Football is a Team Sport

I was standing with one of our opponents assistant football coaches visiting, just as the players were taking the field for the first time to warm up during pregame. One of the football players came over to us and said, “Coach, one of my shoulder pad straps has come undone, can you help me?” The assistant coach and myself pulled up the front of the players jersey and restrapped his shoulder pad strap to the proper place.

After the player ran off to warm up, I remembered back to the night our coaches brought out the game day pants and jerseys. The very first time I would dress out in varsity game day clothing. It was essentially a practice session putting on our game day gear. As a sophomore, I was terribly excited to be putting on that jersey that I had wanted to wear for years. In my minds eye I could see the guys from the past years who had worn my given jersey number.

The pants were incredibly tight to get over my legs and hip pads. Once I put my should pads on there was no way I could get the jersey over my pads. I had to ask for help. Everyone else needed help putting the jerseys on also. We asked coach, “Why the clothes were so small and tight on us?” He said, “I want them tight on you, so nobody can grab your jersey and easily pull you down.”

Football is the greatest team sport because you have to have help to even dress out in game day gear and if your shoulder pad straps come undone you may need help to put them back together.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10: Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.


Rankings October 31, 2017

This will be the final rankings until after the season is all over with in about four weeks. The real rankings are about to happen during the playoffs when the teams actually meet each other on the field of play. The best ranking system there is.

Tonight the 3A schools will begin the playoffs and for the final time ever will be playing in that Tuesday night playoff game. Next year none of the classes will be playing a 3 game schedule in a 10 day window of time. And to me, that is a very good thing to be rid of.

With tonight being Halloween, I have been wondering if we might have some very big upsets and it would be an awful frightening thing for a team that is expected to win tonight and instead they end up losing!

Halloween and high school football on the same night is always a tough thing to do in small town Kansas. What do you do? Take the kids trick or treating for a short while and then go to the game? Momma, a lot of the times, sees the Halloween thing as way more important than the local high school football game, unless her kid is involved in that game!

So get that trick or treating done early tonight and get to the football game. Bring a blanket because it is going to be cold tonight!

You can find this week’s rankings here.

Past History

Football glorifies the past history of great teams and players. ESPN does 30 on 30 stories from the past. High school and college programs honor past state and national champions. The media books of those programs tell the past history of these great teams and players. Telling the past history of your team helps you to recruit young players into the future.

In Christianity and our churches today are we telling our past history? Do we remember those who have gone before us and who have given everything, including their lives, in the attempt to further Christianity? Does your church have its roots in all the scripture and in the past history of the church? When I say history, I mean all the way back to the beginning of our story, Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, David, Jesus and the Apostles. Also the past 2,000 years of both the good and the bad of church history.

We need to remember the past and the difficulty of being Christians. Jesus said the only way to the Father was through him. Some today have difficulty believing that statement. Because of that statement other groups want to make fun of us, persecute us and even kill us.

Maybe life in America has become too easy. Most of us have everything we need so what do we need God for? Who wants to be persecuted, made fun of or killed for being a Christian? Although, when difficulty does come to the U.S.A. such as September 11, 2001 or a great hurricane, or other weather phenomenon, people flock back to church to pray, to remember, to ask for forgiveness, to ask for God’s blessing.

Stephen was the first Christian martyr. His story is told in Acts 7. Stephen tells our early history and is stoned to death for it. Why would these men from the past die for this story?

Rankings October 24, 2017

There was not much to change in the rankings this week except for Class 4A D-II where Holcomb defeated Pratt, last week’s number one team. So we have a new number one team this week and that is the Scott City Beavers. Other than that, the number one team in each poll remains the same.

Rankings are a fun thing to look at all the way through the season. Just to see what the Kansas Media Ranking team thinks about who should be in the top 5 each week.

Back in the old days, before the playoffs began in Kansas in 1969, the rankings decided who was the state champion in each classification. Now in those days you did not have a Kansas Media Ranking team. Each newspaper in the state, if they had high school football rankings in their paper, would decide the state champions. The newspapers that had rankings, that I remember, were Salina, Hutchinson, Topeka and Wichita.

When KSHSAA started the football playoffs it was by a point system. If your team was in a league of mainly 2A schools and you were a 3A school you were never going to make the playoffs, even if you went undefeated, because you lost points for playing smaller schools. If you were a 2A school in a 3A mainly league, you could make the playoffs with a couple of losses, because you got extra points for playing bigger schools.

