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These girls are winners

Posted: December 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

By Brad Hallier
hallier23@yahoo.com

Last February, I was sitting at Bogey’s with my family and many players from the Hutchinson Middle School eighth-grade girls basketball team.

The season was nearly complete, and me and a couple other parents figured the girls needed some ice cream. What better place than Bogey’s, right?

As we sat there, I made a proclamation to my daughter Josie – one of the starting guards – and her teammates who were there.

“You guys will win at least four games next year.”

I got looks. They ranged from amusement (Oh Brad, that’s so nice of you to say!) to disdain (Brad, you surely can’t be this stupid!).

You see, the core of that HMS-8 ‘A’ team lost almost every game it played in middle school. Josie, Elyse Howard and Morgan Meier were two-year starters in middle school. Colleen Page joined in eighth grade (and probably wondered, ‘What the hell am I doing out here with this group?’), and Triana Harris spent time both years playing for both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams.

Josie, Elyse and Morgan played 28 middle school basketball games. They walked off the floor victorious once. That came in December of 2015, an early-season, seventh-grade, 18-9 win against a Derby team that supposedly had many girls suspended.

But the girls had their moments before that game. They were close with Goddard-Eisenhower well into the second half. They were within five points in the final minute against Valley Center. But they never won again, and frankly, weren’t really close. Many games ended with a fourth-quarter running clock. They lost 56-2 at McPherson (on Josie’s birthday, no less). They competed a couple more times, against Newton and Goddard namely. But they ended the regular season nearly getting shut out against a trash-talking Andover Central team, and then got smoked in the league tournament against Newton.

I saw tears a few times from some players. It’s hard losing all the time. It’s harder getting punked and embarrassed repeatedly.

For whatever reason, that class was a black hole when it came to girls basketball. Only Josie and Elyse played MAYB, and even Josie didn’t start that until fourth grade. But God bless those girls. They did the best they could.

As eighth graders, you could see progress. Many girls now had experience, and Colleen’s height, long arms and athleticism helped the team in the paint. But even she was pretty raw. And despite marked improvement, and having second-half leads against Newton, Goddard, Maize and Valley Center, the girls didn’t win a game. They went 0-14.

All told, the core lost its last 24 middle-school basketball games.

It’s hard enough going into every game knowing you’re probably going to lose. It’s disheartening when you play well early on and have a double-digit lead, but end up losing by double digits. It’s hard playing McPherson in your home gym and getting smoked in front of all your friends, your boyfriend, your family and your classmates. It’s hard when you’re playing against friends on opposing teams, and you drop your head in shame in the postgame handshake line.

But here’s what makes it more difficult. The girls couldn’t even walk the hallways at school without getting taunts, wisecracks and insults.

That’s right. Josie would sometimes come home upset because her own classmates – including a few from the boys basketball team – would mock her in the hallways and in class.

If you can’t at least get support from people in your own school, what do you have left? At least there was people like seventh-grade coach Melissa Evans and eighth-grade coach Aaron Deitchler, who didn’t quit on the girls and improved every single one of them.

Still, what fun are sports when you’re not winning? Like, at all? You can’t win them all, obviously, but who wants to go out and get their teeth kicked in game after game, year after year, and be subjected to taunts and insults?

Here’s a short list of things that might be considered as much fun as going 1-27 in middle-school basketball.

  1. Wisdom teeth extraction.
  2. Appendectomy.
  3. The NASA Channel.
  4. Listening to Lloyd Christmas’ “most annoying sound in the world for 10 hours.
  5. Swimming with a pair of cement shoes on.

But I honestly thought if those girls stuck with it, things might change when they got to high school. Josie and Elyse proved to be a solid backcourt, Morgan made the most improvement of anyone, and a year of experience was going to be huge for Colleen.

While the freshman girls basketball team struggled to get players – coach Robert Nixon had to do some recruiting to fill out a 10-player roster – I was eager to see the season opener Tuesday evening in Arkansas City. I had a good feeling about this one.

The game was a struggle in the first half . Elyse had all the points through the midway part of the second quarter, Morgan was in foul trouble and Josie had first-game nerves. But Colleen was swatting shots like Dikembe Mutombo, and the Salthawks were getting plenty of shot attempts.

Arkansas City had one post player who was good. She wasn’t even listed on the freshman roster, but rather the JV and varsity rosters. But the Salthawks were competing. Colleen was holding her own, and Josie’s 3-pointer gave the Salthawks a 10-8 halftime lead.

Confidence built. Colleen not only continued to rack up blocked shots, but she started to score some. Josie hit a couple shots. Morgan stayed out of foul trouble and collected rebounds like Dennis Rodman. She also gained some confidence with her shooting and hit a couple field goals.

Slowly, the Salthawks built an eight-point lead. A 10-point lead. Good grief … A 15-POINT LEAD?????

I said to my wife with four minutes left something along the lines of, “Holy Columbus Ohio, we’re going to win!”

Jennifer cooled my enthusiasm with something along the lines of, “Hold your horses,” but I knew it was over. The basketball version of The Bad News Bears was going to win!

The final: 33-18.

Josie and Elyse were on the bench when the game ended because that’s what you do when you’re far ahead. You empty the bench.

As the final buzzer sounded, Josie and Elyse embraced. Colleen waved her arms, a mix of excitement and disbelief in her body language.

Josie was so excited with the win that she didn’t want to sit and watch the varsity girls game and travel home with boring mom and dad. She wanted to go home with her teammates.

The ride home was probably loud with chatter, as the Salthawks relived the moments of glory and basked in being undefeated so far.

I know it won’t last. The girls know it won’t last. There’s no telling how many games they may win. But I stand by my prediction of four.

