WEMO FB Week 8 by James Damon

damonOnly one game remained to determine the final standings for the WEMO conference as the Rich Hill Tigers hosted the Archie Whirlwinds.  It was another high-scoring shoot-out as the Tigers would nab their second win in the last three weeks, defeating the Winds 42-25.  All other WEMO squads played in non-con battles, as Adrian visited Sherwood and handed the Marksmen another shutout loss, as the Blackhawks cruised 28-0.  Cass-Midway visited Lighthouse Christian and held the normally potent offense of the Chargers to one lone score, as the Vikings thumped LCA 26-7.  Appleton City hosted Chilhowee in another 8-man contest, and yet another scramble ensued as both teams marched up and down the field all night long. The Bulldogs would get the home win 70-42.  Osceola went on the road to battle a tough Cole Camp squad, and fell on the short end, losing 23-17, continuing their road woes, where they have encountered all three of their losses.  Drexel hosted the Jayhawk-Linn Jayhawks in another high-scoring battle that Drexel would run away with nabbing the win, 62-23.
 
Butler would host the Sarcoxie Bears in a non-conference clash and the home team would score early and often cruising to another lop-sided victory to push Butler to 7-1 on the season, winning 61-12.  Senior Devon Loveall would surpass the 1000 yard rushing mark on the season in the win.  The Bears travel to Summit Christian next weekend to play for the Crossroads Conference title.
 
John Huber had the KC Area Game of the Week over the week as the Ray-Pec Panthers hosted the Lee’s Summit Tigers in a mid-tier conference mash-up within the Suburban Gold.  It would remain close throughout, but the Panthers would win on their home turf, 35-28, in the game between class 6 rivals.
 
WEMO
Cass-Midway Vikings 6-2, 5-1
Osceola Indians 5-3, 5-1
Adrian Blackhawks 5-3, 4-2
Drexel Bobcats 5-3, 3-3
Rich Hill Tigers 2-6, 2-4
Appleton City Bulldogs 3-5, 1-5 (*2 wins not MSHSAA counted; 8-man games)
Archie Whirlwinds 2-6, 1-5
 
Butler Bears 7-1, 2-0 (Crossroads Conference)
 

WEMO FB Week 7 by James Damon

damonLow scoring games provided the main story line for most of the WEMO this past weekend as three of the four games entertaining WEMO teams included two scores or less each!  The game of the week in the WEMO featured the Cass-Midway Vikings hosting the Rich Hill Tigers as the Vikes looked to bounce back from a loss to Class 2 Butler, and the Tigers looked to build on their first win of the season.  Each teams exchanged punts early in the contest until Midway’s third possession when they would string together a couple first downs and then watch junior RB Peyton Richardson ramble 29 yards for the score.  Luke Boyer kicked the PAT and Midway led 7-0 entering the second frame.  Rich Hill seemingly would get positive yardage to start every drive, then draw a penalty, take a sack, or another negative play, forcing consistent third and longs, and have to punt it away.  Midway would take their next possession down to a first and goal situation, watching the Tigers stone them three consecutive tries.  On a fourth down attempt from the two-yard line, senior Maverick Greer would bust across with solid second effort, and Boyer’s point after would provide all the game’s scoring!  The final would be 14-0 in favor of Midway, but the interesting stats were Midway offensively on fourth downs: 1-5, but the one they cashed in was huge for the TD.  The other stat line showed Midway’s defensive dominance, though it was not overwhelming, as Rich Hill seemingly could gain yards, but never first downs.  The Tigers amassed only two first downs on the night, one early in the third quarter and one very late in the game.  The Tigers fall to 1-6, Midway rebounds to 5-2 and claims a share of the WEMO regular season crown.
 
