Archive for Wednesday, August 4, 2004

McLouth, Oskaloosa put prep rivalry on hold

August 4, 2004

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Something will be painfully absent from the football schedules of McLouth and Oskaloosa this fall.

Each other.

The Delaware Valley League rivals won't meet on the football field this year, a scheduling snafu that has both towns upset over what normally is the most festive week of the year.

"We found out last fall right before we played them that it was going to happen," McLouth coach Harry Hester said. "It's disappointing."

DVL schedule-makers originally had assumed that the teams would meet in Class 3A districts during the last three weeks of the year, and as a result, planned the six-week regular-season schedule without including the rivalry game.

But the Kansas State High School Activities Assn. placed Oskaloosa in District 4 with Osage City, Pomona and Silver Lake, while McLouth was assigned to District 2, with Pleasant Ridge, Leavenworth Immaculata and Atchison Maur Hill.

Adding to the confusion was the addition of Doniphan West to the DVL this year. Doniphan West is the combination of Highland High and Midway-Denton, both of which had played 8-man football. The Bears and Bulldogs both have the new school on their regular-season schedule this year.

Both McLouth and Oskaloosa are on the way up after experiencing down seasons the last two years because of youth and inexperience. Oskaloosa will be led by senior cornerback and running back Todd Newell, while McLouth has a strong junior class, including quarterback Kevin Stewart.

"It's disappointing because we're on the same playing level," Oskie coach Terry Porter said. "They're in about the same boat as we are. If we would've met 10 times last year, we would've probably split."

Oskaloosa beat McLouth 20-0 at McLouth last year in front of a packed house. Newell led the Bears with 139 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

"At that game, our whole side of the bleachers were full," Porter said. "Your kids want to play in front of a lot of people like that."

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Schedule snafu, part II: Another noticeable schedule quirk involved the Lawrence High vs. Free State volleyball showdown.

This year's version is slated to be played as part of a quad on Sept. 30 -- but not in Lawrence. It's at Olathe East.

According to FSHS athletic director Steve Grant, the quad, which features the two city schools, O-East and Roeland Park Miege, has been in place for several years now, with the host site being determined on a rotating basis. Lawrence High played host last year, and beat Free State 2-0 (28-26, 25-22).

It'll be the second time the city showdown volleyball match won't be in Lawrence. Free State beat Lawrence 2-1 at Olathe East in 2001.

The Sept. 30 quad will precede Lawrence's annual Joan Wells Tournament on Oct. 2, which will feature eight strong squads from both Kansas and Missouri.

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Washburn takes two locals: Washburn University baseball coaches has kept their eyes on the Lawrence area this year.

Two more local players inked with the Ichabods this week. Lawrence High graduate Joe Crane has become the fourth city player to choose Washburn this year, joining Lawrence's Ryan Engel and Carl Lisher and Free State's Tyler Blankenship.

Also, 2003 Santa Fe Trail grad Shane Miles has decided to transfer to Washburn to play both baseball and football. Miles, an outfielder, took a red-shirt season last year at Utah.

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Elston picked: Tonganoxie football coach Mark Elston will soon be off to Canton, Ohio, as the Sunflower State's representative to participate in the fourth annual NFL Youth Football Summit from Friday through Sunday.

One coach from each state and Washington, D.C., was invited to attend the Summit, which will cover topics ranging from injury prevention to fund-raising. Elston applied for the invite by submitting a nomination and essay form through the NFL's high school website, NFLHS.com.

Last year, Elston led Tonganoxie to an 8-2 record and state playoff appearance.

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One more opening: Lawrence High has yet another head coaching vacancy to fill.

The Lions' boys soccer position has recently become available, after athletics director Ron Commons was informed by Matt Makens, Lawrence's Rule 10 co-coach, that he had accepted a meteorologist job at a television station in Wichita. Makens previously co-coached the LHS boys and girls team while he was the weekend meterologist at KSNT in Topeka.

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