Actually, I want to make a small adjustment. They’ll win at least four. They’ll enjoy this season more than the last two. And who knows? Maybe in two or three years, they’ll be suiting up and/or playing for the varsity team at the state tournament. And they’ll look back at the middle-school days and realize that it was, indeed, worth it.

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Bishop Miege football is doing something that everyone expected this year. So is St. Thomas Aquinas. So is Bishop Carroll, Topeka Hayden and Pittsburg Colgan.

All of those football teams were expected to be good this year. Really good. Great even. The fact that all those private high schools are still playing football headed to the state semifinals is as surprising as the Kansas Jayhawks winning the Big 12 in basketball.

If there’s anything less surprising about Miege and Aquinas and all their brethren still playing, it’s that the complaining is continuing. The griping. The accusations.

People are once again angry with these darn private schools because, well, they’re winning.

You see it on Facebook and Twitter. It will be worse after this week. The 5A championship game could be an all-private-school affair between Carroll and Aquinas. Miege is without peer in Kansas, let alone 4A Division 1. Hayden should have a great game with Frontenac in the 4A Division 2 semifinals, but nobody would be surprised should Hayden win. Colgan likewise has what should be a barnburner in a 2-1A semifinal against Olpe.

Even if just Miege and Aquinas reach the final day, people will complain. They’ll say words like “recruiting” and “advantage” and “unfair” and “recruiting” and “cheating” and “recruiting.”

Now, before I go on, you should know the Kansas State High School Activities Association has been looking into the matter of private schools. Some sort of reform is likely on the horizon. And I do think most people – including me – would be in favor of some sort of reform that caters to the strong private-school athletic programs while not touching the programs and schools that don’t dominate sports.

“Whoa, wait a minute. What private school doesn’t have an advantage and what private school doesn’t dominate?”

Nobody wants to talk about 3A football when it comes to private schools. Thirty-two teams made the playoffs in 3A. By the time the number was reduced to 16, there was not a single private school left. The three that did reach the playoffs were all blown out – Sabetha clocked Atchison’s Maur Hill Mount Academy 66-14, Hesston blitzed Hutchinson’s Trinity Catholic 47-6 and Conway Springs annihilated Wichita Independent 55-6.

Nobody wants to talk about how Salina Sacred Heart didn’t even make the playoffs in 2-1A. Nobody wants to talk about how Hutchinson Central Christian didn’t even have KSHSAA-sanctioned football two years ago, and that the club team Central Christian had once won two games in four years.

Nobody wants to talk about 4AD2 school Bishop Ward, which scored just 30 points this year and has lost 38 games in a row and has a 2-71 record since the end of the 2009 season. But when the conversation moves to baseball, then you can rock and rip and take apart Ward all you want.

Nobody wants to talk about Thomas More Prep in Hays, which hasn’t had a winning season in who knows how long?

Nobody wants to talk about Maranatha Academy in Shawnee, which has won six games since starting football in 2014. One of those wins came against Leavenworth-Immaculata, which has since closed.

Instead, it’s all about the private schools that do well.

A fellow former-journalist-turned-teacher, Joanna Chadwick, used to tell people who complained about the recruiting that private schools to email or call her with all the details, and she would go after the private schools. To the best of my knowledge, nobody ever had those details. No proof that former Bishop Carroll coach Alan Shuckman was flying on a private plane to Goddard to present a bag of cash to some hot shot prospect.

Look, I’m not naive enough to think that many private schools, especially those in metropolitan areas, don’t have advantages over bigger rural high schools. Of course they do. But before casting stones at private schools that are good in athletics, public schools should ask themselves this – have they ever taken an out-of-district student just for athletics?

Many, most assuredly, have.

During Hutchinson’s dynasty, many top players were not Hutchinson kids. They came in from the Buhler district, the Haven district, heck even the Sterling district, which is in neighboring Rice County.

Although I can’t say for sure, I doubt most of Blue Valley’s top football players through the years have been from the Blue Valley district. I would wager that Shawnee Mission East had some players from other districts. I wouldn’t doubt that Derby has players transferring in from the Wichita district (heck, who remembers the Buhler quarterback who transferred to Derby for his senior year?).

I recall back when I was a pup sports reporter in Garden City when one of Lakin’s best athletes was a Garden City kid.

For those scoring at home, Lakin is about 25 miles from Garden City.

I also recall a top Garden City girls basketball player threatening to transfer to nearby Deerfield if a coach didn’t leave.

It happens everywhere, folks. Star athletes go to a nearby district for various reasons. The transferring and incentives aren’t limited to private schools.

But again, I think we can all admit that private-school dominance is something that should be discussed. Private schools won four of the eight volleyball titles. Two others reached the state semifinals.

Taking a concept from Oklahoma, the best solution is this: when a private-school team finishes in the top four for three straight years and wins at least one title in that time, that team moves up a classification in that sport. Yes, that could make for a few awkward numbers in a classification, but it would balance out the playing field a bit.

Besides, who wouldn’t want to see Bishop Carroll football try its hand in 6A, or Bishop Miege move back to 5A and take on Aquinas in a semifinal? Or see Miege soccer take on Dodge City in the state semifinals, or Olathe Heritage volleyball move up a few classifications to play Rose Hill?

I’ve seen other concepts that are downright silly. Some people think moving private schools to their own classification would be good.

OK, so would Salina Sacred Heart have to play Aquinas in football?

“No, stupid! Have two classifications for private schools!”

So where does that classification cut off? Once you get past Aquinas, Miege, St. James Academy, Kapaun Mount Carmel and Bishop Carroll, the next smallest private school the next two years in football is Topeka Hayden at 329, or nearly 200 fewer than Miege.

