Whistles, helmets, huddles ... Football is back!

08/05/2014 1:25 PM

08/05/2014 1:44 PM

Those familiar high school football sights and sounds have returned to the practice fields this week in Missouri, as Monday was the first day squads could take the field.

State champs take aim

With the cross country team circling the track and the volleyball team doing bleacher runs, the Lee’s Summit West football team tackled their duties and drills on the field bright and early Monday morning.

The Titans are coming off a 13-1 record and a Missojuri Class 5 state championship, but now face the challenge of moving to Class 6 without three-sport star Monte Harrison, who was the 50th pick of the Major League Baseball Draft.

Coach Royce Boehm will turn to running back Ryan Williams, who is committed to the University of Missouri, among others to help shoulder the load.

“We always have a target on our back, but the championship makes it even bigger,” Williams said. “This year we’ve got a game to look forward against a big team who wants to beat us.”

Lee’s Summit West will start the season at home when it plays host to Liberty on Aug. 22.

| Kathleen Gier, kgier@kcstar.com

Eagles getting in shape

Liberty North head coach Ken Clemens told his players at the end of practice Tuesday that if they ran well, practice would be over. After the players cheered on their teammates to finish strong, Clemens closed practice by reminding them that the running is not a punishment, but rather about being in shape for the upcoming season.

“We tell the kids it’s their job to make us enjoy coaching them, and they’re doing a good job of that,” Clemens said.

Clemens stressed the importance of getting in shape and said working on installing offensive and defensive schemes and fundamentals will be a big focus as the Eagles prepare of their season opener against Raytown on August 22.

Though Liberty North has the majority of last year’s starters returning, the team will also focus on learning a few things at a time.

“At this point in the summer we’ve got almost everything installed offensively and defensively, so we’re reviewing that,” Clemens said. “Each day we’ll bring out a wrinkle or two and teach the kids.”

Last season the Eagles finished with a 9-5 record after falling to Helias Catholic in the Missouri Class 4 semifinals. With a move to the Suburban Conference White Division this fall, Liberty North will face two new opponents in North Kansas City and Blue Springs South.

“We just kind of want to work hard and take everything a day at a time,” Clemens said. “What spells success in my mind as the head football coach is that our kids are ready to play every time we step on the field, and then they play their best football.”

| Katie O’Keefe, kokeefe@kcstar.com

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