LARNED — The biggest football-playing schools in the Golden Belt area — Great Bend, Larned and Hoisington — have been undergoing more changes than diapers at a newborn baby’s house!
Change can be threatening for the fearful.
Things could get worse!
For the confident, the hopeful, change is encouraging because things just might get better.
Bo Black’s surprising move to Hays brings a head coaching change to the Panthers.
Black established a strong program in Great Bend after years of losing, so his leaving might be a negative for some folks.
The change to Tony Crough though, might be a diamond in the rough. After all, it has been five years since Great Bend made the playoffs and there have been no more than five wins a year since 2007.
Crough brings a new enthusiasm, a renewed vigor and yes, CHANGE.
This change just might be good for Panthers football.
There are some outstanding pieces with which Crough can build a strong football team.
Already the coaching staff has figured out that this is a tough bunch of kids. Great Bend might come into this season as an underdog, a team that most will overlook.
I look for them to be a surprise and fashion a winning record that not many expected!
In Larned, the biggest change was going into a football season AFTER a winning season.
It hadn’t happened in 14 seasons!
What the heck do we do next?
That might be at the top of a lot of people’s minds.
The Indians fashioned a 7-3 record and made the playoffs last year.
Coach A.B. Stokes has directed a terrific change in the football attitude in Larned, and they expect to continue their winning ways this season.
The other part of that change for Larned is a new league.
The Indians will move from the now defunct MCAA to the 12-team Central Kansas League. Hoisington will follow along, continuing that rivalry, but Larned will renew some old rivalries in the new league against Pratt, Nickerson and Lyons.
The CKL will offer some formidable competition, but that’s change we all welcome.
In Hoisington, they get a new head coach AND a new league.
Former assistant Zach Baird takes the reins for the Cardinals in an attempt to change a 4-5 record from last year into a winning slate.
Hoisington has got some good talent returning and the crystal ball says the Cardinals will move up a notch or two this year.
A new district assignment brings Ellsworth and Lyons to Hoisington’s home field with only one district road game at Sterling.
The Cardinals are set up well to advance into the playoffs.
That new league, the Central Kansas League, provides the Cardinals with an excellent schedule of solid teams.
A key test for both ball clubs will be the season opener when Hoisington travels to Larned. It is a league game that has huge implications for both programs.
Last year, Larned traveled to Hoisington with a undefeated team and the Cardinals laid a 27-9 whipping on the Indians.
Larned would love to have a little payback. It is a high-stakes game that you usually don’t find in a season opener.
Welcome Tony Crough.
Welcome Zach Baird.
Welcome AB Stokes and Larned to the playoffs.
Welcome Central Kansas League.
These are all changes for the better!
Change ain’t all bad!
Charles Tabler is a contributing writer from Larned.