Nobody picked St. Thomas Aquinas to win the East Kansas League football title last season, but the Saints had a 5-1 record and finished atop the league anyway.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Blue Valley West wasn’t ranked high in the coaches’ poll last year either, but the Jaguars wound up second in the league.
Perhaps that means BV West shouldn’t get too excited to be picked No. 1 in the 2013 EKL coaches’ Poll. If nothing else, it means the Jaguars, who were 8-3 a year ago, won’t be sneaking up on the league anymore.
BV West, which returns senior quarterback Ryan Ralston and a ferocious, seasoned offensive line, received six first-place votes and was a clear favorite to claim the league crown.
The Jaguars also are among the favorites for the Kansas Class 5A state championship.
Gardner Edgerton, which returns big-play machine Traevohn Wrench, picked up the remaining two first-place votes and nestled in second in the poll.
Coming off back-to-back 2,000-yard seasons, Wrench, who has committed to Kansas, is eager to help the Trailblazers make a mark in the Class 6A ranks.
Gardner Edgerton got bounced from the postseason in the opening round last season, its first in the state’s biggest class, but that won’t do for Wrench’s senior season. The Blazers also return quarterback Jared Hobby, who is in his third season as a starter.
Perennial powers Blue Valley and Bishop Miege check in third and fourth.
The Tigers bring back a salty offensive line and a hard-nosed defense, which is always a good combination for any high school football team.
Meanwhile, the Stags, who endured a disappointing 4-5 regular season but got hot in the playoffs, would love to repeat last year’s run to the 5A championship.
Aquinas, BV Northwest, BV Southwest and BV North round out the preseason ranking.
East Kansas League football coaches’ preseason poll
Listings include team, (first-place votes), points and last year’s record:
1. Blue Valley West (6), 48 points, 8-3; 2. Gardner Edgerton (2), 40 points, 6-4; 3. Blue Valley, 38 points, 6-5; 4. Bishop Miege, 33 points, 7-6; 5. St. Thomas Aquinas, 26 points, 10-2; 6. Blue Valley Northwest, 19 points, 5-5; 7. Blue Valley Southwest, 12, 5-4; 8. Blue Valley North, 8, 1-8. Note: Coaches do not vote for their team. Points are awarded on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.