High school football practice begins again

08/04/2014 12:14 PM

08/05/2014 3:00 AM

As Lee’s Summit West High School football coach Royce Boehm addressed his players after their first 6 a.m. workout on Monday — the first day Missouri teams could practice — it became apparent that he had one number in mind.

The number is four, and the reason is twofold.

The more obvious of the two is the fact that the Titans are looking to build off last year’s Class 5 championship and bring home their fourth state title in the program’s 11th season.

The less obvious relates to how they have to do it.

Last year the Titans became accustomed to building up wide enough margins that by halftime the starters were on the bench with Missouri’s running clock rule. Boehm has already cautioned his players that it will not be the case this season as the Titans make the jump to Class 6 with harder competition, including two-time defending state champion Blue Springs.

“Now that we’re moving up in classifications, our conference has always been tough but our nonconference games are very tough,” Boehm said. “We’re going to have to play all four quarters this year.”

Lee’s Summit West, which plays in the Suburban Big Six Conference, lost just one game last season, which came at the hands of Blue Springs. The Titans averaged 45.5 points per game and outscored opponents 637 to 167 on their way to a 13-1 record. The Wildcats were the only ones able to score more than three touchdowns against the Titans, winning 42-35.

“All eyes are on you because they want to see what a Class 5 team moving to Class 6 does,” Boehm said. “There is a bull’s-eye set on us because for many years, people have talked about how we’re not in the right classification, but classifications are controlled by student-body size. Now we’re there, though, and we’re happy to be.”

The Titans will have to try and do it without a number of Division I athletes who graduated last year, including three-sport star Monte Harrison, who was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers with the 50th pick of the Major League Baseball Draft and elected to join them instead of fulfilling his commitment to play football and baseball at the University of Nebraska.

The Titans are hoping they will not see much of a drop off, however, with running back Ryan Williams, who is already committed to play at the University of Missouri and wide receiver Brenner Clemons who just received his first offer from Missouri Western.

“Given the opportunity to repeat from Class 5 to Class 6 is an opportunity that not many schools get to do,” Clemons said. “We’re really blessed to have the opportunity and we’re ready.”

Lee’s Summit West will open its season on Aug. 22 at home against Liberty.

To reach Kathleen Gier, call 816-234-4875 or send email to kgier@kcstar.com.

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