Wednesday, December 4, 2019

COY - A Chesty Lion, with a hint of Tiger

Steve Rampy - Sunflower Coach of the Year


Congratulations to Steve Rampy of the Chesty Lions who was named the #SFL COY. 

If the name has a familiar ring to it, you should know it quite well for those residents of Stilwell, KS and southern Johnson County. For those maybe not new to the game of High School Football, or that of Douglass County, the name Steve Rampy is synonymous with the game of High School Football. 

Steve Rampy's Chesty Lions have had a similar turnaround under his leadership that the 2018 Gardner-Edgerton Trailblazers had under Ryan Cornelson in his first season as well taking his student-athletes from a 0-9 season to 10-1. This seasons Chesty Lions went from 1-8 to 8-2 in 24 months. 

Prior to joining the Chesty Lions and his first official year in the Sunflower League, Coach Steve Rampy was a long time member of the Pittsburg Gorillas Football Staff as an Assistant Coach from 2010 to 2017.  

For those of us who follow the Sunflower, and EKL around the State, and at a local level in Johnson County, the Steve Rampy Football lore begins with the Blue Valley Tigers. 

The Blue Valley Tigers Football program began in 1970. Prior to that the High School was named the Stanley Marooners (current Blue Valley District Office #223) in the original High School building. For the first 15 years of Tigers Football, Coaching turnover, sub par results totaled out to five Head Coaches in those 15 years. In that time, the Tigers left the Jayhawk Conference to join the EKL in the fall of 1979-80 school year. 

While the Tigers struggled in their early years, those 15 seasons brought the team to 70-66-1 with those five Coaching changes. During the Steve Rampy first 15 years of his own 25 year tenure, the Tigers were 104-48 with State Titles in 1991 and 1998. A difference in 34W (-18L) 

After one season as an Assistant Coach for the Tigers during the 1984 season, Steve Rampy was given the keys to the ship to lead the Tigers. At the time, there was only one Blue Valley High School, two Olathe's, and five SMSD's to go around with a young and fledgeling EKL consisting of the Bishop Miege Stags, ST Aquinas Saints, and Olathe North and South. Both Olathe's left for the Sunflower League during the 89-90 school year. 

Once the position was filled by Steve Rampy, the next 25 Tigers Football seasons were all part of history. In those 25 years, the Tiger won State Titles in 1991 (12-0) 1998 (12-0) 2003 (12-1) and 2006 (12-0). The Tigers finished second in 1992-1997 and 2005. 

Notable names that played for Steve Rampy are known around the Teaching and Coaching circles to this day. Brian Schottenheimer (son of Marty) formerly the Head Coach of the Kansas City Chiefs was the Quarterback for the 1991 State Championship team. Tigers Athletic Director Matt Ortman, and also former classmate RIP (Eric Driskell) also played for Steve Rampy before entering the education field after graduating from the Blue Valley School District. 

Former Tigers-alumni Eric Driskell, went on to follow in Steve Rampy's footsteps for seven season with a record of 70-17 in 87 games played and won State Titles in 2010 and 2013. 

Currently, the Rampy name carries on in son Zach Rampy, who recently has completed his second season with the SM North Indians Football program. 



Sunday, December 1, 2019

2019 Champions - Thank you for a great day!

Congratulations to all of our Kansas Class Football Champions for the 2019 season:

6A - Derby Panthers
5A - Mill Valley Jaguars
4A - Bishop Miege Stags

It is no secret, at least state wide, that these three Football Champions have earned their State Titles proud. I had the opportunity to sneak away from a usually known day of work, to see the Derby Panthers for the second time in my post-season coverage of the 6A State Title game. Having witnessed them in awe the first time back in 2013 against my old SM East Lancers, it was a great game, and one I will never forget.

Saturday, I quietly made my way around Emporia as a fan of the game, and taking a lot of mental notes of how joyous this occasion can be.