After that, the seventh biggest football-playing private school in Kansas is Wichita Trinity at 245, or less than half of Miege, the fifth biggest.

Again, where’s the cutoff? With Miege? Have a five-team state tournament? Or let the Wichita Trinitys of the state just get their teeth kicked in?

Nothing is ever going to be fair when it comes to private schools and high school athletics. But it seems ridiculous to ostracize all private schools, including ones that don’t dominate athletics, just because a few do.

Final 2017 high school rankings

Posted: October 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

Here are the final rankings for the 2017 Kansas high school football season. Thanks so much for checking these out every week. I don’t know if I’ll do high school basketball rankings or not. I’m toying with it, but it’s hard to find comprehensive high school basketball scores in this state.

Regardless, keep checking back! I’ll have this blog updated with thoughts on the sports world!

Super 10

1. Bishop Miege (1), 9-0

2. Lawrence Free State (2), 9-0

3. Goddard (3), 9-0

4. SM East (4), 8-1

5. Derby (5), 8-1

6. Bishop Carroll (6), 8-1

7. St. Thomas Aquinas (7), 8-1

8. McPherson (8), 8-1

9. Wichita Northwest (9), 8-1

10. Manhattan (10), 8-1

Last week’s rankings in parentheses

CLASS 6A

1. Lawrence Free State (1), 9-0. Beat Wichita North 69-6. Next: vs. Junction City

2. SM East (2), 8-1. Beat Gardner-Edgerton 42-28. Next: vs. Olathe Northwest

3. Derby (3), 8-1. Beat Dodge City 49-13. Next: at Manhattan

4. Wichita Northwest (4), 8-1. Beat Wichita Southeast 68-22. Next: vs. Campus

5. Manhattan (5), 8-1. Beat Wichita East 21-0. Next: vs. Derby

CLASS 5A

1. Goddard (1), 9-0. Beat Salina Central 60-13. Next: vs. Andover

2. Bishop Carroll (2), 8-1. Beat Arkansas City 66-38. Next: vs. Kapaun Mount Carmel

3. St. Thomas Aquinas (3), 8-1. Beat KC Harmon 52-0. Next: vs. Bonner Springs

4. Maize (4), 8-1. Beat Topeka West 52-6. Next: vs. Wichita Heights

5. St. James Academy (5), 7-2. Beat Lansing 48-7. Next: vs. Shawnee Heights

CLASS 4A DIVISION 1

1. Bishop Miege (1), 9-0. Beat Spring Hill 62-14. Next: vs. Basehor-Linwood

2. McPherson (2), 8-1. Beat Abilene 49-6. Next: vs. Buhler

3. Maize South (3), 8-1. Beat Andover Central 23-13. Next: vs. Wellington

4. Andale (4), 9-0. Beat El Dorado 66-13. Next: vs. Wamego

5. DeSoto (4), 8-1. Beat Eudora 44-0. Next: at Tonganoxie

CLASS 4A DIVISION 2

1. Scott City (1), 9-0. Beat Concordia 28-12. Next: vs. Kingman

2. Holcomb (2), 8-1. Beat Hugoton 33-14. Next: vs. Colby

3. Smoky Valley (4), 8-1. Beat Clay Center 30-16

4. Nickerson (5), 7-2. Beat Clearwater 14-0

5. Topeka Hayden (NR), 5-4. Next: vs. Prairie View

Dropped out: Pratt (3), 7-2. Lost to Kingman 39-25

CLASS 3A

1. Silver Lake (1), 9-0. Beat Royal Valley 53-0. Next: vs. Mission Valley

2. Phillipsburg (2), 9-0. Beat Russell 56-6. Next: vs. Riley County

3. Nemaha Central (3), 9-0. Beat Hiawatha 56-0. Next: vs. Pleasant Ridge

4. Conway Springs (4), 9-0. Beat Chaparral 53-19. Next: vs. Wichita Independent

5. Galena (5), 9-0. Beat Riverton 59-7. Next: vs. Neodesha

CLASS 2-1A

1. Smith Center (2), 8-1. Beat Ell-Saline 54-0. Next: vs. Medicine Lodge

2. Centralia (4), 7-2. Beat Jackson Heights 32-14. Next: vs. Doniphan West

3. Pittsburg-Colgan (5), 7-2. Beat Uniontown 57-8. Next: vs. Lyndon