In a pivotal game determining a piece of the WEMO crown, Adrian hosted Osceola and the two battled scoreless until very late in the contest.  Osceola would punch one across resulting in the games’ only score to win 7-0, and also grab a piece of the WEMO crown.  The conference awards teams a conference title (or a piece of it) based on record alone, regardless of head-to-head, though the Indians get the slight nod handing Midway their lone conference loss of the season.  Osceola moves to 5-2 overall and Adrian falls to 4-3.  Drexel played out of conference visiting Sherwood, and the Bobcats would get back to their winning ways after consecutive losses, as they jumped out to a 14-0 halftime lead on the Marksmen and would see that hold up over the duration.  Drexel advances to 4-3 and Sherwood moves to 1-6.  The final WEMO game featured the Archie Whirlwinds hosting the Appleton City Bulldogs in what many expected to be a shoot-out.  Both teams scored with consistency throughout the night as the lead exchanged hands a couple times, but it was not the mass scoring affair we thought it might be.  Appleton City scored late to make it a one score game, but would fall short as the Whirlwinds nabbed their first WEMO win of the season, 29-26.  Both teams move to 2-5 now on the season.
 
The Butler Bears traveled to Stockton to meet the Tigers in an important non-conference tilt, and both teams left their defenses at home.  Butler jumped out early on the Tigers, but Stockton would muster multiple comeback efforts, never quite getting over the hump.  At one point, the Bears had amassed an absurd 400+ yards on less than 10 plays from scrimmage!  Bears win running away 55-35, pushing their record to 6-1 on the season.  Stockton falls to 2-5.
 
In the KC area game of the week, John Huber had the defending class 5 champs, the Battle Spartans, visiting the upstart Lee’s Summit North Broncos, and the Broncos jumped out to an early lead, taking it into the fourth quarter.  They would run out of gas, however, as the Spartans fourth quarter war cry proved strong with multiple scores to run away with a 31-18 win, despite the game being much closer all night long.  Battle remains undefeated at 7-0 and Lee’s Summit North stumbles to 5-2, as they look at a potential conference title this weekend.
 
WEMO Standings:
Osceola Indians 5-2, 5-1
Cass-Midway Vikings 5-2, 5-1
Adrian Blackhawks 4-3, 4-2
Drexel Bobcats 4-3, 3-3
Archie Whirlwinds 2-5, 1-4
Rich Hill Tigers 1-6, 1-4
Appleton City Bulldogs 2-5, 1-5 (*one win counted as 8-man; not accounted by MSHSAA)
 
Butler Bears 6-1, 2-0 (Crossroads Conference)

WEMO FB W6 by James Damon

damonIn the Game of the Week on Prepcasts-KCMW, the Appleton City Bulldogs hosted the Adrian Blackhawks in another fun and exciting shoot-out.  The Bulldogs would march the field on the opening drive punching in the only score from the first quarter on a 4th and long pass to Coleton Smith from Billy Prater.  Prater would connect again for the 2-point conversion, this time to Tyler Piepmeier, and lead 8-0.  The Blackhawks would answer with their first play from scrimmage in the second frame when QB Gage Steen zoomed 80 yards for a score; Adam Cochran’s PAT made the score 8-7.  After stopping the Dogs, the Hawks would take the lead on a Devin Darby score, coupled with Cochran’s point after to lead 14-8.  Prater would push the ball downfield on his next drive scoring from the one yard line to tie the game up after a failed two-point attempt.
 
The score would tilt back in favor of Adrian as the Hawks drove and Zak Dabney would zip in from 43 yards out.  The PAT gave Adrian a 21-14 halftime edge.  Dabney would score his second TD to open the third quarter and seemingly, give the Hawks a cushion as they went up 28-14.  But Appleton City responded late in the quarter when Prater connected down the sideline with Evan Mitts for a 61 yard score.  The conversion was no good, but the Dogs stopped Adrian, got the ball back, and scored again to open the fourth quarter, when Prater took the snap, rumbled up the middle 73 yards for the tying score.  The two point conversion ensured that as Prater found Mitts again.  Tied at 28, Adrian responded three minutes later when Steen scored his second rushing TD of the night.  Cochran’s kick gave the Hawks the 35-28 edge, but one minute later Prater would connect with his fourth TD of the night, as he hit Piepmeier for a 43 yard strike.  The conversion failed, leaving AC down one, but they would stop Adrian and get the ball back with a couple minutes remaining and all three timeouts.
 
