Big changes in the IL

By Toriano Porter
Posted: August 18, 2016 - 8:15 PM



A changing of the guard transpired last season when the East Bears dethroned two-time defending Interscholastic League champion Lincoln Prep.

A season later, the Blue Tigers hoped to ride the arm and athleticism of quarterback Harris Frazier and the power running of Travis Martin back to the top of the IL standings.

With a non-league schedule that includes Hogan Prep, Plattsburg, University Academy and Pembroke Hill, the Blue Tigers are also gunning to make noise outside of the IL.

Despite the setback to East in 2015, the Blue Tigers are 11-1 in the IL over the last three seasons and until further notice is still the team to beat in the league after East graduated most of its seniors.

That core saw the Bears’ program improve from 0-10 in 2013 to 1-9 in 2014 to 5-5 last season, including a perfect 5-0 jaunt through the league. They were a combined 1-9 in IL play in 2013 and 2014.

Parity has set in, Lincoln Prep fourth-year head coach Henry Newell said, so don’t hand the Blue Tigers the title just yet.

“The IL is wide open,” Newell said. “I have no idea who the best team is. I think everyone is about the same.”

Also looking to improve their standing in the five-team league are the Vikings of Northeast and their first-year coach Roger Franks; Allen Supplee’s Kansas City Central Blue Eagles; and Southeast High led by Leon McElrath.

McElrath was the head coach at African Centered College Prep last season and Franks was the head coach at Southwest Early College Campus. Those two schools have closed and merged into Southeast.

Supplee was the Blue Eagles’ offensive coordinator last season. His first year at the top spot has been aided by the donation of uniforms by former Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Donald Stephenson, who played at Central before transferring to Blue Springs to finish his prep career.

Lincoln College Prep

Head coach: Henry Newell, 4th Season  (18-13 overall record)

2015 record (overall/conference): 5-6/2-1

Returning starters (Off/Def): 3/5

Biggest challenge: Many young linemen with a lack of experience and a lack of depth.

Outlook: The Blue Tigers lost 16 seniors from last year’s squad and seven of them are now playing in college. They will need their five seniors to step up if they want to claim another IL crown and make noise in the district playoffs.

Coach’s thoughts: “We expect to be competitive. We will see. Our numbers are down to 28 as of (the start of preseason practice).”

2016 schedule:
8/19 Hogan Prep Academy
8/26 @ Plattsburg
9/3 University Academy
9/9 @ Pembroke Hill
9/16 Southeast
9/23 Northeast
10/1 East
10/7 Kansas City Central
10/14 @ Van Horn

Kansas City Central

Head coach: Allen Supplee 1st year head coach (Supplee was the school’s offensive coordinator in 2015)

2015 record: 2-7/2-2

Returning starters: 7/6

Biggest challenge: Overcoming the past and creating a new culture.

Outlook: The Blue Eagles have been soaking up everything they are being taught and putting that into play on the practice field. Supplee and staff have set the bar pretty high and coaches feel like as long as the team can win every rep in practice then they can convert that into winning reps in games. Put enough of those winning reps together and the Blue Eagles will compete in every game.

Coach’s thoughts: “We have a great core group of kids that have been working hard all summer and through camp to get better every day. We have a dedicated coaching staff and an administration that is backing us so we are able to set our goals and get the tools we need to accomplish them. We also have a great alum in Donald Stephenson that has helped us financially. Now we need to turn that into wins on Fridays and Saturdays.”

2016 Schedule:
8/19 @ West Platte
8/27 @ East
9/3 Northeast
9/9 @ Schlagle
9/17 @ University Academy
9/24 Southeast
9/30 Columbia Hickman
10/7 @ Lincoln College Prep
10/15 @ Hogan Prep Academy

Northeast Vikings

Head coach: Roger Franks 1st year

2015 record: 1-9/1-4

Returning starters: 0

Biggest Challenge: Believing that it is OK to be GREAT! Stop accepting mediocrity as the norm.

Outlook: The jury is still out on this young group of talented athletes. Franks feels that as long as the Vikings improve week to week, they may be able to make a run, and surprise some folks.

Coach’s thoughts: “There is a big difference between a football team versus a football program. When we become a program, there is no doubt in my mind that this young group can really become a contender.”

2016 Schedule:
8/20 Christ Prep
8/26 Richmond
9/3 @ Kansas City Central
9/9 East
9/16 @ O’Hara
9/23 @ Lincoln College Prep
10/1 @ Southeast
10/8 @ Hogan Prep Academy
10/15 Schlagle

East

Head coach: Greg Smith 7th year

2015 record: 5-5/5-0

Returning starters: N/A

Outlook: A core of seniors that saw the Bears improve from 0-10 in 2013 to 1-9 in 2014 to 5-5 last season, including a perfect 5-0 jaunt through the league, are gone.

Coach’s thoughts: N/A

2016 Schedule:
8/19 @ Center
8/27 Kansas City Central
9/2 Hogan Prep Academy
9/9 @ Northeast
9/16 @ Pembroke Hill
9/24 Summit Christian Academy
10/1 @ Lincoln College Prep
10/7 @ Lincoln
10/14 @ Southeast

Southeast

Head coach: Leon McElrath 1st year

2015 record: 0-0/0-0

Returning starters: N/A

Outlook: McElrath was the head coach at African Centered College Prep last season, his first at the school. ACC Prep merged with Southwest Early College Campus to become Southeast. The jury is still out on the new-look squad.

Coach’s thoughts: N/A

2016 Schedule:
8/20 @ Van Horn
8/27 @ Jefferson City Helias
9/2 @ Schlagle
9/10 @ Hogan Prep Academy
9/16 @ Lincoln College Prep
9/24 @ Kansas City Central
10/1 Northeast
10/7 @ Cass-Midway
10/14 East

East and Southeast did not provide information for the IL preview.