Many times did an undefeated team not make the playoffs in those point system playoffs.

Then KSHSAA started the district playoffs system, but only one team could make the playoffs from that district. Oh my, then if you had two great teams undefeated in a district, one of those mighty teams was going to sit at home during the playoffs after they played each other in district play.

Then KSHSAA decided to let two teams from each district make the playoffs. Ask Wellington about that. They were the first team to win a state championship by making the playoffs after taking second in their district as I recall it.

Today we have the 6A and 5A classifications having no district play, but being ranked in order after 8 games to decide who plays who in the 9th game of the year for the start of the playoffs.

And the one biggest thing we no longer have in our playoffs, starting next year, is the Tuesday night game. I personally was against that 3 games in 10 days philosophy KSHSAA had for years, because they were not thinking about the kids who actually had to play in those games.

My hope is that we continue to have leadership from the schools that belong to KSHSAA to keep tweaking the system and searching for a better way to do things in all the sports as we go into the future.

So enjoy this weeks rankings, but thank goodness they don’t decide who is the actual state champions in each classification!

You can find this weeks rankings here.

Rankings October 17, 2017

This past week we were in Topeka and when it came time to come home on I-70 we decided not to do that. We instead went into Northeast Kansas and spent some time in Lawrence and Atchison, before heading west on highway 73 and then up to highway 36.

We visited the Abbey, the Catholic Church and the Episcopal Church in Atchison. That Episcopal Church was built in 1868 and is still in use and met Father John.

As we headed west on highway 36 our destination was St. Mary’s Church in St. Benedict, Kansas. (here is a link to the church) We had heard of this church before and read about it online. It did not disappoint and the pictures online really don’t do it justice, you must see it in person to really appreciate the artwork and the paintings.

When we go to church, the idea is to worship God and catch a glimpse of heaven here on earth. The church in St. Benedict does that. You are surrounded by the saints of the past in unbelievable beauty.

When we left St. Mary’s Church in St. Benedict we decided to stop at some other big Catholic Churches in the towns as we headed west. We stopped in Hanover and Leoville. At each church we lit a candle and prayed for our children, friends that are having medical issues and high school football players across the state of Kansas, that there would be no major injuries from the football games in which they played.

Our trip home on Friday was a long one. We missed the local high school football game because of it. But we were thinking about the games and listened on the radio and that also was a nice experience.

This weeks rankings can be found here.

Your Players are not Navy Seals

Nice article written by Head Strength Coach at Texas Tech, Rusty Whitt.

Quote, “These Special Operation Force truths come to mind while watching many high school and college programs attempt to mimic Special Operations Forces training tactics. Any coach must factor in safety and efficacy elements when attempting to develop a challenging training/ indoctrination scenario.”

Here is your link to the article.

Here is a link to an article called five minutes with Rusty Whitt.

Rankings October 3, 2017

It would be nice if every able male body in the school would go out for high school football, but it never happens. High school football needs all kinds of kids on the team. Big and tall and short and thick or thin we could find a place for every kid in the school on the team. The positions on a football team are as varied as the kids themselves in the school.

This thought always hits me about half way through the high school football regular season and we hear about local kids being injured and not being able to suit up for the next weeks game or for the rest of the season. We go to play the game on Friday and on our opponents team we see they have several injuries where kids are not suited up also.

This thought takes me back to my 8th grade year of school. In gym class we had to sit on a bench in the locker room by alphabetical order. On my right side sat the best athlete in our school. On my left side sat the next best athlete in our school.

The kid on my right died during the spring of that 8th grade year of cancer. The kid on my left quit sports after that 8th grade year because he hated the coaches. Actually, he was already drinking and drugging in 8th grade and he died an early death in his 40’s.

It is a privilege to get to play sports when you are physically able to play. Football is my favorite, but most all kids could play some sport in school or be involved in extracurricular activities.

Life is short. You will most likely get out of high school and have to go to work for 40-80 hours every week of your life for the next 40 or 50 years if you live that long. Why not play and I mean play an organized team sport for a few years before the grind of work begins. Play is what some of us adults still need to do, but as we get older work gets more of our time and play is a whole lot less in our schedule.

Football is a challenge to play. When you come up against someone in a football game that is as big and as strong and tough as you are, you will have a real challenge. The things you can do in a football game physically, would get you kicked out of school if you did them in the hallways. Every young guy wants to know where he stacks up in the physical department. Do you have what it takes to go toe to toe with another guy? You can find that out in football practice and in a football game and it is all legal.