With the drive beginning at their five-yard line, they got a first down pushing to the fifteen and then Prater saw a pass near the line get away as he scrambled to the right.  It found the arms of linebacker, Hunter Harris, who would cash pay dirt, and give Adrian the 42-34 lead.  Appleton City would drive down near Adrian’s twenty yard line before their drive stalled out on downs, and lost a heart breaker and dandy game.
 
The Midway Vikings hosted the Butler Bears in the only non-con game of the week and the Bears would lead throughout emerging victorious for the first time ever against the Vikings, one week removed from tornadic activity damaging their field.  The Bears would lead through mid-third quarter 36-20 and neither team would score again proving the final for the night.
 
Bryant Courter had a monster rushing game for the Rich Hill Tigers tallying over 200 yards on the ground and four TD’s as the Tigers nabbed their first win of the season, and continued Drexel’s free-fall after being tied for the league lead just two weeks ago.  The Tigers won their homecoming effort, 43-24.  Osceola hosted Archie in their homecoming game and were never threatened jumping out to a 35-0 lead before winning 35-7.
 
WEMO Standings:
Osceola Indians 4-2, 4-1
Cass-Midway Vikings 4-2, 4-1
Adrian Blackhawks 4-2, 4-1
Drexel Bobcats 3-3, 3-3
Rich Hill Tigers 1-5, 1-3
Appleton City Bulldogs 2-4, 1-4 (*one win not MSHSAA counted as an 8-man game)
Archie Whirlwinds 1-5, 0-4
 
Butler Bears 5-1, 2-0 (Crossroads Conference)

WEMO FB Week 5 by James Damon

damonTornadoes ripping through Cass County truncated scoreboards and bleachers at Cass-Midway, postponing their football game until Saturday evening, and thus, not allowing intended coverage, but the Vikings remained on a roll blasting the Bobcats at the neutral site, 40-0.  Other WEMO action from the week included Osceola bouncing back from back-to-back defeats and keeping Rich Hill win-less with a 42-3 cruising.  Appleton City was the lone non-conference slated game as they visited Greenfield and played some 8-man football.  As is typical, defenses only played for “video game style” as the Bulldogs walloped the Wildcats 68-44 in the pinball action.  The final WEMO game of the week featured an extended lightning delay, but it did not thwart the host Adrian Blackhawks from jumping to an early lead, extending after the delay, and running away with a 38-7 win.
 
The KC Area Game of the Week started over an hour late after a weather-related delay, and then saw one of the classics from around the state as Blue Springs jumped to an early lead, watched Lee’s Summit fight back and gain the lead, and then played back and forth until the Tigers would tie it up late and force OT.  The Wildcats would kick the field goal for the overtime’s lone points and grab their first win of 2015.  Click here for that REPlay …
In one of the premier games around the state, the undefeated Butler Bears hosted the undefeated and #1 ranked, Lamar Tigers, and Butler punched Lamar right in the mouth early.  Both teams would struggle to have any defensive stops giving up repeated big plays and trading leads until a lightning forced weather delay.  Lamar returned from the locker room and the Bears did not, as the Tigers would outscore the Bears, 5 TD’s to 1, following the break.  Butler drops their first game of the season the Brotherhood from Lamar remains undefeated.  Click here for that REPlay …
 
WEMO Standings:
Cass-Midway Vikings 4-1, 4-1
Adrian Blackhawks 3-2, 3-1
Osceola Indians 3-2, 3-1
Drexel Bobcats 3-2, 3-2
Appleton City Bulldogs 2-3, 1-3
Archie Whirlwinds 1-4, 0-3
Rich Hill Tigers 0-5, 0-3
 
Butler 4-1, 2-0 (Crossroads Conference)