A few years back, it was an honor to be in the presence of the 6A State Football Lancers win their first ever title in their Football history, and with a bunch of alumni, and friends dating back to elementary school, and the current Lancers in the stands cheering on their classmates!

With this decade of High School Football on its way of closing out, I knew back in July, or August, I would be following the Olathe North Eagles as they played in their 100th Varsity season. Although I did not attend Olathe North, it has always had a fascinating Football history from my Freshman year of High School in 1996-1997 with the young Arland Bruce III leading the way, and later towards the most known of the Running Backs Darren Sproles, who ran all over the Sunflower League defenses that came his way from 1999 to 2001. Maurice Mack, James Franklin, and now a young Arland Bruce IV carrying on honorably in the family tradition of Eagles Football lore.

It was an honor to be out there as a fan, ditching the computer for the car, and going in proud to see to fantastically coached Football programs, and even further, great student-athletes representing the State at the 6A level.

The Olathe North Eagles Football tradition is strong, and has been pounding the gridiron hard for 100 years. For the Eagles, the tradition will not stop, and continue strong as we head in to the next decade of play for 2020 to 2029. Schools will come and go, and legacies will live on in stories to tell for years to come, and long after the student-athletes playing days are complete. You are the flagship program of Olathe #233.

Although the final whistle blew at the end of the game, and the City of Derby, KS once again held up the 6A State Trophy in which they deserved, it is a blast to see the smiles on the faces of the students, student-athletes, staff, and parents who are cheering their city on. The City of Olathe, KS will once again be preparing for the 2020 season ahead, as the 6A West won 6 of the 10 6A Trophies this past decade.

A quick run down:

2010 - Wichita-Heights defeats Olathe North 48-14
2011 - Olathe South defeats Wichita Heights 41-37
2012 - SM West defeats Hutchinson 19-14
2013 - Derby defeats SM East 28-21
2014 - SM East defeats Hutchinson 33-14
2015 - Derby defeats Blue Valley 27-14
2016 - Derby defeats Blue Valley 17-14
2017 - Blue Valley North defeats Derby 49-42
2018 - Derby defeats Blue Valley North 24-16
2019 - Derby defeats Olathe North 63-26

West 6-4, East 4-6

It is no secret, this blog represents the Sunflower League and a touch more in representing the East bracket. Ill forever be indebted to our Athletic Directors, Coaches, and Coaching staffs when I reach out for a bit of information, or in turn, they reach out to me in wanting to know a little more of a back story for a match up, and perhaps a local school newspaper who always comes to find me a few times throughout the year wanting to learn more about their school and their gridiron Football traditions.

Thank you all!




Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Simone Award Nominees - 2019

Representing many of our best Football student-athletes over the Kansas and Missouri State lines of play.

Nominees representing the SFL-EKL:


Simone Award 

Ty Black Jr. - SM Northwest Cougars
Arland Bruce IV - Olathe North Eagles
Tyler Bowden - Free State Firebirds
Devin Neal - Lawrence Chesty Lions
Tyron "Tank" Young - ST Aquinas Saints


Fontana Award

Brison Cobbins - Bishop Miege Stags


Buchanan Award

Tuner Corcoran - Free State Firebirds
Ethan Kremer - Mill Valley Jaguars
Cade Lautt - SJ Academy Thunder
Christian Mozingo - ST Aquinas Saints
Taylor Warner - Gardner-Edgerton Trailblazers


Bell Award

Brian Burns - Bishop Miege Stags
Max Van Meter - Bishop Miege Stags


Taylor Award

David Brown - Blue Valley West Jaguars
Shawn Hendershot - Blue Valley North Mustangs
Daniel Jackson - Bishop Miege
Ty Lindeman - SM Northwest Cougars
Chris McGee - Lawrence Chesty Lions


Congrats to all of these young men representing their High Schools this year.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Kansas Football State Finals - 2019

To close out this decade in style:

6A

1 - DER (12-0) - 2- ONE (10-2) @ Emporia State-Welch Stadium - ONE leads the series 1-0
* This is not the first time these two have met. "Back in my day..." scenario dates back to the completion of the 2002 State Title game, and Gene Weir's first retirement from Olathe #233. This years Eagles continue to build on one of their finest seasons should they be able to knock off the mighty Derby Panthers, whose legacy is already cemented by the leadership of Brandon Clark and his dynasty led Panthers.

