In the newspaper biz a “notes column” is typically despised by the sports editor and generally loved by the readers. The editor sees it as the columnist taking the day off from writing a well-crafted, thought-provoking column and instead offering a few random thoughts in nugget form. The readers on the other hand see the bulleted format of a notes column as an inviting menu of items to quickly digest or avoid, depending on how palatable the topic.
My Hall Monitor column for KC Prep Report is going to be a notes column that I hope both editors and readers enjoy. I may stray from this format on occasion both here and online at kcprepreport.com, including resurrecting my familiar Off the Couch column format. Thanks for reading.
- Whatever happened to Carlos and Khalil Davis, the All-State football and track-star twin brothers from Blue Springs High School, who signed with Nebraska in 2015? After NU fired Bo Pelini, the Twin Terrors publicly reopened their recruitment before the Huskers’ new head coach in 2015, Mike Riley, was able to sweet talk them into heading to Lincoln. The two defensive linemen are redshirt sophomores this fall and both looked poised to make a difference in the Big Ten. “If you’re searching for a potential break-out star on defense for the Huskers this season, look no further than Carlos Davis, who showed flashes of his potential a year ago as a redshirt freshman. With the move to defensive end, Davis will now be going against offensive tackles who likely aren’t used to facing a 300-pound defensive lineman with the quickness to beat them off the ball in the way Davis can,” reported Michael Bruntz on Nebraska.247sports.com. Brother Khalil, who won the 2016 Huskers Power Athlete of the Year award, has been moving between nose tackle and defensive end and he too looks poised for a breakout season according to this quote from another Bruntz column: “We're all ready to go show what we can do. There's a lot of different talents, and a lot of different speeds, and different things we can do. It's going to be pretty scary to see.” Keep an eye on the Huskers D this season to see if these two former Blue Springs Wildcats can help slow down those Big Ten offenses.
Winnetonka High School, which has always played their home games at other NKC schools’ campuses, has announced that their September 29th homecoming game versus Grandview will take place on their campus for the first time in the school’s history. “This Winnetonka team will be the first that I know who will be able to play their homecoming game here at home at Winnetonka,” Head Coach Jared Barge, told his Winnetonka team in a Twitter video clip at @tonkafootball. “The administration is bringing in big booths for the coaches and stands are going to be everywhere. It’s going to be a blast! You guys are the first team to have a chance to defend your own turf! The same turf where we sweat and bleed every day. I’m jazzed about it!” Homecoming Pics below:
I got a chance to get to know one of my idols last month, Van Rose, the legendary cross-country coach at Shawnee Mission Northwest, while working on my Molly Born story in this issue. Rose is in his 49thseason as SMNW’s head coach and his Cougars have won 34 state championships and was chosen as the first inductee into SMNW’s Athletic Hall of Fame last February. Now in his 70s, Rose runs daily and can still kick his leg up over his head as he demonstrates stretching techniques to his 2017 squad. Men and women like Rose who dedicate their lives to helping kids become great students, great athletes and great citizens are the heart of what makes this a great country.
I have been to quite a few Kansas City-area high school football venues over the years but I am embarrassed to say I had not visited Lee’s Summit West’s Titan Stadium until last month. I can assure you I will be back! What a tremendous atmosphere for a high-school football game. The stadium is cozy-sized, just behind the school on SW Ward Road. The band, students and fans are a respectful crazy loud. A woman taking tickets spotted my media creds and my camera and quickly escorted me through the gate and onto the field – all with a smile. The PA voice enthusiastically compliments outstanding plays by both teams. Their halftime show includes a fireworks display that would play well at The K. Even the opposing student section joined in to sing Sweet Caroline with the home crowd in the second half! When I mentioned how impressed I was with the game-day atmosphere to the Titans head coach, Vinny Careswell, his face broke into a huge grin – and this was after his team had just suffered their first loss of the season. “It’s a pretty fun place to play football, isn’t it?” he beamed. “We take a lot of pride in making this a special Friday night experience for the kids and fans.”
Rockhurst’s Tony Severino never shies away from a tough opponent. It is but one of many attributes I admire about one of this city’s best coaches – at any level. The Hawkletsare not members of a conference so each year Coach Sev hustles to find the best competition for his football team. Rockhurst has agreed to play two of the best programs on the Kansas side of the state line next season in Blue Valley and Bishop Miege. How fun would it be if Kansas City-area high schools agreed to dedicate the second weekend of each season to playing cross-state high schools? SME vs Blue Springs? Aquinas vs Rockhurst? Liberty North vs Olathe North? Staley vs Basehor-Linwood? LSW vs Olathe West? How do we make this happen in 2020?
One of my favorite quotes of the early season was made by a high school football coach at a preseason practice. As his defensive linemen took turns hammering away at the blocking sled, he colorfully explained the proper technique for this drill. “Thrust those hips forward like you’re peeing for distance,” the coach bellowed. The best teachers know how to succinctly (and memorably) communicate the answers to our problems.