The Suburban White Conference has produced a state champion in Missouri Class 5 two of the last three years and another semifinalist in the middle year.
The league has been tough at the top for years with Fort Osage and Staley battling for the conference title the last few seasons. Staley has moved up to the Red division so there is opportunity for other teams to take a step up.
The league’s newest members have been in this group before as Belton moves up from the Blue and Raytown moves down from the Red.
The addition of the new teams combined with teams like William Chrisman and Fort Osage that are coming off very good seasons make this conference good again.
While that strength has been more at the top in the past this year it could be much deeper. North Kansas City and Oak Park return a lot of starters and Ruskin continues to improve even if the wins aren’t coming in bunches. This could be a year where every week there is a surprise winner in the Suburban White.
Here is a quick look at the teams in the Suburban White Conference.
Head Coach: Todd Vaughn, 6th season
2017 record (overall/conference): 7-5/3-2
Returning Starters (Off/Def): 6/6
Biggest Challenge: The Pirates move up to the Suburban White after spending the last few years in the Suburban Blue so there will be some new teams on the schedule this year. The first four weeks of the season could test Belton with games against Fort Osage and two games against Class 6 teams Lee’s Summit and Raymore-Peculiar.
Outlook: Belton has been a second half team the last few seasons. Once they got out of the Suburban Conference and into district play the quality of the program started to shine. There is a good group returning with a lot of those playing on the line. Seniors Mason Groffoy and Chance Simpson should anchor that group that will be counted on for stability on offense. Look for another solid season for the Pirates in 2018.
Coach’s thoughts: “I think we have some experience offensive line wise. That’s a comfort for a coach. We feel like we’ve got some really good skill kids that are coming back that played last year and we feel good about those kids. I really like some of the leadership we’ve seen from not just some of our seniors but other kids. We’ve challenged our kids to be better people and better leaders and we’ve seen some of that.”
8/31 @ Lees Summit
9/7 Fort Osage
9/14 @ Raymore-Peculiar
9/21 North Kansas City
9/28 @ Kearney
10/5 Oak Park
10/12 @ Raytown
10/19 @ William Chrisman
Head Coach: Brock Bult, 3rd season
2017 record (overall/conference): 9-3/4-1
Returning Starters (Off/Def): 7/7
Biggest Challenge: The Indians bounced back from a tough 2016 with only three losses advancing to the Class 5 quarterfinals where they lost to eventual champ Staley. This group has gone from inexperienced sophomores to good team on the hunted to now one of the hunted. Making that transition can be tough and how Fort Osage makes that transition could determine the outcome of the season.
Outlook: When you return a two-year starting quarterback in Ty Baker you are off to a pretty good start. Running back Brandon Gregory is also coming off a solid junior year as well. There is also good talent and depth on the defensive side especially in the defensive backfield. All the parts are there now the Inidans will see if they can make a run at their fourth state championship appearance in the last 10 years.
Coach’s thoughts: “I like the returning experience. We have a lot of kids that have played for two and three years now coming back. After that state championship run we were real young that following year and took some bumps early but that set us up for last year and hopefully that same happens this year after last year. Those kids are ready to go and they’ve had a great offseason.”
8/24 Raytown South
8/31 Lees Summit West
9/7 @ Belton
9/14 North Kansas City
9/21 @ Oak Park
9/28 Park Hill
10/5 @ Raytown
10/12 William Chrisman
10/19 @ Ruskin
North Kansas City
Head Coach: Leon Douglas, 8th season
2017 record (overall/conference): 3-7/1-4
Returning Starters (Off/Def): 9/8
Biggest Challenge: The Hornets return almost all of their starters on both sides of the ball. This group has lots of experience with some starting since they were freshmen. The talent is there. The experience is there. The next step is adding in the wins. Turning close games into victory is the next step in the process for North Kansas City.
Outlook: It’s one thing to bring back experience and it’s another to bring back depth. If there isn’t some talent and work ethic to go along with the experience then it is hard to take big steps forward. North Kansas City does have talent with 2,000 yard rusher CJ Price and defensive end Adetomiwa Adebawore leading the way. The Hornets have size and athleticism and have been playing together for the last three seasons. North Kansas City has the opportunity to rise up and be a part of the conversation in what could be a very crowded Missouri Class 5 in the Metro.
Coach’s thoughts: “We’ve got a very talented group, very deep as far as that class (seniors) goes. Great leadership. Great commitment throughout the summer. They understand the value of what’s ahead of them. We only had three wins last year but we definitely played some guys very tough and let some get away from us and I think this group has that taste in their mouth where let’s go out and maximize their potential.”
8/31 @ William Chrisman
9/14 @ Fort Osage
9/21 @ Belton
10/5 Columbia Hickman
10/12 @ Oak Park
Head Coach: Ken Clemens, 2nd season
2017 record (overall/conference): 2-8/2-3
Returning Starters (Off/Def): 8/7
Biggest Challenge: A lot of players return last season but it is a group that isn’t loaded with seniors. The Northmen will still be young and even with a year under their belt this group will need to continue the learning process if they are to improve.