At the end of the 2002 season, the final score was 41-12 over the Tom Young (Retired) 11-2 Panthers.

For the Eagles, this will be their first trip back to the 6A Title game since the 2010. During the 2009 season in which they defeated the Wichita-Heights Falcons under Eagles alumni Head Coach Pete Flood with a 13-0 record. The 2010 season also saw a return to the 6A Final, in which the Eagles fell to the same Heights Falcons and a win for the western side of the bracket.

Although the consecutive three-peats did not occur after Gene Weir retired in the 2010 to 2019 decade of play, the Eagles have reeled off an 18-8 post-season record entering week-13 against the Brandon Clark Panthers.

This years Olathe North Eagles are playing in their 100th Varsity season.

State Titles
Derby Panthers (4) 1994-2015-2016-2018
Olathe North Eagles (8)
Gene Weir (6) 1996-1997-1998-2000-2001-2002
John McCall (1) 2003
@ Pete Flood (1) 2009

5A

1 - WNW (12-0) - 4 - MVJ (9-3) @ Pittsburg State-Carnie Stadium - First meeting, 0-0
* There is always a first, and last for everything in the world. In this match up, the Grizzlies will take on the Jaguars for the first time in both schools history. For those who are not aware, Mill Valley opened in the Fall of the 2000-2001 school year in the De Soto School District #232.

Both Football programs are no strangers to success. In 2018, the Grizzlies fell to the eventual State Champion ST Aquinas Saints of the EKL in a tough fought battle. For the Jaguars, success came to them in back-to-back 5A Titles in 2015 and 16, over Bishop Carroll, and Goddard-2OT in two very intense games. Joel Applebee of the Jaguars, is in his 10th season, in which his kids have achieved a record of 5-7 vs. the Saints, and 4-7 vs. Randy Dreiling which is the best opposing record of any EKL coaching staff vs. the Saints since the 2014 season.

Following the completion of this game, and the 19-20 school year, the Jaguars will be entering the Sunflower League returning the league to 14 teams.

State Titles
Wichita-Northwest
Mill Valley (2) 2015-2016

4A

4 - BMS (10-2) - 2 - ADC (11-1) @ Hummer Sports Complex-Topeka - BMS leads series 1-0
* Sound familier? For those recent alumni this decade, these two have previously met.

That meeting came during the 2015 State Title game, and the second of five Titles in a row. The Panthers, are led by first year Head Coach Derrick Tuttle, who is only the second Head Coach in the Panthers history. Coach Tuttle's predecessor Tom Audley had his teams close a few times, losing the Stags in 2015 the Panthers finished 10-3.

State Titles:
Andover Central
Bishop Miege (9) 
Len Mohlman - 1972-1975-1977
Tim Grunhard - 2009
@ Jon Holmes - 2014-2015-2016-2017-2018

@ = Alumni

Congratulations to everyone playing in their respective State Finals!

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Week-12-State Semi-Finals

6A

East
5 - BVT (8-3) vs 2 - ONE (9-2) - ONE leads the series 10-5
* While these two hail locally from Stilwell, and Olathe, both have seen each other often since 2000 to 2019. Of the 15 times they have met, most of their games have come after weeks-8 and 9 respectively. The Tigers will have a tough task to take on and stop Arland Bruce IV with is dominance this year from game to game played. Should the Tigers win this will be their first trip back to the 6A State Title game since the 2016 season under RIP Eric Driskell. For the Eagles, their last trip dates back to the 2009

West
1 - DER (11-0) vs 3 - TOP (10-1) - DER leads the series 2-0
* Prior to the 2015 season, these two schools had never met. Now for the third time in as many seasons, the Trojans will have an opportunity to knock off the heavily favored Panthers of Derby. While the Panthers have won the previous two games agains the Trojans, this could be a game that goes down to the final possession of play. Who will win? This should be a fantastic game to see.


