Category Archives: MIAA

Sunflower Slate turns 5: THE PLAYERS

“When Boobie Miles returned to the football field, no one called out his name with those bellowing chants that had rocked the Watermelon Feed in a moment that seemed like a millennium before. There were no bursts of applause, no coach’s speech comparing him to the great Permian runners of the past, no take-your-sweet-time walk down the aisle of the crowded high school cafeteria. In the space of five weeks he had become an afterthought whose past performance earned no special privilege and seemed largely forgotten.” 

-H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger, “Friday Night Lights”

I’m continuing with our three-part series today celebrating Sunflower Slate turning 5 years old. Yesterday I did the 5 most memorable games, today I’ll continue with the 5 most memorable players I’ve covered. This was, by far, the hardest list to narrow down of the three, and I went back over five years of blog posts and stories. Not all of these athletes were All-Americans, necessarily, but they each had stories that stuck with me for different reasons.

Tomorrow, we’ll finish things off with the coaches.

Here you go:

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Sunflower Slate turns 5: THE GAMES

“…if sportswriting teaches you anything, and there is much truth to it as well as plenty of lies, it is that for your life to be worth anything you must sooner or later face the possibility of terrible, searing regret. Though you must also manage to avoid it or your life will be ruined. I believe I have done these two things. Faced down regret. Avoided ruin. And I am still here to tell about it.” 

-Richard Ford, “The Sportswriter” 

Sunflower Slate turned 5 years old last week, and I thought in honor of its birthday I’d take a look back at the last five years and the most memorable games, players and coaches I’ve covered over that time.

When I go back and read some of my posts from years past, sometimes I cringe (I really, really needed to chill with the LOST references), sometimes I laugh (I have an unhealthy obsession with movie trailers) and all of the time I’m thankful. This hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been a blast.

We’ll do games today, players tomorrow and coaches on Friday.

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Saturday’s MIAA, Jayhawk and KCAC football scores


No. 17 Tabor 21, No. 10 MidAmerica Nazarene 13 FINAL

Sterling 42, Culver-Stockton 30 FINAL

No. 15 Baker 41, Saint Mary 40 FINAL

Avila 41, Bethany 14 FINAL

Kansas Wesleyan 38, No. 22 Evangel 28 FINAL

No. 24 Benedictine 28, Friends 15 FINAL

No. 18 Ottawa 20, No. 2 Missouri Valley 6 FINAL best regular-season win in Kessinger era?

Peru State 44, Southwestern 21 FINAL

Central Methodist 38, Bethel 31 FINAL

McPherson 34, Graceland 0 FINAL


Washburn 54, Fort Hays State 17 FINAL

Missouri Southern 17, Northeastern State 14 FINAL

Lincoln 47, Grambling State 34 FINAL

No. 3 Northwest Missouri 28, Central Missouri 24 FINAL

No. 16 Pittsburg State 65, Central Oklahoma 24 FINAL

Lindenwood (1-0, 1-0) at Southwest Baptist (0-1, 0-0), 6 p.m.

No. 6 Missouri Western 63, Missouri S&T 3 FINAL


No. 11 Hutchinson (2-1, 2-0) at Dodge City 40, No. 11 Hutchinson 34 FINAL/OT … biggest Jayhawk upset since Highland beat Butler?

No. 4 Butler 79, Independence 0 FINAL

Coffeyville 62, Fort Scott 39 FINAL



MIAA, Jayhawk, KCAC football previews

We dropped our monster football section today — in print and at — 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:

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The five best small-college football coaches in Kansas

When it comes to football, the Sunflower Slate/small-college beat encompasses, primarily, four schools from the NCAA Division II MIAA (Fort Hays State, Pittsburg State, Washburn, Emporia State), 10 schools from the NAIA-based KCAC (Friends, Tabor, Bethany, McPherson, Ottawa, Southwestern, Sterling, Bethel, Kansas Wesleyan, Saint Mary) and eight schools from the NJCAA-based Jayhawk Conference (Butler, Hutchinson, Independence, Garden City, Dodge City, Coffevyille, Highland, Fort Scott).

So that’s the framework for what I’ve done here, which is rank the Top 5 football coaches from those schools. I owe a big tip of the hat to Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel, who did something similar last week. Although Mandel did a Top 10 and Bottom 5 for Division I, which I won’t do, because making a Bottom 5 seems somewhat unfair to these coaches because their budgets and facilities are so vastly different, whereas with Mandel’s picks, those guys are all playing on a (somewhat) even playing field.

This Top 5 isn’t based on lifetime achievement (see Friends’ Monty Lewis not making the list) but instead on who the five best coaches are right now. A good track record over the last 2-3 seasons is the key, but the overall body of work is definitely taken into account.

So here you go:

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Catching up with the MIAA, KCAC, Jayhawk and Newman


Apologies for my absence — I’ve been gone the last 3 weeks as part of The Eagle’s NCAA Tournament coverage team, which we all know by now took a pretty wild turn when Wichita State ended up in the Final Four for the first time since 1965. I spent a week in Kansas City with K-State and KU, the next week in Dallas with KU and finally to Atlanta with the Shockers.

But now I’m back, so let’s take a look at some of what I missed while I was gone:

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Washburn well-represented in Super Bowl (and so is the Jayhawk … again)


You read it right.