Outlook: In a conference that features several teams that are senior heavy and loaded with talent Oak Park will be challenged every single week. The Northmen should be better with more players overall and more talent with experience. That improvement might be tough to see if wins are the only measurement. This team could be a year away from making a big splash.
Coach’s thoughts: “They work hard and practice hard every day. It’s a really coachable group of kids. We’ve got kind of a combination of a lot of returning starters but even with that a lot of them are juniors and sophomores. We are still looking at a fairly young but experienced team with some quality seniors in there too.”
8/24 Platte County
8/31 @ Raytown
9/7 @ William Chrisman
9/21 Fort Osage
9/28 @ Grandview
10/5 @ Belton
10/12 North Kansas City
10/19 Columbia Hickman
Head Coach: Logan Minnick, 2nd season
2017 record (overall/conference): 5-5/2-3
Returning Starters (Off/Def): 7/7
Biggest Challenge: It was a good summer for the Bluejays but consistent attendance was an issue. Several players were taking care of personal and classroom business and were unable to make that full commitment. Those responsibilities are now taken care of and Raytown is getting in sync heading into season.
Outlook: Raytown started the 2017 season 3-0 and it looked like the Bluejays would earn their first winning season in decades. An overtime loss at St. Joseph Central in week No. 8 kept Raytown from a sixth win. There is plenty of talent returning especially on the offense led by senior receiver Desmond Hutson and junior quarterback Joe Campbell. This team can score points and should do it again this year. If Raytown can tighten up the defense and finish as strong as it started last year this could be a breakthrough season for the Bluejays.
Coach’s thoughts: “We’ve got a really good group of kids back that are really hungry. We’ve got a ton of experience coming back. Our motto throughout all offseason and everything is just finishing everything we do. Whether that be in the weight room, sprints or in the classroom we are just really hammering home that “finish” theme.”
8/24 Blue Springs South
8/31 Oak Park
9/7 @ Raytown South
9/14 William Chrisman
9/21 @ Ruskin
9/28 @ Grain Valley
10/5 Fort Osage
10/19 @ North Kansas City
Head Coach: William Perkins, 4th season
2017 record (overall/conference): 1-10/0-5
Returning Starters (Off/Def): 4/4
Biggest Challenge: While the mountain is getting smaller, Ruskin still battles numbers and participation in the offseason. That being said things are getting better and the Eagles continue to make positive strides under Perkins. Before Perkins, Ruskin had four coaches in five years. What was the biggest issue for the program has now been a strength.
Outlook: Ruskin is coming off a one win season but that one win was in a key spot. The Eagles knocked off Raytown 20-14 in the first round of the district playoffs after losing 50-12 in the regular season matchup. The Eagles lost some talented seniors but there are good players still there. The offense will be led by running backs Lawrence Hudson and Rahjai Rivers. Fellow seniors Isaiah Murrell and Robert Vaughn will be key players on the defense. While some might thing a three-win season is a disappointment, If Ruskin could hit that mark it would be their best season in a decade.
Coach’s thoughts: “This group for me they seem to be truly committed to being there every day and working hard and to get better. This year I’ve noticed that even our seniors ask just more questions…In the past we’ve had really good kids but they haven’t at sometimes asked those questions of ‘hey how can I get better, how can I make sure this team is getting better so we can have our first winning season in years.’”
8/24 @ Belton
9/7 @ North Kansas City
9/14 @ Oak Park
9/28 Raytown South
10/5 @ William Chrisman
10/12 @ Grain Valley
10/19 Fort Osage
Head Coach: Matt Perry, 2nd season
2017 record (overall/conference): 7-4/3-2
Returning Starters (Off/Def): 8/4
Biggest Challenge: William Chrisman is looking for its third straight winning season and an even deeper run in the postseason. The last two years the Bears might have snuck up on some teams but that’s not happening anymore. With success comes a tougher schedule with both Blue Springs and Blue Springs South on the docket in 2018. Chrisman’s depth and talent will be tested in those games with two of the best programs in the state.
Outlook: A group of 20 seniors headline a team that has gone from surprise to back to back winning seasons. Throw in another above .500 run and next year’s seniors will never have known a losing season. There is talent on the offensive side with returning lineman Taylor Perry, David Toese and Jadyn Williams. Those three will pave the way for an offense with a lot of weapons led by quarterback Dawson Herl and receiver Trevaugh Sisco. If Chrisman can stay healthy in the games with the Class 6 schools it could be another good season for the Bears.
Coach’s thoughts: “The big thing is the work that these kids are willing to put in has changed. They show up. They get to work. They put the time in the weight room. They come to the practices and they do the things that all of the good programs are starting to do. We are a little bit lacking in the stick to itness a little bit with our younger kids but its coming.”
8/24 @ Blue Springs
8/31 North Kansas City
9/7 Oak Park
9/14 @ Raytown
9/28 @ Blue Springs South
10/12 @ Fort Osage