5A
East
4 - MVJ (8-3) vs 2 - STA (10-0) - STA leads the series 9-4
* These two EKL foes are no strangers to great battles on the gridiron. While the Saints do lead the series, the Joel Applebee led Jaguars have been a thorn in the side of the Saints Football program since the beginning of this decade. Randy Dreiiling's Saints have lost a handful of big games to the Jaguars late in post-season play in his tenure. This game will be great to watch on the field of play as the Saints will host the Jaguars for the third time in post-season play.

West
1 - WNW (11-0) vs 3 - MZE (10-1) - WNW leads the series 4-3
* In seven prior meetings, the Grizzlies and Eagles will have the opportunity to meet again. Both Gary Guzman's and Steve Martin's post-season tenure will tell a lot about how this game will be played. Both Coaches have very good talent along their respective offensive, and defensive starters. For the Grizzlies, their defense has been one of the best all season long in the 6A west. This game too, will come down to the final stretches unless one can pull away. The Eagles have a to face some adversity from the start to get on the board quick, and to keep the ball away from the Grizzlies offense which has averaged 52 ppg.

4A
East
4 - BMS (9-2) vs. 2 - PAO (11-0) - BMS leads the series 2-0
* Who has the upper hand? Roeland Park or the City of Paola? While this will be their third meeting all-time, the Panthers have previously met Tim Grunhard (2009), and Jon Holmes (2015) one time. In those two previous meetings, both led to a Stags Football Title, then a few more were added soon after. Can the Panthers upset the Stags? As this decade of play is down to its final couple of weeks, the Panthers and Stags have both had incredible records to be proud of. For the Stags, this will require some hard work on the road to make things happen on the scoreboard.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Week-11-State Quarter-Finals aka Sectional


6A-E

8 - BVN (5-5) vs 5 - BVT (7-3) @ BVT - BVT leads the series 28-7
* Rematch W#2: DYK that this is only not the only time these two have met twice in one season? Fortunately those are recent times as it has taken place in 2016 and 2017. Even though the Mustangs have had an impressive, and dominating run this decade with a State Title over the Derby Panthers, the Tigers are 9-1 since the 2012 season.

2 - ONE (8-2) vs 6 - BVW (7-3) @ ODAC - ONE leads the series 4-0
* The last time these two met was in 2017 in week-10. In all four meetings, the Jaguars have been competitive despite the turnover of Head Coaches that the Eagles have brought against them.  Can the Jaguars stop the Eagles? It will be hard to stop Arland Bruce IV but it will take a lot of work to accomplish.  This will not be an easy game, but high scoring it can.

6A-W

1 - DER (10-0) vs 4 - MAN (9-1) @ DER - DER leads the series 5-0
* Having met in five previous meetings, the Panthers and Indians are quite the match up when they cross paths. These five meetings have all taken place in the post-season weeks 9 to 12 throughout this last decade of play. Can Joe Schartz' Indians make  an upset happen?! For now, it is too early to tell, but underestimating the Indians could be what ultimately ends a possible Panthers dynasty?

7 - JCB (8-2) vs 3 - TOP (9-1) @ TOP - JCB leads the series 28-10
* Outright. For the first time ever, the Trojans will have to meet the Blue jays in post-season history. Coach Walt Alexander of Topeka, knows that this will not be easy. To get in to the 6A Final Four, he will have to overcome a powerful Junction City offensive unit. For many seasons now, Randall Zimmerman has ran the table at Junction City and conquering everything in their Centennial path. The Blue jays unlike the Trojans are no stranger to post-season success. In Zimmerman's 25 years with the Blue jays they are 10-11 in post-season play with a State Title in 2008.

