Eight different Piper Pirates football players earned awards at last weekend's KCK Preps Awards Presentation. Head coach Chris Brindle and linebacker Colton Beebe took home two of the top three awards.
Check out some photos from last weekend's awards show at The Legends Theatre in KCK!
Here's a look at Piper Pirates quarterback Tanner Eikenbary.
Despite missing nearly half the season, Mill Valley Jaguars running back Kendall Short finished with over 700 yards of total offense and 12 touchdowns.
- In the Bonner Springs/DeSoto, two Turner Golden Bears runners qualified for state. Russell Brown's 17:15 time was good enough for fifth in the overall contest.
- Turner's Marco Loma also qualified.
- Jairo Jimeiz from Washington High in the Topeka West Regional, good enough to qualify for the state tournament.
- Piper's Brian Mosier finished fourth in the DeSoto/Bonner Springs boys regional in 4A to qualify.
- Bonner Springs teammates Matt Coffman and TJ Kimbrough earned individual qualifications for the state tournament.
- Turner's Dani Loma qualified from the Bonner Springs/DeSoto regional.
Winning the big match or big game is something that dominates the mind of a young athlete.
For wrestlers at Northwest Middle School, the pressure might be even higher to meet certain standards previous teams did.
Entering the 2011 middle school wrestling season, Northwest is on a 16-meet winning streak.
They’ve won the Kansas City Kansas League two straight years and have not lost a meet against any team in over two years.
Cameron Smith, a second-year head coach who previously served as the school’s assistant wrestling coach, said in some respects the streak snuck up on the team.
“The first year we went undefeated, we really didn’t fully know what we had,” Smith said. “Last year we tried to stick to the same formula and we were able to go undefeated again. We focused on some of the certain aspects of the sport.”
Winning a league title, let alone going undefeated, is tough.
In the school’s last meet of the season against Arrowhead, the league title and undefeated streak came down to one match.
Fortunately for Northwest, their wrestler defeated Arrowhead’s to maintain the streak and win the league, as Arrowhead had also entered the weekend undefeated.
“They were 6-0 and we went right at it,” Smith said. “It came down to one final guy.”
In order to go 24-0 and to win a third straight league title, Smith points to a few of his wrestlers returning from last year’s team.
He expects LaDarius Jennings and Cortez Johnson to be the leaders of the team, while first-year wrestler Ta’jza Tatum is expected to be a top newcomer.
“We have a couple of wrestlers we expect to do really well,” Smith said. “Some lost only one match a piece.”
If last year holds to form, Northwest will get a tough test right out of the gate.
Northwest will host their first wrestling meet November 12 against Rosedale and Arrowhead, the same school that came one match away from snapping the streak last year.
However, Smith said his team will be ready for any test.
“We have a lot of wrestlers we expect to do well,” Smith said. “We’re definitely shooting for a third-straight league title.”
That of course means high school basketball is around the corner.
Today, we release the Kansas City Kansas – Atchison League All-Preseason Team.
There’s really not too much controversy – at least I don’t think so.
The 2011-12 KCKAL Preseason Player of the Year: Benny Parker, Sumner Academy. The Nebraska Cornhuskers commit has the best resume entering the season and is one of the biggest reasons why Sumner Academy has won two state titles in a row. He's a coach on the court and when he's unleashed, he's a very dangerous guard and defender. His defense is unmatched and his jump-shot has gotten better with each season. Though I think Dominique Wilson from Washington is a co-favorite to win the league player of the year title, Benny deserves the preseason award simply because of what's he done. You cannot deny it.
The 2011-12 KCKAL Coach of the Year: David Johnson, Schlagle. There's never been a KCKAL Preseason Coach of the Year. I really don't care, but I felt incredibly guilty for not giving Coach DJ the "Coach of the Year" last year. His presence helped the Stallions double their win total from the previous season. Though I think Eric King was a deserving winner for taking the Washington Wildcats to their best season ever, Johnson had a hell of a case. If it wasn't for Washington, Schlagle may have been dancing in Topeka. Though it's not the same, consider this a bit of makeup for not giving the coach of the year award to Johnson. Plus, Johnson has an exciting and loaded team this year.
The 2011-12 Preseason Team:
- Benny Parker, Sumner Academy - SEE ABOVE
- Branden Roark, Harmon - Roark is the most un-guardable player in the league. People who don't realize that fact should. He's solid and when he is on, no team can match-up with him individually. I think this league can answer Parker with scouting. It can answer Wilson with a zone and scouting. But Roark's very tough to stop. (I wish I could coach him and Harmon's team this season. I would absolutely get Harmon to Topeka this season. It's very arrogant to say that, but it's also true. I'd put a few thousand dollars of my own money on that claim.)
- Devante Clark, Schlagle - If I would have had an award for the "player who came out of literally nowhere and dominated at times" for last year, it was Clark. Clark was a flat out stud for Schlagle last year and was a good "Robin" to Rozell Nunn's "Batman" last year. This season, Clark is the Batman, while guys like LaRay Young, Houston Shackelford and D.J. Sayles could be the Robin and other sidekicks. Clark can get 20 points any night of the week and he should be improved this season.
- Dominique Wilson, Washington - Talent-wise, Wilson is the best KCK has had since Leo Lyons. Lyons ended up at Missouri. Wilson could end up at a better school. I'm hearing Wilson is getting looks from Big East schools, most notably Jim Boeheim's Syracuse Orange. Wilson's challenge will be to keep his head on straight. He's went from Piper to a prep-school in Maine and back to KCK. If Wilson can put everything together and perform for 20 to 25 games this season, it may be another feather in Eric King's cap.
