In a conference that includes traditional football powerhouses such as Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit West and Blue Springs South, Raymore-Peculiar realizes it’s often nothing more than an afterthought.
But with the bulk of its core back from last season, this year could be different. Well, maybe.
“I really think we’re going to be as good as we’ve been in a long time,” Panthers coach Tom Kruse said. “But I can’t tell you how that’s going to stack up in our conference. As good as this conference has been, it might be even better this year.”
The Panthers possess both quality and quantity. Kruse says the team will feature more players (103) than it has at any point during his 15-year tenure. The previous high? Just 81.
That includes a 32-player senior class.
“We like to think we’re going to be as good as the seniors allow us to be,” Kruse said. “And I think this group is ready to do something special.”
As for the quality, 13 of the 103 players return as starters from last season’s squad, which finished 4-6 but lost four of its five games in the Suburban Gold Conference.
The offense and defense will be experienced and sizable up front. Defensive lineman Ben Harris committed to Air Force last week. Nose guard C.J. Donaldson is set to become a four-year starter. He played on the offensive and defensive lines last season.
Senior offensive lineman Ben Sinclair can match Donaldson’s four years of varsity experience, and he will help pave the way for tailback Isaiah Truss and fullback Logan Moore.
Quarterback Reed Davis is in line to start under center for the second straight year.