Category Archives: Heart of America

TITLE HUNT: Jayhawk, MIAA, KCAC, Heart of America

Here’s a look at our four leagues and how the races for titles are playing out – obviously the Jayhawk is a little unique because of a postseason tournament. It’s far enough into the season that I feel like we can safely say what teams are still in the hunt, what teams are hoping for a miracle and what teams have no hope – relying more on math than emotion, hopefully.

Read More »

Great deal for KCAC, HAAC in football

Great news today out of the KCAC, which announced an agreement with the HAAC (Benedictine, Baker, MANU & Co.) to play a series of games beginning in 2013. The games will be played according to the previous year’s finish, and the first round will be hosted by the KCAC.

I love it. Amazing idea. These leagues, as long as they remain NAIA, need each other. It reminds me of the deal between the Jayhawk Conference and the SWJCCC aka the Texas JuCos and NEO that has given us so many great season openers in the past, including 2008′s Butler-Blinn game at Cessna Stadium here in Wichita that drew over 13,000 people.

Also, it makes sure that schools don’t conjure up lame excuses not to play that extra, 11th game the KCAC is now allowed. Like what happened this year.

Here’s the full link from the KCAC.

Now all that’s left is to start making moves on the national level. I feel like we saw the first fruits of the KCAC’s Sports Initiative with McPherson’s run at the NAIA DII Tournament this year. This fall will be the big test with the extra game.

I’m out. TA

PS

Can’t wait to see this …

Looking at Saturday’s NAIA playoff games

We’ve got not 1, not 2, but THREE Sunflower Slate teams playing in the first round of today’s NAIA playoffs. And I like our chances at a clean sweep.

Here’s a look:

No. 12 McKendree (8-2) at No. 6 McPherson (10-0), 2 p.m. - The Bulldogs host an NAIA playoff football game for the first time and bring a buzzsaw of an offense to the table against McKendree, the co-champion from the Mid-States Football Association. McPherson has averaged 53.8 points over its last seven games and quarterback Shane Mascarenas, the KCAC player of the year, lead the nation in passing with 362 yards per game. Mascarenas set the school single-season records in passing yards (3,419) and touchdowns (35).  The truth, that nobody wants to say yet, is that if the Bulldogs lose here this season is a wash. Sad, but true. Although they’re not going to lose. My pick: McPherson 35, McKendree 14

No. 11 Marian (9-2) at No. 8 Ottawa (9-1), 1:30 p.m. – The Braves rallied from 28 points down in the second half of last season’s NAIA playoff opener against Hastings for a 40-34 win, the first playoff victory in school history. Marian, an at-large bid from the Mid-States, is led by its defense, which is 11th in the country in rushing defense (104.5 yards) and 12th in scoring defense (16.8 points). Sophomore wide receiver/punt returner Shane Gimzo is second for Ottawa with 12 touchdowns and has been a great complement to All-American wide receiver Clarence Anderson. My pick: Ottawa 28, Marian 25

No. 17 Georgetown (8-2) at No. 4 MidAmerica Nazarene (10-0) - The Pioneers won the Heart of America Conference by completing their second undefeated regular season in the last three years and are coached by former NFL quarterback Jonathan Quinn. My pick: MANU 14, G’Town 3

That’s all I’ve got for now. TA

Benedictine’s Wilcox recovering

LARRY WILCOX

LARRY WILCOX

Longtime Benedictine football coach Larry Wilcox underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery last week in Kansas City and is already home and recovering — ahead of schedule — which is pretty incredible. Assistant coach Charlie Gartenmayer led the Ravens to a 24-7 win over William Jewell in the season opener last Saturday. Benedictine hosts Evangel on Saturday.

Here’s a rundown of the facts on Coach Wilcox, who is nothing short of an institution in Atchison:

*Played football and graduated from Benedictine in 1972

*Hired as head coach at Benedictine in 1979

*Career record of 207-114

*Fifth coach to earn 200 wins at NAIA level and is the sixth-winningest coach in NAIA history (WOW)

*Heart of America coach of the year four times, five HOA titles.

*11 NAIA playoff appearances, including eight straight from 1996-2003

*Contributed entire 2004 salary to complete the expansion of the Amino Center, where the football offices and weight room are located.

*And there’s this … when the Ravens play, they do it at Larry Wilcox Stadium.

Get well soon, CW.

-TA