WEMO FB Week 4 by James Damon

damonA wild and woolly fourth week ensued through the WEMO conference as one major upset opened the door for mayhem as the season continues.  In the covered game of the week, the Archie Whirlwinds hosted the Slater Wildcats in the only non-conference match-up and rolled to their first win of the season.  Both teams came in without a win, giving up well over 40 points a game, and Archie not only notched their first victory, but did in shutout, blow-out fashion.  The Winds recovered a fumble on the opening drive, punched in a score that was erased with a penalty, and then fumbled the ball back to Slater.  But the Wildcats would go three-and-out, pooch a punt, and Archie would cash in a short field as sophomore Gabe Fischer scored his first of two TD’s on the game.  The PAT put the Winds up 7-0.  After another defensive stop, Archie got the ball back and QB Caleb Schacher hoisted a 40-yarder down the left sideline to a wide open Kale Wheeler who would easily score.  The missed PAT saw Archie’s lead at 13-0 after one.  The second quarter provided more of the same as Wheeler broke loose on the first of his two TD runs, en route to player of the game honors for Archie.  After another stop, Fischer burst through the line and raced 62 yards to pay dirt for his second score of the game, followed by another score within the half’s final minute as Wheeler would punch in his third score of the day.  Archie led 32-0 at the half, and would see second half TD’s from senior Mikel Bailey, Schacher on the ground, and freshman Brandon Lindley with the final score.  A two point conversion from Schacher to an open Colbey Fenton would prove the final points of the night as the Winds ran away from the Cats, 54-0, grabbing their first win of the year and dropping Slater to 0-4.
 
The grand upset of the night happened just a few miles to the west as Drexel hosted #10 ranked Osceola.  The Indians would trail most of the night, keeping it close, but managing at tie at 18 apiece heading into the final quarter.  A back and forth affair would continue throughout the fourth quarter as well with each team scoring one more TD.  The Cats would steal away a two-point conversion as well, proving the difference in the game, to get the big home win, 26-24.  Drexel moves to 3-1 overall, and in conference play.  Osceola falls to 2-2, and garners their first conference loss, which opens up a four-way early tie atop the standings.
 
Cass-Midway quickly derailed the high octane Appleton City Bulldog offense after the Dogs got their first win of the season, as the Vikings rolled into AC, jumped out early by a couple scores, were never seriously threatened through the night, and cruised to a rather comfy win, 34-0.  The Vikes go to 3-1 overall and in conference and the Bulldogs are the inverse, at 1-3, in both conference play and for the season.  The final WEMO match of the night saw another near upset fall short as the Blackhawks traveled to Rich Hill and were back and forth for three quarters.  The Tigers had an early first quarter lead that Adrian would erase to lead in a tight one at the half.  A one point game into the fourth quarter was opened up with two late scores from Adrian to seal a 33-12 win that was closer all night long.  Adrian moves to .500 at 2-2 overall and now is also 2-1 in the WEMO, as Rich Hill remains without a win, at 0-4 and 0-2.
 
The Butler Bears remain a pleasant surprise in the region as they hosted the Van Horn Falcons for Homecoming, jumped out to an early 7-0 first quarter lead, and 14-7 halftime margin.  Both teams would trade scoring salvos for the entirety of the second half, but the Bears would find four Tate Bollweg TD’s enough to stave off the Falcons and win 40-27.  Bollweg was the Player of the Game for Butler, as the Bears move to 4-0 and stake a first place lead in the Crossroads Conference at 2-0.
 
The KC Area Game of the Week featured a dual set of games, as John Huber had the Staley Falcons and Liberty North Eagles tussle at William Jewell College on Thursday night.  Weather would hamper the outcome and force a Friday afternoon finish, that John was unable to bring the listeners, but the truncated game saw no big difference from Thursday to Friday.  Staley scored early for a 7-0 lead, got a crippling Eagle fumble they took to the house to lead 14-0 and that was where Thursday ended. 
Friday saw one more Falcon score to push the final to 21-0.  Staley remains undefeated and awaits a monster showdown with Fort Osage, as Liberty North falls to 2-2.  In the Friday night game, undefeated class 1 Wellington-Napolean visited class 2, and also undefeated, Lexington on the Missouri River, and Minutemen mauled the Tigers throughout the game.  Player of the Game Warren Sheppard scored early and often leading Lexington to a 37-0 rout of Well-Nap and handing the Tigers, 3-1, their first loss of 2015.  Lexington now sits at 4-0.
 
