Blue Valley Southwest faces big test at Paola
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Blue Valley Southwest is a young football program in every sense of the word. The program is in its second year and the players are veterans but most still have a year and a half of high school left.
The Timberwolves started last year as the new school opened and took the field with a group dominated by sophomores with just a few juniors and had a hard time finding wins in a tough Eastern Kansas League. How tough was the league well the conference champion Gardner-Edgerton was in the state finals in 2009 and the 2010 5A state champion Blue Valley didn’t even win the conference title.
Southwest came onto the scene and through the first six games managed just one win heading into districts. After spending the season playing 5A and 6A teams in the EKL the Timberwolves moved back down to 4A and won two games and qualified for the playoffs.
That would be the highlight of the first season but there was a lot of promise of things to come.
“It’s been really fun,” junior quarterback Aaron Ramsey said. “We practice our whole season on getting better each week and getting prepared for districts and then getting prepared for the playoffs. I think going up against those harder EKL teams and those bigger schools that just prepares us to play the smaller schools we play in the playoffs.”
This year those sophomores became juniors and even though the team was more experienced and better able to handle the brutal EKL schedule it still only had one win heading into district play. Even though they had one win the team was building confidence and getting ready for district play.
When those district games came around the Timberwolves exploded. They dominated St. James, shutout DeSoto and pounded Bishop Ward to earn the first district title in the two-year history of the school. The shutout was also the first in school history.
When the playoffs began the Timberwolves seemed to get even better. They opened with a win over Baldwin and then rolled Piper 41-14 to advance to tonight’s quarterfinal game at Paola.
This team is led by the play of Aaron Ramsey along with other talented juniors Anthony Miller and Dylan O’Dell. There are many more in a juniors who make an impact on both sides of the ball. In fact there are 25 juniors on this team to go along with just five seniors. Only three of those seniors start so you can do the math.
Southwest coach Bill Lowe said this team has really grown into itself the last two years.
“These kids are really good kids,” Lowe said. “It’s a good group and a fun group and I’ve really enjoyed just watching them grow up.
“Tough times creates character and a lot of people can’t handle that and aren’t prepared for that. Our kids are a special group. They’ve been through a lot of adversity. They’ve been through some tough games and hopefully that has prepared them for things to come.”
Ramsey has been a leader for a team that relies on its quarterback to make a lot of decisions in the heat of battle. The Timberwolves run an option attack that forces Ramsey to make quick decisions and plays to lead the offense.
This season Ramsey and the offense have been prolific at times even against some of the better teams in the Metro. The Timberwolves scored 28 points in a season-opening loss to Bishop Miege, 32 against Blue Valley Northwest, 35 in a win over Blue Valley North and 64 in the win over St. James Academy.
That offense will be tested tonight when it faces the Panthers. Paola has been one of the top defensive teams all season and tonight should be no different. Win or lose this has been a special season for Blue Valley Southwest.
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