As the calendar year is winding down to close out 2017, and the past High School Football season, I want to thank all of you again for being loyal viewers, passionate, and vocal fans of the Sunflower League.
Without you, this blog cannot function, and we thank you all from the far corners of Lawrence, KS to Leavenworth counties to our home where we are stationed in the heart of the Sunflower in Johnson County, KS.
What was 2017, has given all of us something to be thankful for.
A blog that is, and always willing to hear you out on any cause. Good, bad, or otherwise, your opinion's matter. Not only are they out in the open on the Message Board, but the view's you take, and participation mean's a great deal as we follow each of our schools great student-athletes, and watching them grow up from a young Freshman Team Football player, to a future Varsity athlete, with four years of service to the High School that your son represent's on Thursday or Friday nights.
Not only given that opportunity, is perhaps your son's sister may be on the Cheer or Drill Team at halftime, or a Teacher who is at the game supporting a student or more who they see throughout the week, the Sunflower League cannot survive without you! The impact you have made on the student-athlete, it be the Football, Baseball, Gymnasts', Volleyball, Baseball, or even Basketball player values that in every way.
To the Mom's, Dad's, Grandparent's, Aunt's, Uncle's, younger sisters, and brothers, Teachers, Administrations, Athletic Director's, Custodian's: Thank you all for your 100% support of your student-athletes who work hard each and every week to give you a great game home or away throughout the Fall Football season.
Looking ahead, we may be off the radar from one week to another, per the Football season, but we may have the opportunity to see each other at a random winter Basketball game, or some time at a Spring sports event later in the school year. If Austin, or myself, happen to run in to you at a Basketball game, or spring sports event as well, don't hesitate to stop and say hi! Although High School Football is our specialty, seeing your athletic participation throughout the school year is always rewarding, and to see all of you succeed in addition to putting on the helmet, and pads in the Fall.
Come next Fall, we (the Sunflower Football News (dot) com) will look forward to introducing three additional new Head Coaches at: Gardner-Edgerton, Olathe Northwest, and SM East.
The 2018 year will be odd as we will be featuring 13 (odd) teams instead of the usual 12 teams that have been a regular feature since Eli Underwood, initially started the blog around 2011.
Thank you all again for talking Sunflower League Football with us in 2017, and we look forward to talking more again in 2018!
Happy New Years folks!
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
SM North Hires Zach Rampy
This morning the Sunflower Football News is honored to announce Zach Rampy, as the newest Head Coach to join the Sunflower League.
Zach is no stranger to Johnson County Football, being raised, and Coached by his father Steve Rampy, who recently was hired by the Lawrence Chesty Lions last week. Zach played his High School Football with the Blue Valley Tigers. Coach Rampy, will be the 13th Head Coach since the Indians joined the Sunflower League in 1954.
After his Senior season of 2006, the Tigers won their fourth and final State Title during Steve Rampy's 25 year tenure finishing 13-0. The Great Bend Panthers were on the losing end of the battle that day with a dominant force of the Tigers building on their great legacy. The Tigers also finished 42-7 in Zach's time as a Tiger prior to moving on to the college game. Blue Valley's overall playoff record was 11-2 from 2003 to 2006.
Prior to joining the Indians teaching staff in 2017, Zach was an Assistant Coach for the Butler County Community College Grizzlies in the KJCAA/NJCAA Football league.
Zach will be one of the youngest Head Coaches in the history of the Sunflower League entering the Fall of 2018. The Indians Football program will gain a lot of Football knowledge and will improve knowing of Coach Rampy's standard of play and what he will be looking for his Indians to accomplish in the seasons ahead.
Congrats to Coach Rampy on becoming the newest Head Coach!
Friday, December 15, 2017
Chesty Lions hire Steve Rampy
This evening, Lawrence Chesty Lions Athletic Director: Bill DeWitt, notified the Twitter world, with the announcement of Steve Rampy as the next Head Coach of the Chesty Lions.
Coach Steve Rampy has spent the last eight (8) seasons as an Assistant Coach with the Pittsburg State Gorilla's where he has spent his Collegiate coaching career after a historic and legendary career with the Blue Valley Tigers where he spent 25 years as Head Coach 1985 to 2009.
In Coach Rampy's time with the Blue Valley Tigers, he coached quite a few future Head Coaches in the pipelines of student-athletes/alumni of the Tigers Football program.
Of most recent time, RIP Eric Driskell (Blue Valley Tigers 2010-2016), Anthony Orrick of Blue Valley Southwest are two of his former players who have Coached in the EKL. One of his other former student-athletes is Brian Schottenheimer (son of former Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach, Marty Schottenheimer.) Schottenheimer is currently with the Indianapolis Colts as the Quarterbacks Coach.