4. Olpe (NR), 7-2. Beat Olpe 41-33 5OT. Next: vs. Yates Center

5. Lyndon (1), 8-1. Lost to Olpe 41-33 5OT. Next: vs. Pittsburg-Colgan

Dropped out: Ell-Saline (3), 7-1. Lost to Smith Center 54-0

EIGHT-MAN DIVISION 1

1. Burlingame (1), 9-0. Beat Herington 68-0. Next: vs. Victoria

2. Hoxie (2), 8-1. Beat Oberlin 50-0. Next: vs. Ness City

3. Osborne (3), 8-1. Beat Lincoln 54-0. Next: vs. Clifton-Clyde

4. Spearville (4), 9-0. Beat Kinsley 46-0. Next: vs. St. Francis

5. St. Francis (5), 6-1. Beat WaKeeney 58-0. Next: at Spearville

EIGHT-MAN DIVISION 2

1. Hanover (1),9-0. Beat Axtell 54-8. Next: Rock Hills.

2. Pike Valley (2), 9-0. Beat Linn 56-6. Next: vs. Axtell

3. Central Christian (4), 9-0. Beat Caldwell 74-28. Next: Pleasanton

4. Otis-Bison (5), 8-1. Beat Hodgeman County 58-26. Next: vs. Sylvan-Lucas

5. Rock Hills (NR), 8-1. Beat Beloit-St. John’s 54-8. Next: at Hanover

Dropped out: Caldwell (3), 8-1. Lost to Central Christian 74-28

Super 10

1. Bishop Miege (1), 9-0

2. Lawrence Free State (2), 9-0

3. Goddard (3), 9-0

4. Derby (5), 8-1

5. SM East (4), 8-1

6. St. Thomas Aquinas (7), 8-1

7. Bishop Carroll (6), 8-1

8. McPherson (8), 8-1

9. Wichita Northwest (9), 8-1

10. Manhattan (10), 8-1

Last week’s rankings in parentheses

CLASS 6A

1. Lawrence Free State (1), 9-0. Beat Wichita North 69-6. Next: vs. Junction City

2. SM East (2), 8-1. Beat Gardner-Edgerton 42-28. Next: vs. Olathe Northwest

3. Derby (3), 8-1. Beat Dodge City 49-13. Next: at Manhattan

4. Wichita Northwest (4), 8-1. Beat Wichita Southeast 68-22. Next: vs. Campus

5. Manhattan (5), 8-1. Beat Wichita East 21-0. Next: vs. Derby

CLASS 5A

1. Goddard (1), 9-0. Beat Salina Central 60-13. Next: vs. Andover

2. Bishop Carroll (2), 8-1. Beat Arkansas City 66-38. Next: vs. Kapaun Mount Carmel

3. St. Thomas Aquinas (3), 8-1. Beat KC Harmon 52-0. Next: vs. Bonner Springs

4. Maize (4), 8-1. Beat Topeka West 52-6. Next: vs. Wichita Heights

5. St. James Academy (5), 7-2. Beat Lansing 48-7. Next: vs. Shawnee Heights

CLASS 4A DIVISION 1

1. Bishop Miege (1), 9-0. Beat Spring Hill 62-14. Next: vs. Basehor-Linwood

2. McPherson (2), 8-1. Beat Abilene 49-6. Next: vs. Buhler

3. Maize South (3), 8-1. Beat Andover Central 23-13. Next: vs. Wellington

4. Andale (4), 9-0. Beat El Dorado 66-13. Next: vs. Wamego

5. DeSoto (4), 8-1. Beat Eudora 44-0. Next: at Tonganoxie

CLASS 4A DIVISION 2

1. Scott City (1), 9-0. Beat Concordia 28-12. Next: vs. Kingman

2. Holcomb (2), 8-1. Beat Hugoton 33-14. Next: vs. Colby

3. Smoky Valley (4), 8-1. Beat Clay Center 30-16

4. Nickerson (5), 7-2. Beat Clearwater 14-0

5. Topeka Hayden (NR), 5-4. Next: vs. Prairie View

Dropped out: Pratt (3), 7-2. Lost to Kingman 39-25

CLASS 3A

1. Silver Lake (1), 9-0. Beat Royal Valley 53-0. Next: vs. Mission Valley

2. Phillipsburg (2), 9-0. Beat Russell 56-6. Next: vs. Riley County

3. Nemaha Central (3), 9-0. Beat Hiawatha 56-0. Next: vs. Pleasant Ridge

4. Conway Springs (4), 9-0. Beat Chaparral 53-19. Next: vs. Wichita Independent

5. Galena (5), 9-0. Beat Riverton 59-7. Next: vs. Neodesha

CLASS 2-1A

1. Smith Center (2), 8-1. Beat Ell-Saline 54-0. Next: vs. Medicine Lodge

2. Centralia (4), 7-2. Beat Jackson Heights 32-14. Next: vs. Doniphan West

3. Pittsburg-Colgan (5), 7-2. Beat Uniontown 57-8. Next: vs. Lyndon

