It’s been a long time since I’ve responded to the sports mail bag, but it’s overflowing with questions that need to be answered.
Q. — When is the Mid Kansas Sports Magazine Fall Preview going to be available?
A. — The final proof was just sent off and the magazine will be available at the first home football game on Friday, Sept. 4. It also will be posted online in PDF form and copies will be available at KNGL-KBBE at 411 E. Euclid. Copies are sent to athletic directors at the area high schools and they make sure the athletes receive a copy and distribute them as well.
Q. — What are your impressions of McPherson High’s football team under new coach Jace Pavlovich?
A. — The word “new” doesn’t even begin to cover it. New faces in new places, but it’s all very exciting because it’s been a long time since the Bullpups have entered the land of the unknown. In fact, you have to go back to 2006 when so much uncertainty surrounded an MHS football team. What makes this team so hard to get a read on is that it is so painfully inexperienced in the skill positions. Casen Hoover should be fine at quarterback, but defining a No. 1 running back could be a question that’s not answered until midseason. I have my thoughts, but I’m going to keep them to myself and see if they pan out.
Q. — How about the other MHS sports?
A. — Expect big years from the boys soccer, volleyball and girls tennis teams. I believe at least one of those teams will be playing for a state championship in about three months. It’s going to be hard for boys soccer, since the state title very seldom leaves Kansas City or Wichita, but the Bullpups certainly have the talent. If they can score consistently, they’ll be right there. Christy Doile has a powerhouse volleyball team and it’s going to be tested this weekend at Hutchinson. Tyler Brown’s girls tennis team is ranked No. 1 in the 4A preseason poll, but I think that’s more of a testament to the program that has been built over the years starting with Doug Gayer and continuing with Brown. I’m not sure MHS has the depth to win it all, but it certainly will have a say in who does. Meanwhile, the MHS cross country team is a work in progress, but has good numbers and will be better than last year.
Q. — Are you finally a believer in the Royals? (I’ve been inundated with this question)
A. — It’s taken a while, but yes. It hasn’t hurt that the rest of the division has been terrible, but the Royals have compiled an incredible record despite spotty starting pitching. The offense is so much better than last year and with Alex Gordon coming back soon, it will be that much better. It will be interesting to see how Ned Yost decides to play it because come playoff time either Omar Infante or Alex Rios will be on the bench as neither can hold a candle to Ben Zobrist. My guess is that Rios is the odd-man out, given Yost’s affinity for defense. The wild-card is pitcher Kris Medlen, who finally was inserted into the rotation on Monday and responded brilliantly. He’s a tremendous upgrade over Jeremy Guthrie, a real warrior who simply is at the end of his career.
Q. — The Kansas City Chiefs are 2-0 in the preseason. Will they win the AFC West?
A. — Unless Andy Reid finds an offensive line between now and the start of the season, the Chiefs will be a .500 team at best. They're somewhat limited on offense as Jamaal Charles basically carries the load. I'm not sure if Jeremy Maclin will make much more of an impact than Dwayne Bowe, but he certainly has more speed and won't be the headache off the field. The defense will again be the strength, especially the linebacking corps. I see anywhere from 7-9 to 9-7 at best. Problem is the Chiefs have such a tough road the first four weeks that they could easily be 0-4 or 1-3 and almost never does a team make the playoffs after that kind of start.
Q. — What do you think of KU coach David Beaty naming Montell Cozart as the starting quarterback?
A. — He's going to start, but he'll be long gone before the season ends (look for Ryan Willis to claim the job). It really doesn't matter who's back there, the season is going to be an 0-12 disaster, 1-11 only by the grace of God.