful.
Outlook: Smith-Cotton got back on the winning track last season and brings back a lot of starters off that team. The Tigers should be near the top of the conference this season and could be the team that comes out on top if they can find the consistency week in and week out. This could be a really good season for Smith-Cotton.
Coach’s thoughts: “We are excited from top to bottom but we are especially excited about our senior leadership that we have in place. We have a large senior class and they’ve done a great job of stepping up and doing everything that’s been asked of them. They’re doing it right for us on and off the field and they really help out with our younger guys and just leading by example. Almost every single one of them has quite a bit of varsity experience.”
8/28 @ Marshall
9/4 @ Warrensburg
9/11 Pleasant Hill
9/18 @ Nevada
10/9 St. Pius X
10/16 @ Center
St. Pius X
Head Coach: Rick Byers, 21st season
2014 record (overall/conference): 7-6/4-2
Returning Starters (Off/Def): 5/6
Biggest Challenge: The Warriors bring back a small senior class of just seven players. That group does a good job of leading there just aren’t that many of them. The youth of the team is a strength, but it lacks experience. A lot of the younger players are on the line. They have good size but don’t have the experience of playing a varsity schedule week after week.
Outlook: Pius is a consistent program and is always near the top of the West Central. This could be a good year for the Warriors if their size up front matures quickly. Pius has a tough early schedule and that has led to slow starts over the last few years. If they can navigate through the early part with a few more wins it could put them in a good position when the post season rolls around.
8/21 @ Odessa
9/18 @ Center
9/25 @ Warrensburg
10/9 @ Sedalia Smith-Cotton
10/16 @ Pembroke Hill
Head Coach: Scott Grinde, 6th season
2014 record (overall/conference): 3-7/2-4
Returning Starters (Off/Def): 7/5
Biggest Challenge: Warrensburg has been a very young team for a long time and now that youth are juniors and seniors. The program took a step forward last season and now it is looking for more progress. The Tigers now face the challenge of being a year better not just a year older.
Outlook: Many players in this senior class have been playing major varsity minutes since they were freshmen. They are joined by another strong class of juniors and the upperclassmen will be key to the Tigers success. Warrensburg is ready to go from competitive to winner and if they can make that jump it could be a good season for the Tigers.
Coach’s thoughts: “I really like our senior leadership. I think we will reap the fruits of our labor with a bunch of young kids that have had to play a lot in the past and are now going to be older. As I told our team the other day we are not only a year older we are a year better. I’ve been very pleased with the work ethic in the offseason and I think we’ve got a chance to be very successful this year.”
8/21 Excelsior Springs
8/28 @ Pleasant Hill
9/4 Sedalia Smith-Cotton
9/11 Oak Grove
9/18 @ Clinton
9/25 St. Pius X
10/2 @ Center
10/16 @ O’Hara