4. Olpe (NR), 7-2. Beat Olpe 41-33 5OT. Next: vs. Yates Center

5. Lyndon (1), 8-1. Lost to Olpe 41-33 5OT. Next: vs. Pittsburg-Colgan

Dropped out: Ell-Saline (3), 7-1. Lost to Smith Center 54-0

EIGHT-MAN DIVISION 1

1. Burlingame (1), 9-0. Beat Herington 68-0. Next: vs. Victoria

2. Hoxie (2), 8-1. Beat Oberlin 50-0. Next: vs. Ness City

3. Osborne (3), 8-1. Beat Lincoln 54-0. Next: vs. Clifton-Clyde

4. Spearville (4), 9-0. Beat Kinsley 46-0. Next: vs. St. Francis

5. St. Francis (5), 6-1. Beat WaKeeney 58-0. Next: at Spearville

EIGHT-MAN DIVISION 2

1. Hanover (1),9-0. Beat Axtell 54-8. Next: Rock Hills.

2. Pike Valley (2), 9-0. Beat Linn 56-6. Next: vs. Axtell

3. Central Christian (4), 9-0. Beat Caldwell 74-28. Next: Pleasanton

4. Otis-Bison (5), 8-1. Beat Hodgeman County 58-26. Next: vs. Sylvan-Lucas

5. Rock Hills (NR), 8-1. Beat Beloit-St. John’s 54-8. Next: at Hanover

Dropped out: Caldwell (3), 8-1. Lost to Central Christian 74-28

Week 9 rankings

Posted: October 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

Super 10

1. Bishop Miege (1), 8-0

2. Lawrence Free State (2), 8-0

3. Goddard (3), 8-0

4. SM East (4), 7-1

5. Derby (5), 7-1

6. Bishop Carroll (6), 7-1

7. St. Thomas Aquinas (7), 7-1

8. McPherson (8), 7-1

9. Wichita Northwest (9), 7-1

10. Manhattan (10), 7-1

Last week’s rankings in parentheses

CLASS 6A

1. Lawrence Free State (1), 8-0. Beat Lawrence 24-21. Next: vs. Wichita North

2. SM East (2), 7-1. Beat SM West 63-0. Next: vs. Gardner-Edgerton

3. Derby (3), 7-1. Beat Campus 48-20. Next: vs. Dodge City

4. Wichita Northwest (4), 7-1. Beat Wichita Southeast 68-8. Next: vs. Wichita Southeast

5. Manhattan (5), 7-1. Beat BV Northwest 50-22. Next: vs. Wichita East

CLASS 5A

1. Goddard (1), 8-0. Beat Newton 48-14. Next: vs. Salina Central

2. Bishop Carroll (2), 7-1. Beat Kapaun Mount Carmel 30-22. Next: vs. Arkansas City

3. St. Thomas Aquinas (3), 7-1. Beat Blue Valley 47-20. Next: vs. KC Harmon

4. Maize (5), 7-1. Beat Hutchinson 14-13. Next: vs. Topeka West

5. St. James Academy (NR), 6-2. Beat BV West 42-35. Next: vs. Lansing

Dropped out: Shawnee Heights (4), 6-2. Beat Emporia 19-14

CLASS 4A DIVISION 1

1. Bishop Miege (1), 8-0. Beat DeSoto 31-0. Next: at Spring Hill

2. McPherson (2), 7-1. Beat Wamego 47-0. Next: vs. Abilene

3. Maize South (3), 7-1. Beat Rose Hill 48-14. Next: at Andover Central

4. Andale (5), 8-0. Beat Circle 70-7. Next: vs. El Dorado

5. DeSoto (4), 7-1. Lost to Bishop Miege 31-0. Next: vs. Eudora

CLASS 4A DIVISION 2

1. Scott City (2), 8-0. Beat Goodland 28-0. Next: at Concordia

2. Holcomb (3), 7-1. Beat Pratt 19-14. Next: at Hugoton

3. Pratt (1), 7-1. Lost to Holcomb 19-14. Next: at Kingman

4. Smoky Valley (5), 7-1. Beat Chapman 43-12. Next: at Clay Center

5. Nickerson (NR), 6-2. Beat Wichita Collegiate 48-14. Next: at Clearwater

Dropped out: Columbus (4), 6-2. Lost to Frontenac 20-8

CLASS 3A

1. Silver Lake (1), 8-0. Beat Perry-Lecompton 40-35. Next: vs. Royal Valley

2. Phillipsburg (2), 8-0. Beat Norton 56-0. Next: at Russell

3. Nemaha Central (3), 8-0. Beat Riverside 49-0. Next: vs. Hiawatha

4. Conway Springs (4), 8-0. Beat Cheney 41-0. Next: vs. Chaparral

5. Galena (NR), 8-0. Beat Southeast-Cherokee 57-7. Next: vs. Riverton

Dropped out: Garden Plain (5), 6-2. Lost to Conway Springs 26-6. Next: at Chaparral

