Perry-Lecompton ready for clash with unbeaten Andale in 3A title game
photo by: Contributed photo
Perry-Lecompton will be competing in its first state championship game in 11 years this afternoon.
Entering the season, the goal for every football team is to be playing on the final weekend of the year. It is not always realistic, especially given how loaded Class 3A was this year. But the Kaws, despite having to replace a ton of key players from last year’s team, have always believed they were capable of getting to this point.
“Everybody has that goal,” PLHS head coach Mike Paramore said. “We were more concerned with the process. What’s it going to take for you to be a state champion. That’s everybody’s goal, so we focus on what we need to do to give you that opportunity.”
But the idea that Perry-Lecompton (9-3) would be playing for its first-ever state title this season would have seemed far-fetched just six months ago.
The Kaws competed in a summer camp at Northwest Missouri State in early June with a number of quality programs from Missouri. PLHS was the smallest school in the event as well.
Still, this year’s trip was especially revealing for Perry-Lecompton. With a number of new players in the mix, the Kaws experienced plenty of growing pains during their first official action of the offseason.
“It was really rough,” PLHS junior Dawson Williams said. “Everyone was starting to get in the groove of things, understanding the game of football and knowing what to do. That was kind of hard.”
On top of incorporating new players into the mix, Perry-Lecompton was also learning a new system. The Kaws were trying to become more balanced on offense after utilizing a lot of quarterback runs during the previous two seasons, in which they won 14 total games.
“There were a lot of growing pains,” PLHS junior Hayden Robb said. “It helped us a lot, but you could definitely tell that we were still learning and we had to grow up a bit.”
Still, it proved to be an important lesson for Perry-Lecompton. The Kaws immediately got back to work and were better for it by the time they competed in their own team camp in July.
“We got it handed to us; there were some good teams up there,” Paramore said. “It was good for us because you can’t simulate this game any other way than putting pads and helmets on.”
In a lot of ways, that type of mindset has really shaped Perry-Lecompton’s season. The Kaws have never lost focus of what they are trying to accomplish, even when things were not always as smooth as they had hoped.
PLHS won just one game through the first three weeks of the season. Perry-Lecompton has now won six games in a row and appears to be playing with a lot of confidence. The balanced offensive attack has been a big reason why the team has played so well as of late.
Quarterback William Welch has thrown for 2,214 yards and 26 scores this season. Parker Stone, Thad Metcalfe, Caidon Quinlan and Williams have all caught at least 20 passes. At the same time, Metcalfe had paced the ground attack with 1,328 yards and 14 touchdowns on 233 carries.
“Teams that we play are all running teams,” Williams said. “(For) a team that throws the ball as much as we do, it is hard for them to cover what we can throw at them.”
PLHS also has plenty of contributors on defense, with most tackles being made by multiple players. Grant Roush, Ryley Besler, Robb and Metcalfe all have at least 100 total tackles on the year for the Kaws.
“We run to the ball,” Paramore said. “We have to — we are not huge. We got guys that love the game. When we go do stats, I don’t know who to give the tackle to. We got five guys there, which is cool. We don’t want one guy making the tackle.”
It has all led to an impressive postseason run by the Kaws. Perry-Lecompton has won its four playoff games by a combined score of 138-75, even though all four opponents have had a better record than PLHS entering each postseason tilt.
Once again, the Kaws will be facing a team with a better record when they face Andale in the title game. Andale, which is 12-0 on the year, has lost only two games since the start of the 2017 season.
Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. today at Hutchinson Community College.
“It hasn’t felt real yet,” Robb said. “But I think Saturday it is going to feel real when I wake up.”
Probable starters for Perry-Lecompton
Left Tackle – #72 Baragan Ratzlaff
Left Guard – #60 Wesley Monaghan
Center – #50 Chet Bartling
Right Guard – #58 Hayden Robb
Right Tackle – #75 Sean Urban
T – #26 Thad Metcalfe
Z – #10 Dawson Williams, #30 Caidon Quinlan
X – #1 Parker Stone, #2 Brad Robb
Y – #15 Hunter Hess
H – #7 Grant Roush, #27 Jaxson Folks
QB – #9 William Welch
DE – #50 Chet Bartling
DE – #60 Wesley Monaghan, #15 Hunter Hess
Tackle – #75 Sean Urban, #72 Baragan Ratzlaff
Nose – #72 Baragan Ratzlaff, #71 Brad O’Trimble
ILB – #25 Ryley Besler
ILB – #58 Hayden Robb
Corner – #30 Caidon Quinlan, #9 William Welch
Corner – #2 Brad Robb, #1 Parker Stone
Free Safety – #10 Dawson Williams, #1 Parker Stone
Strong Safety – #26 Thad Metcalfe
Weak Safety – #7 Grant Roush
Long Snapper – #7 Grant Roush, KO – #29 Ticiano Gonzalez
PAT/FG – #29 Ticiano Gonzalez
PAT/FG Holder – #27 Jaxson Folks
Punter – #1 Parker Stone
Returners – #30 Caidon Quinlan, #10 Dawson Williams, #26 Thad Metcalfe