Lee’s Summit North football coach Ty Kohl didn’t mind seeing the temperatures soar back to dog-day levels this week. August is supposed to be hot, and the first Friday night of the season is forecast to be a scorcher, right?
Might as well get acclimated.
“Friday is probably going to be one of the hottest days of the summer,” Kohl said. “So I was glad the heat did come on a little bit this week early on so we can get a taste of that.”
Kohl’s Broncos won’t be the only team feeling the heat on Aug. 22, when the season kicks off on an unusually early start. North will open at home against Park Hill South, while Lee’s Summit West plays host to Liberty and Lee’s Summit takes on Truman at William Chrisman High School. All games begin at 7 p.m.
Kohl got to gauge his team’s readiness Aug. 15 when it played host to a jamboree with Center, Maryville and William Chrisman. For the most part, Kohl liked what he saw during the humid and rainy evening.
“We were really pleased with (the jamboree),” Kohl said. “We did a lot of good things, but also we want to correct some things. It was good for the kids as well, to get a game-day situation.”
After going 2-8 last season, Kohl brought in several new assistant coaches and a new offense. The biggest challenge so far for the Broncos has been getting used to all that newness, especially with so many new players.
“I really felt we ran the ball very well,” Kohl said. “The decision making from our quarterbacks, for the most part, was pretty good. We also have to catch the ball. We had some key drops so we have to execute a little better from the receiver standpoint.”
These are things Kohl hopes to have corrected before meeting Park Hill South. The Panthers went 6-5 last season and the Broncos expect them to offer a good early test.
“They’re an awfully good football team,” Kohl said. “We definitely have our challenge, but we’re going to try to control the ball as much as we can and defensively get off the field and we’ll see what happens.”
Lee’s Summit West also faces a tough opener. Liberty, the team the Titans replace in the Suburban Gold Conference and in Class 6, went 7-4 last season and made it to the second round of the Class 6 playoffs.
Lee’s Summit West no longer has three-sport star Monte Harrison at wide receiver, but the Titans return enough players from last year’s Class 5 state champion squad to be considered a contender in Class 6. They got a taste of their new competition last week at the jamboree hosted by two-time Class 6 state champ Blue Springs.
Lee’s Summit, which held a scrimmage at Bud Hertzog Stadium instead of playing in a jamboree, opens against a Truman squad that went 0-10 under first-year coach Gregg Webb. Missouri-bound Drew Lock is back at quarterback, but Tigers coach Eric Thomas has to replace 32 seniors from last year’s 10-2 Class 6 quarterfinalists.
Summit Christian Academy begins its second varsity season 11 a.m. Aug. 23 with a home game against Polo. The Eagles, who went 2-7 in their varsity debut, are eligible for postseason play for the first time this season.