CLASS 2-1A

1. Lyndon (1), 8-0. Beat Chase County 41-0. Next: vs. Olpe

2. Smith Center (2), 6-1. Beat Republic County 70-0. Next: at Ell-Saline

3. Ell-Saline (3), 7-0. Beat Salina Sacred Heart 28-21. Next: vs. Smith Center

4. Centralia (4), 6-2. Beat Valley Heights 30-22. Next: vs. Jackson Heights

5. Pittsburg-Colgan (5), 6-2. Beat Oswego 63-6. Next: vs. Uniontown

EIGHT-MAN DIVISION 1

1. Burlingame (1), 8-0. Beat Rural Vista 53-0. Next: vs. Herington

2. Hoxie (2), 7-1. Beat Hill City 52-6. Next: vs. Oberlin

3. Osborne (3), 7-1. Beat Bennington 32-16. Next: at Lincoln

4. Spearville (4), 8-0. Beat Leoti 46-0. Next: vs. Kinsley

5. St. Francis (5), 6-1. Beat Quinter 54-6. Next: vs. WaKeeney

EIGHT-MAN DIVISION 2

1. Hanover (1), 8-0. Beat Wakefield 62-12. Next: at Axtell

2. Pike Valley (2), 8-0. Beat Beloit-St. John’s 52-6. Next: at Linn

3. Caldwell (3), 8-0. Beat South Haven 69-6. Next: vs. Central Christian

4. Central Christian (4), 8-0. Beat Burrton 74-6. Next: at Caldwell

5. Otis-Bison (5), 7-1. Beat Triplains/Brewster 64-0. Next: vs. Hodgeman County

Week 8 rankings

Posted: October 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

Super 10

1. Bishop Miege (1), 7-0

2. Lawrence Free State (2), 7-0

3. Goddard (3), 7-0

4. SM East (4), 6-1

5. Derby (5), 6-1

6. Bishop Carroll (6), 6-1

7. St. Thomas Aquinas (7), 6-1

8. McPherson (8), 6-1

9. Wichita Northwest (9), 6-1

10. Manhattan (NR), 6-1

Last week’s rankings in parentheses

CLASS 6A

1. Lawrence Free State (1), 7-0. Beat Olathe East 38-31. Next: at Lawrence

2. SM East (2), 6-1. Beat Lawrence 62-40. Next: vs. SM West

3. Derby (3), 6-1. Beat Salina South 59-14. Next: at Campus

4. Wichita Northwest (4), 6-1. Beat Wichita North 67-6. Next: vs. Wichita Southeast

5. Manhattan (5), 6-1. Beat Emporia 38-7. Next: at BV Northwest

CLASS 5A

1. Goddard (1), 7-0. Beat Valley Center 57-7. Next: vs. Newton

2. Bishop Carroll (2), 6-1. Beat Wichita Heights 35-14. Next: vs. Kapaun Mount Carmel

3. St. Thomas Aquinas (3), 6-1. Beat BV Southwest 61-27. Next: vs. Blue Valley

4. Shawnee Heights (5), 6-1. Beat Highland Park 53-6. Next: vs. Emporia

5. Maize (NR), 6-1. Beat Salina Central 39-14. Next:vs. Hutchinson

Dropped out: St. James Academy (4), 5-2. Lost to Kapaun Mount Carmel 28-27, OT

CLASS 4A DIVISION 1

1. Bishop Miege (1), 7-0. Beat Eudora 63-6. Next: vs DeSoto

2. McPherson (2), 6-1. Beat Hays 48-6. Next: vs. Wamego

3. Maize South (4), 6-1. Beat Augusta 31-23. Next: at Rose Hill

4. DeSoto (5), 7-0. Beat Spring Hill 52-7. Next: at Bishop Miege

5. Andale (NR), 7-0. Beat Buhler 17-6. Next: at Circle

Dropped out: Buhler (3), 5-2. Lost to Andale 17-6

CLASS 4A DIVISION 2

1. Pratt (1), 7-0. Beat Hugoton 42-14. Next: at Holcomb

2. Scott City (2), 7-0. Beat Colby 42-14. Next: at Goodland

3. Holcomb (3), 6-1. Beat Kingman 36-0. Next: vs. Pratt

4. Columbus (4), 6-1. Beat Baxter Springs 41-0. Next: at Frontenac

5. Smoky Valley (5), 6-1. Beat Rock Creek 36-0. Next: vs. Chapman.

CLASS 3A

1. Silver Lake (1), 7-0. Beat Oskaloosa 68-0. Next: at Perry-Lecompton.

2. Phillipsburg (2), 6-0. Beat TMP 81-33. Next: vs. Norton.

3. Nemaha Central (3), 6-0. Beat Sabetha 21-7. Next: at Riverside.

4. Conway Springs (5), 7-0. Beat Garden Plain 26-6. Next: vs. Cheney.

5. Garden Plain (4), 6-1. Lost to Conway Springs 26-6. Next: at Chaparral

CLASS 2-1A

1. Lyndon (1), 7-0. Beat Northern Heights 49-6. Next: at Chase County

2. Smith Center (2), 6-1. Beat Salina Sacred Heart 78-0. Next: at Republic County.

3. Ell-Saline (3), 6-0. Beat Republic County 27-8. Next: at Salina Sacred Heart

4. Centralia (4), 5-2. Beat Wabaunsee 50-6. Next: at Valley Heights.

5. Pittsburg-Colgan (5), 5-2. Beat Yates Center 42-0. Next: vs. Oswego.

EIGHT-MAN DIVISION 1

1. Burlingame (1), 7-0. Beat Valley Falls 70-0. Next: vs. Rural Vista.

2. Hoxie (2), 6-1. Beat WaKeeney 66-30. Next: at Hill City.

3. Osborne (3), 6-1. Beat Victoria 36-30. Next: vs. Bennington.

4. Spearville (4), 7-0. Beat Satanta 64-16. Next: at Leoti.

5. St. Francis (5), 5-1. Next: at Quinter.

EIGHT-MAN DIVISION 2

1. Hanover (1), 7-0. Beat Frankfort 60-0. Next: vs. Wakefield.

2. Pike Valley (2), 7-0. Beat Tescott 50-16. Next: vs. Beloit-St. John’s

3. Caldwell (3), 7-0. Beat Hartford 62-0. Next: at South Haven

4. Central Christian (4), 7-0. Beat South Haven 78-28. Next: vs. Burrton

5. Otis-Bison (5), 6-1. Beat Dighton 54-8. Next: at Triplains/Brewster

Week 7 rankings

Posted: October 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

Super 10

  1. Bishop Miege (1), 6-0
  2. Lawrence Free State (3), 6-0
  3. Goddard (2), 6-0
  4. SM East (4), 5-1
  5. Derby (5), 5-1
  6. Bishop Carroll (6), 5-1
  7. St. Thomas Aquinas (7), 5-1
  8. McPherson (8), 5-1
  9. Wichita Northwest (9), 5-1
  10. Buhler (10), 5-1.

Last week’s rankings in parentheses

CLASS 6A

  1. Lawrence Free State (1), 6-0. Beat Olathe Northwest 42-14. Next: vs. Olathe East.
  2. SM East (2), 5-1. Beat Olathe East 43-14. Next: vs. Lawrence.
  3. Derby (3), 4-1. Beat Salina Central 34-0. Next: vs. Saina South.
  4. Wichita Northwest (4), 5-1. Beat Garden City 36-23. Next: at Wichita North.
  5. Manhattan (5), 5-1. Beat Junction City 42-14. Next: at Emporia.

CLASS 5A

  1. Goddard (1), 6-0. Beat Arkansas City 44-21. Next: vs. Valley Center
  2. Bishop Carroll (2), 5-1. Beat Wichita South 42-6. Next: at Wichita Heights.
  3. St. Thomas Aquinas (3), 5-1. Beat St. James Academy 34-14. Next: at BV Southwest
  4. St. James Academy (4), 5-1. Lost to St. Thomas Aquinas 34-14. Next: vs. Kapaun Mount Carmel.
  5. Shawnee Heights (NR), 5-1. Beat Topeka Hayden 27-14. Next: at Highland Park.

Dropped out: Kapaun Mount Carmel (5), 4-2. Lost to Wichita Heights 34-24.