WEMO Standings:
Osceola Indians 2-2, 2-1
Midway Vikings 3-1, 3-1
Drexel Bobcats 3-1, 3-1
Adrian Blackhawks 2-2, 2-1
Appleton City Bulldogs 1-3, 1-3
Archie Whirlwinds 1-3,0-2
Rich Hill Tigers 0-4, 0-2
 
Butler 4-0, 2-0 (Crossroads Conference)

WEMO FB Week 3 by James Damon

damonThe Butler Bears continue to show fans how an impressive turnaround goes after a 1-9 season last year.  Butler jumped out early trading scores on the road with Lighthouse Christian Academy, but would punch in a late first half TD to lead 28-14 at the half.  Several different Bears got into the scoring action as Butler’s veer based offense marched up and down the field throughout the evening.  The defense saw numerous holes in the passing game, however, as the Chargers also marched repeatedly.  Both teams exploded in the second half including a 92 yard catch and run for a score from Ben Friend, who had a monster day accounting for all five Charger TD’s.  The Bears would prevail in a game played at Willard High School in a shoot-out, 50-36.  Tanner Diehl was named the Bears Player of the Game.  The Bears host Van Horn for the drivers’ seat in the Crossroads Conference next week after the Falcons crushed Sherwood, 43-0.

Click here for that REPLay …

In WEMO action, the Midway Vikings played their home opener, hosting the Adrian Blackhawks in a tightly fought contest throughout.  Tied at 14 at the half, the Vikes would score the lone second half TD and pull out the closely fought 20-14 win.  The win pushes Midway to 2-1 overall and in conference.  The Hawks fall to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in conference.
 
In another Appleton City shootout, the Bulldogs would notch their first win of the season but not until a lengthy lighting delay after halftime would push another Appleton City game into the three hour time threshold!  The Bulldogs jumped out early and often against Rich Hill, keeping the Tigers win-less, and would end up cruising to a comfortable 58-28 victory.  Appleton City moves to 1-2 overall and in conference.  Rich Hill falls to 0-3 after losing their first conference game, and also saw star Bryant Courter get injured during the game.
 
A close game early saw Drexel leading at home versus the Archie Whirlwinds 14-7 in the first half, before they would reel off a 36-7 stretch, and get the runaway win for the Bobcats, 50-14.  With the win Drexel is now 2-1 overall and in conference and Archie remains win-less at 0-3, 0-2 in the WEMO.
 
The lone WEMO team to not play in conference was the #5 ranked team in the state, Osceola.  “Was” is the crucial word in that sentence because the closest this game would be is 8-6 early after both teams scored quickly.  The host Lincoln Cardinals would kick the jets in after that and roll to a 50-15 win, the biggest defeat point-wise in several years, for Osceola.  The loss would cause the Indians to tumble to 2-1, still 2-0 in the WEMO, and the win positions the undefeated Cardinals for a shot at a ranking in the coming weeks.
 
John Huber’s KC Area game of the week would see a close game between two undefeateds in the first half turn into a comfy win for the home Fort Osage Indians behind great games from Kansas State commit Skylar Thompson and wideout Matt Smith.  An early 7-7 tie would end up favoring the Indians 28-14 as they handed the Lee’s Summit Tigers their first loss of the season.  The win continues the march towards a very exciting match-up with Staley for Fort Osage in a few weeks, that has earmarks for a classic and will have implications for a conference crown, post-season rankings and hosting scenarios, and the inside track to a run to the Dome for one of the two squads.  Thompson and Smith were co-players of the game for their efforts.
 