Washburn, an NCAA Division II school in Topeka, will be well-represented on the field when Super Bowl Sunday rolls around. Our friends over at did a great job of breaking down the careers of Baltimore defensive back Cary Williams and San Francisco linebacker Michael Wilhoite.

Wilhoite is in his first season on the roster for the 49ers after spending a season on the practice squad. If you’ve watched the Ravens’ playoff run, or the NFL in the last decade, you probably know who he is already.

And of course the Jayhawk is well-represented in the Super Bowl once again with San Francisco defensive back and former Coffeyville Red Raven Dashon Goldson.



College basketball previews/behind the stories


We put out our college basketball preview on Sunday, including features and capsules on the MIAA, KCAC, Jayhawk Conference and Newman. Here’s links to our stories and capsules plus a few behind-the-scenes bits on each story – click the name of the league for the jump to capsules – Newman women are a folo on the main feature:

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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.

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Looking at Saturday’s small-college games


Lincoln (0-4 overall, 0-4 MIAA) at Emporia State (4-0, 4-0), 1 p.m. – Emporia State quarterback Tyler Eckenrode leads the MIAA with 1,320 passing yards and 11 touchdowns and is seventh in the nation in total offense at 367.25 yards per game.

The Hornets haven’t started 5-0 since 2003, which was also the last year they won the MIAA. Emporia State’s best start was 8-0 in 1988, something they have a shot at matching if they can beat Lincoln as games against Southwest Baptist, Lindenwood and Truman await.

Fort Hays State (0-4, 0-4) at Truman (3-1, 2-1), 1 p.m. — An unthinkable loss for the Tigers a few years ago is now an upset win to avoid going 0-5. Things couldn’t be worse for second-year coach Chris Brown’s squad.

Southwest Baptist (1-3, 1-3) at No. 20 Washburn (3-1, 3-1), 1 p.m. — Ichabods should bounce back from last week’s loss to Central Oklahoma.

Missouri Southern (3-1, 3-1) at Central Missouri (3-1, 3-1), 1:30 p.m.

Nebraska-Kearney (0-4, 0-4) at Lindenwood (3-1, 3-1), 1:30 p.m.

Northeastern State (0-4, 0-4) at No. 11 Northwest Missouri (3-1, 2-1), 2;30 p.m.

Central Oklahoma (1-3, 1-3) at No. 7 Missouri Western (4-0, 3-0), 6 p.m.


Friends (3-1, 2-0 KCAC) at No. 23 Kansas Wesleyan (3-1, 3-0), 6 p.m. – The Falcons have gone back and forth between quarterbacks this season in sophomore Derek Racette, a dual-threat with 193 rushing yards and 190 passing yards, and senior Jayme Bristow, who has passed for 305 yards. A win by Friends would likely propel them into the NAIA Top 25 and possible sole possession of first place in the KCAC, depending on the outcome of Ottawa’s game at Tabor.

Avila (0-4) at Bethany (2-2, 1-2), 2 p.m. — Into the heart of the season and Junior Allen’s absence is felt.

Saint Mary (0-4, 0-3) at Sterling (0-4, 0-3), 6 p.m. — Saint Mary best 0-4 NAIA team in the country. Seriously. They should pick up their first win right here.

Ottawa (1-2, 1-1) at Tabor (3-1, 2-0), 7 p.m. — Tabor playing inspired football right now, should be an emotional setting for this one in Hillsboro.

Southwestern (2-2, 2-1) at Haskell (0-4), 7 p.m.

McPherson (2-2, 2-1) at Bethel (0-3, 0-2), 7 p.m.

Heart of America

No. 13 Baker (4-1, 3-1 HOA) at No. 11 Midamerica Nazarene (2-1, 2-1), 2 p.m. – MidAmerica Nazarene quarterback Sean Ransburg is coming off a career game against Avila, where he threw for 167 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 105 yards and one touchdown.

Baker defensive backs Emmerson Clarke and Preston Schenck are tied for the league lead with three interceptions each.

Central Methodist (2-2, 2-2) at Lindenwood-Belleville (2-2), 1 pm.

Culver-Stockton (0-4, 0-4) at No. 4 Missouri Valley (4-0. 3-0), 1:30 p.m.

No. 6 Benedictine (4-0, 2-0) at Evangel (2-0, 1-1), 2 p.m.

Avila (0-4, 0-3) at Bethany (2-2), 2 p.m.

Graceland (2-2, 1-1) at Peru State (2-2, 1-2), 2 p.m.


Air Force Prep (0-4) at No. 3 Butler (5-0, 4-0 Jayhawk), 7 p.m. – Based on the NJCAA’s new, computerized ranking system, this is a game that could hurt Butler, win or lose. Because Air Force Prep is not affiliated with the NJCAA, this game won’t count in the rankings and the Grizzlies dropped one spot in the rankings two weeks ago coming off a 77-point win.

Fort Scott (2-3, 2-2) at Garden City (3-1, 2-1), 7 p.m. — Every win is a big step for the Broncbusters, and this is another big test.

No. 13 Hutchinson (2-1, 2-0) at Highland (1-3, 1-2), 1 p.m. — Highland, in my opinion, is the most improved team in the Jayhawk.

Independence (2-3, 0-3) at Dodge City (0-5, 0-4), 7 p.m. — Somebody has to win.