5A-E

1 - DES (10-0) vs 4 - MVJ (7-3) @ DES - MVJ leads the series 4-0
* 15 years or the Battle of the #232: This 2019 season to close out the decade seems like it all started out of the blue in 2010. As the decade began and the Jaguars ushered in a new Head Coach of Joel Applebee, and the De Soto Wildcats were going through many ups and downs in their program times were about to change. In 20 seasons of Football, the Jaguars made leaps and jumps from their start in the Kaw Valley League, Independent (somewhat) and in to the EKL, while the De Soto Wildcats, quietly went about their business improving each and every year under Brian King. While the Jags have two 5A State Titles under their belt in 15 and 16, the Wildcats have the opportunity to snatch the dream away and continue to rise up on the east playoff bracket.

2 - STA (9-0) vs BSW (3-7) @ STA - STA leads the series 6-2
* Undefeated. Yes. The 2019 regular season the Saints continue to defeat one after another on the opposing sideline. Since 2010, the T-Wolves are 2-6 in all all-time meetings. The T-Wolves Anthony Orrick is 1-4. Although this will not be an easy game, the Saints under Randy Dreiling have lost to the T-Wolves once in his tenure as Saints Head Coach back in 2016. This will not be easy for the T-Wolves playing on the road, but an upset is always just around the corner in a playoff race.

4A-E

1 - TON (10-0) vs 4 - BMS (8-2) @ TON - First meeting, series tied 0-0
* Entering Friday's game, this will be the first ever meeting of the Chieftains and Stags. This game will not be easy for the Stags as the Chieftains have played very well at home all season. That said, Bishop Miege has had their fair share of success on the road as well. This years season of play by Al Troyer's Chieftains has been the best in his eight year tenure.


Best of luck to all of the teams in tonights games!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Week-10-Playoffs

6A-E

1 - GET (8-1) vs 8 - BVN (5-4) - BVN leads the series 5-4 @ GET
* A familier match up of the minds. The Trailblazers entered the EKL (now Sunflower) during the 2010 season. From 2010 to 2013, the Trailblazers dominated the gridiron with former QB Bubba Starling. Following his graduation, the Mustangs ran off five straight wins from 2014 to 2018 with a reversal of fortune boasting the former QB leadership of Graham Mertz. This will be a very exiting game to see, and can the Mustangs stop the Trailblazers in their tracks? TBD as these two will play in a great environment at the Trailblazers home field.

4 - OEH (7-2) vs 5 - BVT (6-3) - OEH leads the series 1-0 @ CBAC
* As close as Hawks, and Tigers are geographically in the burbs of Johnson County, these two strong teams will be meeting for only the second time in their brief history. Although CBAC has not hosted a great number of post-season Football games since its inception in 2003/04, this will be a very good game. Look for the Hawks to continue to bring a fast defense, and the Tigers, historically, bringing a fantastic defensive game to play. Whoever finishes on top in this game will take on the winner of the Trailblazers/Mustangs winner of which will be a familiar foe.

2 - ONE (7-2) vs 7 - WYN (4-4) - WYN leads the series 9-5-2 @ ODAC
* Two of the originals. These two have a story that dates back to the 1922. To this day, that still matters as these two will meet for the first time since the 1938 season. Although they did not meet in the Fall of 1939, it would be 80 years until their next game entering this 2019 post-season.

DYK? At one time, the Wyandotte Bulldogs were led by former Eagles Head Coach Percy Parks, who led the Bulldogs from 1927 to 1938. His record against Olathe was 9-3 in those 12 consecutive years of coaching. Percy Parks succeeded AJ Hurt at Olathe prior to leaving for the Wyandotte Football position.