WEMO Standings:
Osceola 2-1, 2-0
Cass-Midway 2-1, 2-1
Drexel 2-1, 2-1
Adrian 1-2, 1-1
Appleton City 1-2, 1-2
Rich Hill 0-3, 0-1
Archie 0-3, 0-2
 
Butler 3-0, 1-0 (Crossroads Conference)

WEMO/Butler Football Week 2

damonIn one of the featured games of the week on Prepcasts-KCMW, the Midway Vikings visited the Archie Whirlwinds, with both teams seeking their first wins of the season.  The Vikings opened with a halfback pass covering forty-plus yards to set up their first rushing score of the season as Maverick Greer plunged in from one yard out.  Silent until the second quarter, the Vikings would toss two TD passes from the Player of the Game, junior QB Blake Mincks.  Both scores went to Jarrett Jurgeson, and Mincks added a two-point conversion to make the halftime score 21-0.  The Winds would break onto the scoreboard with a 39 yard scamper from sophomore fullback, Gabe Fisher, and then get a fumble returned 70 yards by Kale Wheeler to cut the score to one TD.  The Vikes would close strong the final eight minutes, though, with two rushing scores from Luke Boyer to ice the win, 33-14.  Midway moves to 1-1 in conference and on the season, as Archie remains winless after two affairs.  Click here for that game …
 
The KC area Game of the Week featured a team dismantled last week by the defending class 6 champs, making the long trek to the KC area, and showing strong against the home Tigers squad from Lee’s Summit.  The Hickman Kewpies found themselves locked up in a 7-7 tie at the half, but amidst threatening weather, the Tigers would rebound with two second half scores including a tide-turning huge punt return from Player of the Game, Trevor Fell, and get the 20-7 win and move to 2-0; long drive back to Columbia for the Kewpies who still are looking for the year’s first victory.  Click here for that game …
 
The Bears All Sports Network would see an absolute dismantling in a Crossroads Conference battle as the Butler Bears scored early and often, rolling to a 46-6 win over the visiting Sherwood Marksmen.  The game was never close, and the huge win for Butler pushes them already to double their win total from a year ago, and are poised to be a “surprise team” from the area and Class 2.  Junior QB Kaleb Kauffman was the Player of the Game for the Bears.  Click here to VIEW that game …
 
In other WEMO action, the Appleton City Bulldogs would sport an 8-7 lead over top dog, Osceola, but never lead again as the Indians would begin scoring early in the second frame and often, running away to a 54-22 victory to move to 2-0, as AC remains win-less.  In a similar game that was close early between Drexel and Adrian, the Blackhawks would run away as the game wore on, thumping the visiting Bobcats, 41-8.  The lone WEMO non-con battle featured the Rich Hill Tigers, thought pre-season to be a contender in the area, get crushed again under new coach Marcus Wolfe, this time to visiting Lockwood, 48-0.  The Tigers will visit Appleton City next week still trying to score their first points of the year!
 
WEMO Standings:
Osceola 2-0, 2-0
Adrian 1-1, 1-0
Drexel 1-1, 1-1
Cass-Midway 1-1, 1-1
Rich Hill, 0-2, 0-0
Archie 0-2, 0-1
Appleton City 0-2, 0-2
 
Butler 2-0, 1-0 (Crossroads Conference)

WEMO/Butler Football Week 1

damonA triad of games kicked off the new high school football season on the Prepcasts-KCMW network last weekend.  In the featured games of the week, the Butler Bears traveled to Adrian to meet their rivals, and rolled the Blackhawks, dominating throughout en route to a 32-14 victory.  The Bears scored first and often, allowing only a second quarter and third quarter Adrian score to make the game closer than it played out.  Senior RB Devan Loveall scored four touchdowns for the Bears, after switching back to the veer offense, following one year running the spread.  The Bears match their season win total from all last year with the win to start the year against a non-conference foe.

 
The de facto WEMO football title had been decided in week one the past several years as the Midway Vikings visited the Osceola Indians.  Osceola had not beaten Midway since 2006, and both teams found themselves in a pre-season publications’ top 15 Class 1 squads.  Midway would cash behind a traditionally strong defense and score the games’ first two TD’s, both passes from junior QB Blake Mincks, including one on a fourth-and-long play.  The Indians would fight back with two scores in the second frame to see the game tied at 14 by the half.  A third quarter Indian field goal would come off the board after penalty, and no more scores would occur until Osceola punched one in late in the game.  Drew Carney ran for two scores, threw another, and kicked all three PAT’s for the Indians who get the early jump start leading the WEMO at 1-0.
 