That's it. There's no second or third team.
Players will have to earn their spots this season.
Rarely has a freshman been able to crack the lineup and take off on a high level almost immediately.
Piper Pirates freshman Colton Beebe is breaking that pattern.
No position is given to Beebe simply because he’s done well at multiple positions throughout the year for the 5-3 Pirates.
Running the ball? No problem. Beebe has 26 carries for 158 yards this season – a 6.08 yards per rush average. He has two rushing touchdowns this season, one coming at the expense of the loaded Basehor-Linwood Bobcats team.
Beebe has also been involved in the passing game. He has eight receptions this year for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
Defense? Though he hasn’t played on the defensive side of the ball that much lately, he’s had dominating games at times.
Against Lansing, Beebe had a season-high 17-tackle game. Against that great offense from Basehor-Linwood, he had 11 tackles. He’s also added 1.5 sacks and one interception this season – if you need him.
Still, even if that’s not enough, against Hiawatha last week, he displayed his ability to punt the ball.
On six punts, he had two end up inside the opponent’s 20-yard-line. He had a long of 45 yards.
All of this production from the 6’3” Beebe is coming in his freshman year! He will be a cornerstone of Piper’s program in the next three seasons and could become a Division 1 prospect.
One of the tougher decisions Pirates head coach Chris Brindle may have to make in his coaching career at Piper is where it might be best to play Beebe. The future is bright for him on both sides of the ball.
Taking one look into my closet should tell you that I'm not a Kansas State Wildcats fan.
I own two gold and black polo shirts that have a logo of a certain other Kansas City-area Division 1 program.
I have only one purple shirt in the closet - a Piper Pirates T-Shirt that was given to me by someone who has an interest in Piper sports. (For other schools - I accept other gear and will never turn it down except in one case. I'm a KCK homer, after all.)
I say this because the following post will likely generate charges that I'm a "Kansas State homer" and that I should probably "audition to be Willie the Wildcat."
But part of the mission for this Website is looking out for the interest of high school athletes. It's why KCK Preps runs several highlights. It's why David Brox and I are reaching out to college coaches about prospects and this Website. It's why the ACT Word of the Day is published.
That said, here's some advice for any potential Division 1 prospect football player in Kansas City, Kan., or a local JUCO prospect who eventually lands at a Division 1 program one or two years later.
As long as Bill Snyder and his coaching staff operates in Manhattan, Kan., playing for the Kansas State Wildcats is simply the better choice than the Kansas Jayhawks or Missouri Tigers.
For some, Kansas State may not be the "cool school" that Kansas or Missouri sounds like. It's got an unfair reputation as an "agricultural school," though one visit should tell you that it's not Hickville.
Though KCK does not get too many Division 1 prospects, we do have our fair share of talent.
Any talent that eventually blossoms into a college-caliber player will likely be recruited by the Kansas schools and potentially Missouri.
If players are lucky to be offered by three schools, I would highly recommend choosing Kansas State University over the Jayhawks or Tigers.
Reason one above everything else is Snyder himself.
I do not care how old he is. I don't care how funny or bland his post-game sideline interviews are. I don't care if he calls his players "youngsters" instead of "players" or "guys."
He, along with Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban, are the two best coaches in America.
Snyder finds ways to make players fit. Kansas State was the only major university to recruit Michael Bishop back in the day as a quarterback. Bishop finished his career a runner-up for the Heisman Trophy - one that he should have won. Snyder coached an under-sized running back named Darren Sproles to the NFL.
The phrase "Bill Snyder cannot get enough out of this player" will likely never be uttered. Though Gary Pinkel's time at Missouri has been underrated by many Big 12 fans, give me Snyder.
However, it's not just Snyder who's making the wheels run in the Little Apple.
The coaching staff itself is the best in the Big 12. After seeing what happened with Oklahoma and Texas Tech this weekend, I can say this with full confidence: No other coaching staff in America would have Kansas State 7-0 right now.
Snyder is a coaching legend, but he has quality assistants too. Kansas State is rarely its worst enemy and that reflects a great coaching staff.
Assistants are key. Good assistants can make a team that much better. Bad position coaches can stick out like a sore thumb. Ask former Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Greg Robinson about that.
The only glaring weakness on Kansas State's team is the talent level it has compared to the Oklahoma's and Texas' of the world.
Attending Kansas State and playing for Snyder will not guarantee you a national title. It won't guarantee you membership on the all-conference team, let alone being an NFL draft pick.
But athletes and players who choose Kansas State will not be under-coached and the odds are certainly greater of making the next level at Kansas State because of the program Snyder has run.
Can you look at the Kansas Jayhawks and even Missouri Tigers and say the same thing? The offensive play-calling at Missouri can be frustrating to watch at times and the passing defense has been mind-boggling bad during Pinkel's entire time in Columbia. Missouri's assistants have hurt in some years.
And while the University of Texas has partnered with ESPN for the Longhorn Network, the Jayhawks should reach out to Comedy Central to broadcast their games as long as Turner Gill coaches there.
It's harsh, but as someone who cares for the student-athletes in KCK, this advice comes from both the heart and mind. Athletes need to succeed at the college level to help put KCK on the map.
In football, success is more likely at Kansas State.