Oak Park gets a look at SM East

Dion Clisso/PrepsKC

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: July 22, 2011 - 11:39 PM

For any team the offseason is time to get better. When that team is coming off of a three-win season the summer is a time to put into action all of the hard work of the winter.

Oak Park put some of that work into action Tuesday in a scrimmage with Shawnee Mission East. For the Northmen the scrimmage was an opportunity to go against one of the top teams in Kansas 6A. The morning scrimmage between East and Oak Park helped both teams get better early in summer workouts.

“Going against a team like this should be a confidence builder for you,” Oak Park coach Keith Ross said. “You go into the rest of the season and if you’ve played well against a team like this it should help us.”

The game type atmosphere against the Lancers can only help Oak Park. East has gone from a struggling program to one of the best in the Metro under veteran coach Chip Sherman. When Sherman arrived two years ago at East the Lancer football program wasn’t front and center in most people’s minds. Now they are a program that a team like Oak Park can measure themselves against.

“Chip’s done a great job with that program,” Ross said. “I am very impressed with the things they did today. This was kind of our first time out and going against them made it tough but I’ll tell you what it was a great experience for our kids.”

An event like Tuesday’s two-team scrimmage at Oak Park have become commonplace in the Metro this summer. With rising costs of out-of-town camps and the loosening of the rules by both the Missouri and Kansas state associations these type of meetings are happening all of the time.

Sherman has coached on both sides of the state line and said more of these types of scrimmages and camps will only make teams better.

“It’s absolutely awesome to come over to Missouri and get into full pads and do some good things,” Sherman said. “It’s fun stuff. The main thing is the kids are getting better and all the football in Kansas City is getting better on both sides and that’s good for everybody.”

Dion Clisso is the Managing Editor of PrepsKC. To reach him send e-mail to dion@prepskc.com.