Staying local to learn
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
This summer has looked like most others but this year more than ever there has been one major change in how teams get ready.
Gone are the days when almost every team went to a local college or university for team camps for full scrimmage and drill experience against other teams. These days with the change in rules on both sides of the state lines more teams are staying local and hooking up for one or two days of contact with four or five squads.
These mini team camps are great ways for teams to get some early contact with teams they may see down the line or against teams they will never face in the regular season.
These mini camps have taken place mostly on the Missouri side but many Kansas squads have crossed the border and come over for some good camp experiences.
Blue Springs, Blue Springs South, Staley and others have hosted these types of camps with teams such as Winnetonka, Shawnee Mission East, Shawnee Mission West, Blue Valley Northwest, Fort Osage, Raytown South and even teams from St. Louis like Eureka coming into town.
For Park Hill these types of camps are a key part of early summer work.
“We just use it for an evaluation process,” Park Hill coach Greg Reynolds said. “It gets them kick started to find out what we are trying to do and find out where they are individually and as a team. It helps us find out what we need to work on.”
Blue Valley Northwest has come to Blue Springs the last two seasons and gained some valuable experience playing against the Wildcats and teams like Winnetonka, Shawnee Mission West and this year Fort Osage.
The Huskies were one of the better teams in 6A on the Kansas side last year even though they fell short of the playoffs and this year expectations are high for another successful season.
“It’s a lot of fun first of all just putting the pads back on and getting into football mode,” Blue Valley Northwest coach Mike Zegunis said. “Our kids have done a good job with the 7-on-7, hitting the weight room and trying to get themselves ready for football season but there is nothing like putting the pads on and playing some real football.
“We only get a couple of days to do that. That’s what we choose to do and we do feel like we get a lot out of it. In the offseason the coaches get together and start trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together but a lot of times it’s just speculating. When you actually have the players on the field and you have film you can do a better job of evaluating your strengths and your weaknesses.”
The coaches like what these team camps show them but the players enjoy the chance to get out and play in game-like situations long before the season starts.
“It was pretty good, we did pretty good,” Winnetonka senior Michael Sellaro said. “We could have done a lot better but we have a lot of room for improvement. It’s the first camp so it’s good to see what we can do.”
Most of these camps take place in June but there are a few more coming later this month and PrepsKC will be there with all of the coverage.
Blue Valley West Jaguars
St. Paul Lutheran Saints
Mid Buchanan Dragons
Turner Golden Bears
West Platte Bluejays
Lees Summit North Broncos
Oak Park Northmen
Bishop Ward Cyclones
St. Joseph Lafayette Fighting Irish
Hogan Prep Academy Rams
Platte County Pirates