View From the Press Box: Dion Clisso 10/18
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
When district play starts every year there is always one game that makes you fall out of your chair. You never see it coming. You never expect that team to win that game.
That’s not because you don’t believe in a certain team or in its ability to perform in a game. You just see how teams are playing. You look at what they did against other teams, and you think this is exactly how this district is going to play out.
It’s not an exact science. All you have to do is flip back to page 8 and see how I do each week I the Belfonte Picks With the Pros. Last week I was 6-4, and that is a pretty normal week. Oh there are times when I can go 8-2 or even 9-1, but most weeks are just above .500 mark. Picking high school games is hard. I dare anyone to try and do it every week.
So when Kansas district play kicked off last Thursday night I was certain St. James Academy would come out on the winning side of its game with Spring Hill. The Thunder were 6-0 and had won games in every fashion this year.
Just the week before St. James scored 17 points in the final quarter to top an undefeated Eudora. The Thunder were starting to look like one of the teams to beat in the east side of the bracket in Kansas 4A. Winning the district or at least earning the No. 2 seed seemed like a lock.
Enter Spring Hill. The Broncos had been up and down for most of the season. They earned a good win over Baldwin in week No. 4, but wins had been hard to come by. Along the way Spring Hill had been shut out twice and held to just 14 points in two other games.
Needless to say, when the scoreboard said Spring Hill 24, St. James 0 at the end of the first half, many people were stunned. When the game ended with the Broncos on top 41-12, there were a few shockwaves sent through 4A Kansas football in the Metro.
The three-game district season always provides this type of drama. There is always a team nobody expects to struggle, let alone lose, find its way to the loss column. Add in the fact that one loss can be a killer and a big loss by 13 or more points can put you in a hole you can never recover from, and the drama is heightened.
The other quality that makes these games take on even more importance is they are at the end of the year. They are not spread out through the season with some non-district games sprinkled in. These games stacked on top each other make the last three weeks mean everything.
Hats off to Spring Hill. The Broncos are in control of their own destiny and have turned their season around with one big win. Let’s see what happens next.
Raytown South Cardinals
Fort Osage Indians
Lawrence Free State Firebirds
Mill Valley Jaguars
Park Hill South Panthers
Royal Valley Panthers
Central Heights Vikings
Shawnee Mission South Raiders
Knob Noster Panthers
University Academy Gryphons
Lone Jack Mules