East, Lincoln Prep to settle the IL

By Toriano Porter PrepsKC Staff Writer
Posted: October 15, 2015 - 4:40 PM

All season long, coaches at East and Lincoln Prep have spoken on building a reputation outside of the Interscholastic League.

Two-time defending IL champion Lincoln Prep (4-4 overall, 2-0 in the IL) and upstart East (4-4, 4-0) will square off tonight for the league title, but coaches od each team want more than league-wide respect.

Such is the quest for respectability, Lincoln scheduled of out-of-league foes such as undefeated Hogan Prep (7-0), Oak Grove (6-2), undefeated Center (8-0), University Academy (3-4) and Kansas 5A power St. James (6-0).

The Blue Tigers defeated University Academy and Pembroke Hill (3-5) in out-of-league play, while knocking off Kansas City Central (1-6, 1-2) and Northeast (1-7, 1-3) in league play.

“There is nobody that we are going to see (tonight) and when the playoffs start that is better than Oak Grove or Center,” Lincoln head coach Henry Newell said. “Saint James is probably the best of them all.”

The Blue Tigers have only played two games in the six-team IL. In addition to a season-opening bye due to Southwest Early College Campus’ restriction to play due to a lack of players with enough practices, Lincoln purposely played more outside teams.

“Part of that is us wanting to play good people,” Newell said. “If you don’t play good people you won’t get any better.”

As for the disparity of three league games to five for East, Newell said the bottom line to a league title is a win tonight.

“If we beat them, it ain’t gonna matter,” he said.

For East, the Bears have ended a two-year struggle with a surprisingly undefeated start to league play.

The Bears haven’t faced the out-of-league slate the Blue Tigers have faced, but they did have Hogan, West Platte (3-5), Schlagle (4-2) and Van Horn (4-4) on the schedule.

They’ve handled African Centered College Prep (1-6, 0-3), Central, Southwest (2-5, 1-1) and Northeast in IL play.

A win tonight for the Bears will displace Lincoln as the league’s reigning champion.

“Everybody wants to talk about winning the IL (championship) and all of that, but I want to win a district (title),” Bears head coach Greg Smith said. “The only way the IL gets respect is if you beat teams outside of the league.”

In other IL news, Northeast and Southwest will tangle Saturday to end the regular season on a positive note.

Northeast is on a seven-game losing streak, an obvious trend they hope to break heading into district play next week.

“It’s the last chance for our seniors to get a win against a league opponent,” Vikings head coach Kevin Bair said. “We need to make sure we’re ready for 48 minutes of football.”

The Indians will try to stop a three-game slide after a 2-2 start to the season.

“We have not played a complete game all season,” head coach Roger Franks said. “As I stated early in the season, this is a very talented group, but talent that is not trained, committed, and discipline, will become raw material. That's where we are headed if we don't get it together.

“We only have two weeks to do it.”

ACCP and Central will play Friday to end their league slates.