You can find this weeks rankings at this link.

Rankings September 26, 2017

It is hard to believe that this is the final rankings for the month of September and this Friday night is the last game for the month. Time is flying by.

I still say that we love high school football because we don’t get enough of it. And that is a good thing. Volleyball, basketball, tennis, baseball, softball, golf etc. can be played year round in club or individual sports. Actual padded up and real high school football can only be played in the fall through your local high school. Sure we can lift weights and go to camps and play 7 on 7 but that is just preparatory work for the real season of football.

The great majority of kids who play high school football are done at the end of their career in high school. Just about the time they get really good at playing and understanding the game it is over.

So you young guys make the most of your short football career. Enjoy every minute of it. My thought would be to get to practice as early as you can and stay late as you can until the coach runs you off. Don’t you ever think that football practice is a drudgery. Think now like this might be the last practice you ever get to have. Every Friday night play like it is the last game you will ever get to play in. A year from now, you seniors will wish you could dress out with your home town team just one more time and take the field to play just one more game of the sport you will come to miss.

Now for the rankings this week, they can be found at this link.

Get the Weak Stuff out of Here!

During my college years at K-State, the guys I hung out with were all former very good high school basketball players. The guys were from Lyons, Topeka, Dighton, Scott City, Parsons and Shawnee Mission South as I recall. That guy from SM South was recruited by every college in the state to come play basketball out of high school.

They were all forwards and post players who were just awesome basketball players and I was a bench warmer in high school. They would come get me and tell me they needed a guard to distribute the ball to them. So I would go with them, just because I loved to watch them, once they got the ball in their hands.

Now this was in the days before Bramlage Coliseum and before K-State had the new Recreation building (Chester Peters building). All we had was Ahearn Fieldhouse upper and lower gyms. Every basketball goal had a half court basketball game going on, every night of the week except on Wildcat game nights during basketball season. The only court and goals that were allowed to be full court was the main court floor in Ahearn where the Cats played.

To get some court time, you had to challenge the team who won the last game at that particular goal. That meant you sat and waited until it was your turn to play and challenge. You could go anywhere in the building, but all the goals had games going on and a challenger waiting to play.

My group of guys only wanted to play in one place in Ahearn and that was the main court floor where we could play full court. The only problem was the main court was ruled by the K-State football players. The football players, who played on center court, were also former very good high school basketball players. I don’t remember any team ever beating them, but we kept trying.

Being lazy college kids we always played a zone defense. The over aggressive football players always played man to man defense, which we used against them with back door plays.

One night I crossed half court quickly with the ball. My defender, who I had got a step or two on him, was just too my left and behind me a little. As we approached the top of the key, my teammates saw what had happened and they all four broke to the outside at once. Their defenders all followed, so I went right down the lane for what I thought would be an uncontested lay-up. About the time I released the ball, a defender, who was guarding the post player to my left, on the baseline ran back into the lane and jumped and blocked my shot just before it touched the backboard at about eleven feet off the ground.

The shot blocking defender and myself landed on our feet just to the right of the basket in the lane. The defender immediately put two hands to my chest and shoved me out of the lane and yelled at me, “Get the Weak Stuff out of Here!”

The moment that it happened, I was not angry, I was just amazed at how quickly he got to the spot, how high he jumped and I had a new appreciation of how athletic these K-State football players were. But also over the years I have thought about a Bible scripture that seems to fit the situation well.

Hebrews 4: 15-16 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

We are weak, but we must approach the throne of grace boldly.

Rankings September 19, 2017

What a weekend of football! When Nebraska and Missouri pulled out of the Big 12, every week since then, I hope they lose. I used to pull for each school, back when they were our brothers in league, when they played out of conference, but not any more.

Then KU and K-State were both defeated over the weekend and it was disappointing.

The KC Chiefs won, but I don’t follow pro football much anymore.

I like the local game of high school football our guys against your guys and lets see who has more talent or who has worked harder in the off season.

Now for the rankings this week, there was some movement. In class 6A, 5A, 4A D-I and 8-man D-II the ranking team is pretty sure who should be the number one team. In the other classifications there is not a clear cut unanimous choice of who should be number one. And you know what that makes it exciting.

So this week, my wish for high school football is, may every game be decided by less than a touchdown. Exciting football brings out the people and keeps the folks in the stands to the end of the game.

This weeks rankings can be found at this link.