CLASS 4A DIVISION 1

  1. Bishop Miege (1), 6-0. Beat Mill Valley 54-21. Next: vs. Eudora.
  2. McPherson (2), 5-1. Beat Rose Hill 35-0. Next: at Hays.
  3. Buhler (3), 5-1. Beat Augusta 24-6. Next: at Andale.
  4. Maize South (4), 5-1. Beat Winfield 49-21. Next: vs. Augusta.
  5. DeSoto (5), 6-0. Beat Baldwin 42-0. Next: at Spring Hill.

CLASS 4A DIVISION 2

  1. Pratt (2), 6-0. Beat Halstead 39-30. Next: vs. Hugoton.
  2. Scott City (3), 6-0. Beat Wellington 28-6. Next: vs. Colby.
  3. Holcomb (4), 5-1. Beat Lakin 21-0. Next: at Kingman.
  4. Columbus (1), 5-1. Lost to Galena 33-29. Next: vs. Baxter Springs.
  5. Smoky Valley (NR), 5-1. Beat Lyons 22-0. Next: vs. Rock Creek.

Dropped out: Nickerson (5), 4-2. Lost to Hoisington 32-13

CLASS 3A

  1. Silver Lake (1), 6-0. Beat Silver Lake 41-14. Next vs. Oskaloosa.
  2. Phillipsburg (2), 6-0. Beat Phillipsburg 34-6. Next: vs. TMP
  3. Nemaha Central (3), 6-0. Beat Perry-Lecompton 30-13. Next: vs. Sabetha.
  4. Garden Plain (4), 6-0. Beat Douglass 38-16. Next: vs. Conway Springs
  5. Conway Springs (5), 6-0. Beat Mulvane 44-13. Next: at Garden Plain.

CLASS 2-1A

  1. Lyndon (1), 6-0. Beat Osage City 30-17. Next: vs. Northern Heights.
  2. Smith Center (2), 5-1. Beat Ellis 33-7. Next: vs. Salina Sacred Heart.
  3. Ell-Saline (3), 5-0. Game with Sterling cancelled. Next: vs. Republic County.
  4. Centralia (4), 4-2. Beat Washington County 50-0. Next: vs. Wabaunsee.
  5. Pittsburg-Colgan (5), 4-2. Beat Riverton 49-6. Next: at Yates Center

EIGHT-MAN DIVISION 1

  1. Burlingame (2), 6-0. Beat Clifton-Clyde 48-0. Next: vs. Valley Falls.
  2. Hoxie (3), 5-1. Beat Quinter 54-0. Next: vs. WaKeeney.
  3. Osborne (4), 5-1. Beat Logan/Palco 44-10. Next: vs. Victoria.
  4. Spearville (5), 6-0. Beat Ness City 58-8. Next: vs. Satanta.
  5. St. Francis (1), 5-1. Lost to Atwood 40-32. Next: bye

EIGHT-MAN DIVISION 2

  1. Hanover (1), 6-0. Beat Randolph-Blue Valley 62-0. Next: at Frankfort.
  2. Pike Valley (2), 5-0. Leading Rock Hills 22-6 3Q. Continued Monday. Next: vs. Tescott.
  3. Caldwell (3), 6-0. Beat Norwich 46-0. Next: vs. Hartford.
  4. Central Christian (4), 6-0. Beat Hartford 68-8. Next: vs. South Haven.
  5. Otis-Bison (5), 5-1. Beat Tribune 50-0. Next: vs. Dighton.

I still keep newspapers of historical context.

I have The Kansas City Star from when man landed on the moon. I have The Lawrence Journal-World from December 2005 when the Kansas Jayhawks won the Fort Worth Bowl, their first bowl win since 1995. I have many newspapers from presidential elections, Bill Clinton’s impeachment, the final Border War (yes, that was a clean block by Thomas Robinson), the Jayhawks’ Orange Bowl win in 2008 and basketball national championship months later.

And yes, I have dozens of newspapers from 2014 and 2015 when the Kansas City Royals when back-to-back American League pennants and won a World Series.

One day, I anticipate my son Landon owning all these newspapers. I hope he reads them and tells his kids all about Mario’s Miracle, Todd Reesing to Kerry Meier in the snow, and of course, the miraculous climb the Royals had from baseball disaster to Baseball Royalty.

I hope newspapers are still around when Landon has kids. I’ve made a decent life off writing for newspapers, and now teaching college students about how to write for newspapers. But while I love newspapers, there’s only so much you can learn from them.

I want my future grandkids and great-grandkids to be able to watch Salvador Perez’s single against Oakland, Alex Gordon’s home run against the New York Mets, Mike Moustakas’ falling-into-the-dugout catch against the Baltimore Orioles, Terrance Gore scoring from second on an infield single and Wade Davis celebrating the end of the 2015 series with Drew Butera.

That’s where this comes in.

Sunday was the end of an era. The Royals will lose a good chunk of the core that helped lead them to a World Series title because of free agency. It was a tough weekend for me. I watched Friday’s win against Arizona with little trouble. Saturday, I turned the game off when the Royals broadcast started laying on the nostalgia. Sunday, I was in Kansas City for my youngest daughter’s soccer games, and listened to the season finale on the way home to Hutchinson.

I may have teared up during postgame when I heard Eric Hosmer was crying. My son’s favorite player, we will not likely ever see Hoz, Moustakas, Alcides Escobar or Lorenzo Cain in a Royals uniform again.

royals

And I want to remember forever how special these last five years have been. This year’s 80-82 record was the worst of the last five years. Nearly every year since the Royals’ previous World Series title in 1985, I would have gladly taken an 80-82 record.