Steve Rampy's Tigers under his tenure began an iconic run in his 25 seasons winning 5A State Titles in 1991-1998-2003-2006. Brian Schottenheimer was the QB for the 1991 State Championship team that includes legendary Head Coach Eric Driskell, and Blue Valley Tigers Athletic Director Matt Ortman as well. Coach Rampy's Tigers record at Blue Valley is 176W-85L-261 GP-674 W%
Congratulations to the Chesty Lions on the hiring of their 19th Head Coach in the history of the Chesty Lions Football program.
Free State Firebirds - 6A
Recently the KFBCA (Kansas Football Coaches Association) released their All-State Selections and notated below are the Sunflower League positions selected: @KansasPregame
Lawrence Free State (3)
L - Spencer Roe
LB - Gage Foster &
LB David Johnson
Additional SFL-EKL Respective selections: Top 11
QB - Carter Putz - Bishop Miege
DL - Miles Emery - Blue Valley North
LB - Nick Allen - Blue Valley Southwest
6A - Offense
L - Nick Orr - Blue Valley North
QB - Dante Jackson - Lawrence
TE - Jackson Heath - Blue Valley Northwest
WR - Dylan Freberg - Blue Valley North
WR - Nijel Roberts - Blue Valley North
6A - Defense
L - Spencer Roe - Free State Firebirds
LB - Gage Foster - Free State Firebirds
LB - David Johnson - Free State Firebirds
DB - Ekow Boye-Doe - Lawrence
SPC - Jackson Likens - Blue Valley
HC - Andy Sims - Blue Valley North
Sunday, December 10, 2017
For those of you who are active on the message boards that are a great way to add your own thoughts and opinions from week to week throughout the year, and the Football season itself, it is appreciated.
Recently, I conducted a study of the SFL Coaches from 1954 to 2017. This study consisted of 14 schools including Leavenworth, as they are en route to the new United Kansas League starting the 2018-2019 school year.
At the High School level, and perhaps any level of paid Coaching from the High School levels on up, it is a very big job. No one says it will be easy to win over an Administration and Athletic Director during a job interview or performance review(s), in addition to winning over young student-athletes, and parents in to your vision, and more as a staff in what school A, B, or C will do to accomplish to start the season off right.
Many factors to numerous to count go in to a job at any level in the Coaching world. Yes, you do Coach, but first and foremost you are hired to teach. Ultimately, that is still the most important job of all in the hallways of a high school across the country. Our League alone, has produced some of the best and most challenged academically powered minds going in to Ivy League schools, the local Junior Colleges across the state of Kansas, MIAA, KCAC, and the big 3: KU, KSU, and MU at one time or another. That includes our sister league the EKL.
There is, and has been, no shortage of great, good, bad, and okay "Head Coaches" that have come and gone throughout the decades of the Sunflower League since 1954. That said, do you as a student-athlete, teacher-coach, Administrator, Athletic Director find it all that important depending on your home life outside of the classroom how important your Coaches are?!
Each one on the Staff is there for a reason, and as a Teacher-Coach to make you, the young man, student-athlete, future husband, Banker, Soldier, Marine, Airmen, Mailman, Supervisor of any future job in the 'real world' you can be in addition to how you are raised at home. Believe me, your parents, guardians, and extended family, all want the best for you. Believe in their love and support, as they will be in the stands cheering you on Friday nights every season. This time is important, as it goes by quick and soon you will be off to college before you know it.
While the Winter sports season is upon us, these Coaching staffs will be planning Spring conditioning, attending 7v7 Camps across the KC-metro, and summer weights prior to the start of school.
DYK's of the SFL as we know it
* 14 Sunflower Head Coaches past and present have won State Titles in the large class enrollment brackets from 1954 to 2017.
* Of those 14, only one (Dick Purdy of: SM West and Lawrence) won a State Title with two different programs/teams.
* Excluding Leavenworth entering 2018 only, there have been 70 total Head Coaches and 31 State Titles won by 13 Head Coaches. Lawrence (11) and Olathe North (8) own the most outright titles won on the gridiron.
* The Football bloodlines of Olathe East (Jeff Meyers and Jesse Owen, both Olathe-North Eagles Alumni) and Olathe Northwest (Principal Todd Dain of SM South) and Chip Sherman are the bloodlines of the SM East Lancers. At no other school within the league is there anything like this. Both schools have yet to produce a State Title in this modern era of the SFL 2010-2019.
* Entering the 2018 season, a record six new Coaches will debut in their first or perhaps a second tenure within the league. This includes TJ O'Neill of Olathe West as his 2017 season was a Junior Varsity season.
*** How hard is it to win a State Football Title in the 6-5A East? - SFL - ***
- Lawrence, since the opening of Lawrence Free State, in the Fall of the 1997-98 school year, the Chesty Lions have yet to return to the State Title game. Under Dick Purdy, their last Title win was the 1995 season two years before the Firebirds doors opened.