3 - SNW (7-2) vs 6 - BVW (6-3) - First meeting, series tied 0-0 @ SMN
* In another great match up to round out the 6A-East, the Cougars and Jaguars have found a fountain of revival within their Football programs. In previous seasons, both have struggled on all sides of the ball, and quietly climbing their way back up the standings in their respective leagues. Both teams student-athletes bring a great work ethic to the field, as you will see how evident their passion is for each and every play called. Down the road, these two could meet many times over in post-seasons to come.

6A-W

4 - MAN (8-1) vs 5 - LFS (8-1) - LFS leads the series 2-1 @ MAN
* Four. With two great programs meeting for the third time, these two met last year in week-11 for the chance to play in the Final four in the 6A State. The Indians won convincingly 41-19 to end Bob Lisher's career with the Firebirds. For Coach Kevin Stewart, this will not be an easy game, but this is an opportunity to redeem themselves on the gridiron.

3 - TOP (8-1) vs 6 - LAW (8-1) - LAW leads the series 60-22-6 @ TOP
* Two of the states finest High Schools at the large class level will meet for the 94th all-time meeting. While one is the located at the State Capitol, the other is home of the Jayhawks. Both schools met for the first time in the Fall of the 1910-1911 school year, which was the established known start of the Trojans Football team. Historically, and for many years, the Dynasty of large class Football, started and ended with the Chesty Lions. Many of those teams met on a daily basis with the Trojans even was the Chesty Lions joined the Sunflower League in 1954, both continued as non-con games. For those who are curious, the Chesty Lions, they are 8-2 in their last 10 games overall vs: Frank Wilson (1995-1999), Jim Collins (2000-2002), Keith Bell (2006-2007), Shane Burns (2008) and Walt Alexander (2007-Present).

5A-E

4 - MVJ (6-3) vs 5 - OWO (6-3) - First meeting, series tied 0-0 @ MVJ
* While this will be a first, it will certainly not be a last. Both teams have had exceptional seasons, and the Jaguars, of late are 15-7 in post-season play under Joel Applebee. The young Olathe West Owls, are doing something big of their own representing the #233 with an already stellar post-season work of their own. For the Owls, they will continue to be out to prove their success is far from any fluke by any means. Since 2010, and two more High Schools added within the Johnson County lines, only the Owls have reeled off more post-season success than the other two in less than 24 total calendar months of being open or as a Varsity Football program.

2 - STA (8-0) vs 7 - SJA (5-4) - STA leads the series 5-0 @ STA
* In a big Holy War Showdown of a similar type, the Thunder will be taking on a powerful Saints Football program. For the week ahead, the hallways of both schools will be buzzing, and competition in the air for bragging rights to close out the season. Will the Saints continue their roll deep in to the playoffs? Can the Thunder play spoiler for a second time in one season?! With a five game winning streak dating back to the 2015 post-season, the Saints would like to calm the Thunder on the home gridiron.

14 - BSW (2-7) vs 7 - FLS (5-3) - First meeting, series tied 0-0 @ FLS
* For the T-Wolves, this is their first playoff win since the 2016 season, and second for Anthony Orrick as the T-Wolves take on a challenge of a team in the FL Schlagle Stallions. This decade of Football in KCK #500 has been one of the Stallions to own. Although they did not win the KCAL title, losing to the Washington Wildcats (who lost to the T-Wolves) have had a successful and dominant decade. This will be a test for both, as SW is the lowest seed in the history of the new playoff format to reach the Quarterfinal round in either 6 or 5A classes. That being said, do not underestimate a fast, and thriving group of talented student-athletes on the FL Schlagle gridiron.

4A-E

4 - BMS (7-2) vs 5 - BSB (7-2) - BMS leads the series 23-12-1 @ BMS
* DYK?! At one time these two were together in the same league (original EKL). DYK a former Bishop Miege Football State Championship Head Coach Len Mohlman left Roeland Park, KS to become an Administrator and Athletic Director for the Braves prior to his retirement after decades of commitment to education? For the first time in year (1993 to be exact, 44-14 win) led by Paul Brown these two will meet again.