Most teams have played five games so far this season and we are heading into the home stretch of the season. I wanted to go through some of the range of emotion this season.
Surprise: I think there was a good amount of optimism at Tonganoxie but the expectations were not this high. The Chieftains are sitting at the top of the KVL standings and starring at a title in the leagues final season. This team is filled with experienced leaders that are really posting some good numbers this year. Starting the the QB Mason Beach who only 44 of 90 but 677 yards, 10 TD’s and only 4 INT’s. His numbers have tailed off from a yardage perspective the last three games but he has 7 TD’s to just 1 INT in all those league wins. Dalton Bock went off Friday against Lansing posting 267 and 2 TD’s. He now has 627 yards to go along with Korbin Riedel’s 513. The possibility of two backs going over 1k would certainly be impressive and a good accomplishment to this offensive line. LeeRoi Johnson has 6 sacks and has been doing a whole lot of everything for this team.
Anger: I am really disappointed by having teams with open dates. I hope it is just a two-year cycle but Wyandotte and Sumner have some problems being so far east on the Kansas map. Washington went the other extreme playing Maize South and Silver Lake. Football is a lot different from basketball because of AAU and the amount of tournaments and games kids get to play. I guess football is heading in this direction as well with 7 on 7 competitions. Maybe more trips across the state line are in order but hopefully this gets fixed heading into next year.
Laugh: It is always good to find a way to laugh in everything that you do. Life is so short as we learned this week with the tragedy in Las Vegas. I have to laugh because I sat just last year marveling at the rushing totals from last year. Neil Ruff, Cameron Young, and JJ Letcher posted some incredible rushing totals last year to be at the top of the SHUKC all-time rushing list and I thought I wouldn’t see these types of performances again. What Ivan Webb and the Schlagle offensive line are doing this year just makes me laugh. I was guilty of it again last week after Webb posted 378 yards and 7 TD’s. “No way that he can do more than that,” is what I thought. Well how about 411 yards and 4 TD’s this past week against Wyandotte, 310 of those yards in the second half.
Hate: Haters are the fuel. It is amazing the culture we are in today that we are fueled so strongly by negativity. Thus, the life of a KCAL football player achieving the highest goals. 148 carries, 1645 yards and 19 TD’s in 5 games with no clear signs of slowing down. The question would be if there is anything that this young man could do to be considered the best player in the metro? At this point we will have to wonder if he is going to get to 3000 yards let alone 2000 but the demon or the hater in this scenario is their strength of schedule. Central (MO) will likely be the strongest opponent for Schlagle on his path to history and they only have 2 wins. The competition in the KCAL has been this way for the six years I have followed and the two before that when I was just watching. He is posting an unprecedented season from my estimation and I am starting Ivan Webb’s Simone campaign now.
Love: I have to show some love the Bonner Springs Braves who strolled into Basehor-Linwood and knocked off the undefeated Bobcats. It was a solid win a week after getting manhandled by Tonganoxie. What I noticed though is that despite that loss to the Chieftains the Braves still came out with a ton of energy and were engaged. I love the culture and that energy being put into the program by Coach Eaddy. Noah Villarreal ran 11 times for 135 yards and a TD in the second half to help the Braves pull away. Jamison Jackson had a big game on offense and defense as well. The Bobcats still control their own destiny but we will now see how they respond to their first regular season loss in a long time.
Cry: Bishop Ward is 0-6 and have been outscored 348 to 24 this season. The new league setup next year should even the playing field only from an enrollment stand point. I have said to a few people that Ward pulled baseball players there to play for Coach Hurla. Those athletes like Cole Henley and Bryan Barnhart were the backbone of any resemblance of a competitive football team. I don’t have a clear line of sight on this team becoming competitive in football again.
Smile: Last but not least it puts a smile on my face when teams that struggle to get wins still have players that fight their tail off every week. The bright spot for me is Keyshawn King of Washington. He has 21 receptions for 414 yards and 4 TD’s. He runs good quality routes and has some speed if you look at his film. He had a fumble recovery last week to help keep them in the game against Atchison to go along with 9 receptions and 119 yards. I will be keeping an eye on this young man the rest of the way despite the Wildcats record.
David Brox covers the KCAL and Kaw Valley League and runs Sports Highlights Unlimited Kansas City. You can see all of his work at www.shukc.com.