- Free State, under the legacy created by Bob Lisher, a Chesty Lion alumni, has yet to win a State Title. He came close once during the 2008 season, but have fallen short due to running in to a strong Derby Panthers in each of the last three years.
- Gardner-Edgerton is new to the SFL and will be out to start with a new Head Coach to start the 2018 season.
- Leavenworth, since 1981 has never fielded a trip to the 5 or 6A State Title game, and only competing in six playoff games mostly under Kevin Kopecky and Mark Littrell.
- Olathe East, played for a 6A State Title in 2005 losing 24-7 to a very good Hutch SaltHawks program at the time led by current ST Aquinas Saints Head Coach Randy Dreiling. The Hawks have yet to return to the Title game since that season. Olathe East had a run of 12 straight playoff seasons in that time from 2002 to 2013.
- Olathe North, the Granddaddy of the Olathe #233 Football programs has won 8 State Titles. Under Pete Flood, the Eagles last won in 2009, only to fall short and attain a second place finish in 2010.
- Olathe Northwest, under Todd Dain and Chip Sherman have yet to reach a State Title in 14 Varsity Football seasons since their start as Varsity in 2004. In 2003, the Ravens, similar to the 2017 Owls competed as Junior Varsity
- Olathe South, under former Head Coach Jeff Gouley, the Falcons won their first State Title during the 2011 season. In three prior trips, led by current Leavenworth Pioneers Head Coach Mark Littrell, the Falcons fell short in 1999 to Garden City, and the Hutchinson SaltHawks, led by Randy Dreiling in 2004 and 2007.
- Olathe West is the baby of the Sunflower League and will begin writing their history in the 2018 season with a strong following.
- For SM East, prior to the 2014 State Championship team, no Lancer Football team had ever sniffed the thought of even thinking it could happen, the Lancers waited 56 seasons when the doors opened in 1958-59.
- SM North last won outright in 1974 for Larry Taylor. It has been 43 Football seasons since the Indians have returned to the State Final. The 2000 and 2016 Indians were the only teams closest to reaching those dreams of making something big happen in the league.
- SM Northwest last won a State Title during the 1981 season, led by legendary Rockhurst Head Coach Tony Severino. On that 1981 team, former SM East Head Coach John Stonner was a member of the Cougars Football team. Since the 2017 season it has been 36 seasons.
- SM South last won a State Title during the 1975 season and second overall (1973) under SM South legend John Davis. John Davis' tenure spanned 20 years from 1966 to 1985 prior to retiring. 42 seasons have passed including this 2017 season, and 17 straight losing seasons starting in 2001.
- SM West recently gained a State Title during the 2012 season. For the first time since the 70's, the Vikings led by 16th year Head Coach Tim Callaghan, were dominate, ironically in a huge win over Randy Dreiling's SaltHawks. Notice a trend here?! Although it has been a rough ride for the Vikings during the 2017 season, they will improve, only to have suffered their second winless season in the history of the Vikings Football program.
Friday, December 1, 2017
Head Coach Ben Bartlett resigns from SM North
Ben Bartlett, the 15th Head Coach in Shawnee-Mission North Indians Football history has resigned, per Athletic Director Kent Glaser.
For our loyal SMSD-North Indians Football viewers, you may recall at the end of the 2013-2014 school year, when Don Simmons abruptly resigned following an 0-9 record in his one and only season. By interim appointment by Retired Athletic Director George Sallas, and then Principal Richard Kramer, the first Indians Football alumni in the history of the program, Ben Bartlett '98 assumed the new role of head Coach.
During Coach Bartlett's time as a student-athlete for the Indians, his time on the field was led by former Head Coach's Bob Stauffer, and Sam Brown.
In an unfortunate turn of events, Ben Bartlett took over a program that had lost a team record 19 straight games dating back to week-9 of the 2011 season and carrying over to the 2014 season and more than halfway through his first season.
Little known to the rest of the Sunflower League, and even within the hallways of SM North, a young Quarterback would soon be appointed to lead the program in Will Schneider. Throughout Ben Bartlett's tenure and in to the 2017 season, Will Schneider's impact was felt. Both on, and off the field and throughout the Sunflower, his legend and leadership built in trust with his offensive line and help from his defense gave the Indian's credibility again that it had not achieved in years.
Lately, the SM North Indians will be known in this decade of Football for their incredible 2016 season. For the first time since 2003, the team fielded six wins and won in upset fashion two back-to-back playoff games against Olathe North and Lawrence.
Ben Bartlett's 12 win's rank him 8th all-time in Indians Football history behind Bryan Speery (1958-1960.) Overall, his numbers place him 54th all-time out of 86 past and present Sunflower Coaches, and 31st all-time in SMSD Coaching history.
Thank you again for all of your great time, work, and dedication to the Indians Football program!