Thanks to the power of the Internet, I can not only list the top 25 moments of this wonderful era, but also share video.

Bookmark this page. Come back often. Have your kids watch. Tell them to bookmark this page and show it to their kids in 20 years.

25. Eric Hosmer sets the stage for wild-card win with triple.

Hosmer’s reaction pretty much said it all. He knew what he was about to be a part of.

24. Mike Moustakas homers in the 11th inning in Game 1 of 2014 ALDS.

If anyone thought the Royals would bottom out after that incredible Wild Card win, Moose showed that they were only beginning the climb to the summit.

23. Paulo Orlando hits incredible walk-off grand slam.

Paulo Orlando had never had a MLB at-bat with the bases loaded before. This one came in the ninth inning of a tied ball game, and a boring ol’ sacrifice fly would have won the game. Even a single. Nope. Paulo goes yard.

22. Alex Gordon singles, moves to third on error, in second-most talked about play in Royals history.

They should have sent Gordon. Would he most likely have been out? Yes. But make the Giants make the play. Remember, the Mets couldn’t make a play on Eric Hosmer. Regardless, it would have been one of the most dramatic moments in baseball history.

21. Justin Maxwell hits grand slam in late September, 2013 game, keeping Royals in wild-card chase.

Me: “C’mon Maxwell. How about a sac fly here?”
Landon: “How about a grand slam”

Meaningful September baseball was sniffed in 2013, and boy was it beautiful.

20. Alex Gordon makes a catch so incredible that White Sox fans cheer him.

One of the most amazing defensive plays I’ve ever seen.

19. Lorenzo Cain clears the bases in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series with a double.

I guffawed when the Mets walked Ben Zobrist to load the bases for Lorenzo Cain. Two pitches later, Cain socked a three-run double, and if you didn’t think the Royals had it before, you did after this.

18. Lorenzo Cain robs a certain hit, and Jason Vargas can’t believe it.

Lorenzo Cain had some of the most amazing defensive plays in the 2014 postseason. Vargas’ reaction said it all.

17. Royals have had enough, get into fight with White Sox, and Lorenzo Cain turns into Cornholio.

The Royals scuffled with a few teams early in 2015. I insist teams were trying to bully the Royals, and they never backed down. Yordano Ventura instigated this all-out brawl with the White Sox, and somehow, Lorenzo Cain became Beavis’ alter-ego.

16. Royals clinch first division title in 30 years.

A division title?

15. Lorenzo Cain scores from first base on Eric Hosmer single, the winning run in Game 6 of ALCS.

The Royals scouted Joey Bats and how he threw the ball to second base almost every time. Smart really. Hold the runner at first. But the Royals knew immediately the ball was going to second, and Lorenzo Cain wasn’t stopping and scored what proved to be the series-clinching run.

14. Royals win their first AL pennant since 1985, and Denny Matthews has the call.

I love Denny Matthews. His calm, soothing voice is what baseball needs. He gets chastised for not showing much emotion, but even Denny’s voice roared with the final out.

13. Mike Moustakas falls into the dugout suite, making an iconic defensive play.

Moose is a great defensive player. What a play this was. Reminded me of how George Brett played.

12. Terrance Gore scores from second base on Lorenzo Cain’s infield single.

Down one in the ninth inning to the White Sox, the Royals tied it when Jarrod Dyson scored from second base on a wild pitch. Then, after Nori Aoki doubled, Gore scored showed us “That’s what speed do” part two. The most Royals victory ever.

11. Billy Butler steals second base in clinching Game 3 of 2014 ALDS vs. Angels.

You know it’s over when Billy Butler is stealing bases.

10. Alcides Escobar opens the 2015 World Series with an inside-the-park home run.

The first and not the last mistake Matt Harvey made in this World Series. Everyone watching the game knew Escobar was swinging at the first pitch. He did. And 360 feet later, the Royals led 1-0.

9. Kendrys Morales blasts three-run home run against Houston, all but assuring the Royals would win the 2015 ALDS.

Thanks to the bullpen, a 4-2 lead was pretty safe in the late innings. But Kendrys Morales decided to add a three-run home run and killer celebration in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS.

8. Christian Colon singles home Jarrod Dyson, giving Royals the lead in the 12th inning in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series.

Colon never amounted to much, but he was involved in two of the biggest plays in Royals history.

7. Royals clinch first playoff berth since 1985 and celebrate in Chicago.

The Royals knew exactly what they had accomplished. Love Jeremy Guthrie’s speech.

6. Wade Davis finishes Houdini act, pitches out of major jam in clinching 2015 American League pennant.

I still don’t know how Wade Davis got out of this one. All I remembered thinking was, “Just hold them to a tie.” Davis scoffed at that notion.

5. Yordano Ventura throws a little flare in pivotal Game 6 of 2014 World Series.

Gosh, I loved Yordano Ventura. Game 6, elimination game, and he helps shut out the Giants.

4. Wade Davis with the final strikeout, sealing the Royals’ World Series title.

“The Royals are World Series champs! The world-champion Kansas City Royals!”

3. Eric Hosmer’s risky mad dash ties Game 5 of 2015 World Series.

A big gamble, but again, advanced scouting indicated Hosmer had a good chance thanks to the Mets’ shoddy defense.

2. Alex Gordon’s home run ties Game 1 of 2015 World Series.

When Alex Gordon gets his statue at Kauffman Stadium, it should be of him rounding first base, index finger pointing at the sky. Other than George Brett’s homer in Yankee Stadium that sent the Royals to the 1980 World Series, this was the most important homer in Royals history.

1. Salvador Perez’s single gives the Royals dramatic 9-8 win in 2014 American League Wild Card game.

No words needed.