Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Look Back and a Strong Move Forward

SM South needs a lot of help but new
HC Brett Oberzan should provide much
needed support. Photo by LJWorld
250 wins in 50 years seems like a number unreachable by many, but in the case of the SM South Raiders, 250 is within near reach. The Raiders who enter their 50th year as a school and their 50th season in the Sunflower League have won 249 games in their 49 seasons of varsity football. 

New Head Coach Brett Oberzan is starting his first year with the Raiders after previously spending the last decade as an assistant under Bob Lisher with the Free State Firebirds. He spent his athletic career as a student-athlete under Lawrence Head Coach Bill Freeman to conclude the end of the 80s era. SM West legend Dick Purdy would succeed in Freeman's footsteps and continue domination in Kansas State Football Titles until the arrival of Olathe North in the late 90s under Gene Weir. 

Of all first year head coaches, Brett Oberzan's first W, will land on the schools 250th win. Of all 33 current, and former SMSD Football Coaches, not one has ever had their first Win fall on an anniversary date or number of any sort including the Shawnee-Mission Indians, or North as we call them today. 

As the dawn of the new football season begins across the KC-metro area, the SM South Raiders will be celebrating their 50th anniversary of sports covering all Fall, Winter, and Spring seasons. These Football Raiders are a great and strong program despite having losing seasons in recent years. The potential of the team is there, a change at the top from principal  to head coach should spark some great life into this program. 

SM South is most notable for a handful of great names to walk through its hallways. Head Coach John Davis, who was the schools only Head Coach for it's first 20 seasons from 1966 to 1985 (131-57-5), two State Titles in 1971, and 1973 finishing 11-0 both times. Steve Little, who was a student-athlete under John Davis, also played in the NFL for the St. Louis Cardinals (now the Arizona Cardinals). The story of Steve Little alone is great, although tragic reminder of how well we can, at times take life for granted. 

Other more recent names many of us know are Rodney Peete, long time NFL Football Quarterback who played his Senior year for the Raiders, and one of our own comedians, the great Rob Riggle. Rob Riggle played for Fred Merrill in the 90's, prior to joining the USMC, and the start of his legendary comedy, and acting career.

These days, you can find former Raiders Head Coach Don Hanna, is an Assistant Coach for the Blue Valley Tigers, while you can find Dr. Brett Potts working crowd control as Principal in his second year for the Blue Valley West Jaguars. Former Raiders Head Coach Ryan Lonergan has returned to SM West, as an Assistant under Tim Callaghan. 

Best of luck to SM South as they begin their 50th year as a school and Football program. 

If you are a SM South Raider Football alumni, we would love to hear of your memories of playing on Friday nights of seasons past and present! 

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