We dropped our monster football section today — in print and at Kansas.com — and as always, there was a large state/junior college presence. That means features, conference capsules and pics from the MIAA, Jayhawk Conference, KCAC and even looks at the HAAC schools in Kansas. Here’s a rundown of what we cooked up, with lots and lots of links:
The focus of our feature was on Pittsburg State’s Nate Dreiling and John Brown — two players trying to help the Gorillas get back to the top of the mountain after being stars in 2011 on the way to winning the NCAA Division II title, to last year, when they fell apart at the end of the year and missed the playoffs. The real question is going to be the Gorillas’ running game. Junior quarterback Anthony Abenoja showed last year he can win games with his arm, but not his feet. He’s mobile enough, sure, but that’s not his forte. He can make every throw on the field, PSU just needs a capable back (or two) to keep the clock moving when they have to.
Here’s video of Dreiling and Brown talking about the upcoming season, and our MIAA capsules.
The Jayhawk Conference actually started play last night — with Butler trouncing Dodge City 41-6 despite being tied 0-0 at halftime. The game actually served as a supplement to what I wrote about for our main Jayhawk feature — that being the rule changes that the Jayhawk pushed through to up the number of out-of-state players on rosters from 12 to 20. Despite the beatdown the Grizzlies put on Dodge City in the second half, you could already see the improvement on one side. That’s a game, last year, that Dodge City lost 72-12.
Friends has been in a slow slide toward KCAC mediocrity since having the best season in school history in 2008, when the Falcons were led by a bevy of All-Americans and reeled off a 10-0 regular season and their 3rd straight league title. The guy who led them to greatness — coach Monty Lewis — owns the team’s struggles and is also determined to get them back to among the NAIA elite. It’s a tough task made even tougher with the domination of Ottawa as of late and the rise of Tabor under Mike Gardner.
I’m on vacation for the next week — will check in when I get back next Sunday.