Earlier this year, Julius Foster was introduced as the new coach at Southeast. In a sport where coaching turnover is inevitable, the change wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
But at Southeast, Foster became the fourth head coach in less than four seasons. It is impossible to build any foundation of success with that amount of turnover.
Fortunately for the Knights, Foster came from a winning pedigree, having served as an assistant at Lincoln Prep. He saw firsthand how to build a successful program from the ground up.
Southeast, 3-4 overall on the season, was 1-9 one year ago. Progress is a process, and no one knows that better than the first-year head coach.
“We still have work to do,” Foster told PrepsKC this week.
The Blue Tigers were originally on the Knights’ schedule. A first-place showdown would have been the perfect script to culminate a 2020 regular season interrupted by a global pandemic.
But a COVID-19 related quarantine caused Southeast to shut down for two weeks and games against Summit Christian Academy and Lincoln Prep were removed from the schedule.
“That would have been a good team to test ourselves against,” Foster said of Lincoln.
Instead, the Knights will host Northeast on Saturday in hopes of claiming an Interscholastic League title, a feat last accomplished in 2017, when the Knights split the crown with Lincoln Prep and Kansas City Central.
Southeast and Lincoln Prep, 5-2, are both 2-0 in league play. The Blue Tigers were scheduled to play Shawnee Mission South in Week 9 and have completed IL competition.
Northeast, the Knights’ opponent, are winless on the year. The Vikings’ 0-6 mark includes two IL setbacks.
Southeast is led by wide receiver Dremel Jackson, who has 23 catches, 403 receiving yards, and seven touchdowns on the season. Marteze Hall has led the Knights’ ground game with 49 carries, 408 rushing yards and four scores.
Rayford Parks has contributed 28 catches, 497 receiving yards and five TDs, while quarterback Devohn Dudley has completed 45 out of 91 pass attempts for 855 yards and nine touchdowns.
“The kids are buying into the system,” Foster said. “It’s hard when there has been so much change. But setting expectations and meeting them has been key.”