The shootout of all shootouts came from Drexel as the Bobcats hosted the Appleton City Bulldogs and the defenses apparently took the day off.  Both teams marched up and down the field, scoring offensively, defensively, and with special teams, on short and long plays.  When the final gun sounded, the Cats nipped the Dogs in a doozy, 58-56!  Two other non-con WEMO battles would see the visitors fall in both.  Rich Hill, talented and with expectations, got marauded by Lincoln as the Cardinals crushed the Tigers, 40-0.  An improved Archie team would zip up to Crest Ridge and keep it close all night long, but never be able to get over the hump and upend the Cougars, falling 23-40, despite being closer much of the evening.

The KC Area Game of the Week featured one of the favorites in Class 5 as the Fort Osage Indians hosted the upstart Raytown South Cardinals.  The Indians would start sluggish, lose multiple players to injury, including big recruit Skylar Thompson, but fight back to snatch the opening week win, 27-14, behind a strong 2 TD performance from wideout Donte Dodson.
 
WEMO Standings:
Osceola 1-0, 1-0
Drexel 1-0, 1-0
Rich Hill 0-1, 0-0
Archie 0-1, 0-0
Adrian 0-1, 0-0
Appleton City 0-1, 0-1
Cass-Midway 0-1, 0-1
 
Butler 1-0, 0-0 (Crossroads Conference)

Article about our own James Damon

Reprinted from Butler News X-Press

As December approaches, a local man furiously types away at his computer, preparing for yet another round of games to broadcast and travel plans to make across the state. Butler graduate and current Rockville resident James Damon has turned his years of broadcast experience into a business opportunity as he is one of three owners within the Prepcasts Broadcasting Network. Blessed to begin broadcasting at the Butler radio station in junior high and high school, he sought one of his two degrees in Broadcast Communications in college, while continuing his career covering high school and collegiate sports. In 25 years of broadcasting, he has covered numerous state championships in football, girls and boys basketball, softball, and baseball, as well as Final Fours in college men’s basketball, while providing coverage for over 2000 games.

The Prepcasts Network began in St. Louis 11 years ago as a platform for coverage of high school sports for the Metro Catholic League. Through the years, the network has grown and continued to provide the premier high school coverage in the state. An affiliate launched in Ste. Genevieve several years ago providing exclusive coverage for both Ste. Genevieve High School and Valle Catholic High School. The STL affiliate provides coverage on an on-going basis for St. Louis area schools via private school contracts. Listenership continues to grow with each passing year for the entirety of the network.

Three years ago, Damon was moonlighting doing Warsaw basketball games for the Clinton radio station, and infuriating his wife for such long drives with such little pay, as often tends to be the bane of regional radio broadcasters. He stumbled onto the PBN and made contact with then owner Bob Ryan, to see about future options to provide additional broadcasts for the network. After a dinner meeting with Ryan, Damon embarked on the process of amassing the necessary equipment and funding to launch a Prepcasts affiliate on the western side of the state.

He officially serves as Director of the western side of the state of Missouri for PBN, and is the founder/owner of his affiliate, Prepcasts-KCMW (Kansas City-Mo West), which launched in August of 2013. With the ever-growing surge of internet options available for individuals, along with growing smart phone applications, and additional availability for a variety of products (games) to choose from, the Prepcasts Network is filling a previous void in the broadcasting industry, especially towards the high school and small college market. Damon began tentatively with the hopes of broadcasting 100 games during year one, but saw the total swell to 228 by the end of the school season (2013-2014), and already launched his own network providing multiple crews each week for broadcasts.

Year two projections included the launching of the Bear Network (providing outstanding coverage for Butler Bear sports, including never before broadcasted volleyball, softball, wrestling, track, and golf, as well as commonly broadcast football, and girls and boys basketball), plans to cover nearly 400 games this school year, and branching out into the aforementioned rarely covered sports. Through the fall campaign, concluding with the seven state championship games over the weekend, the KCMW affiliate has broadcast 59 games already with listenership already over 12 thousand for the short season. Extrapolating those numbers has the brand poised to shatter the projections of nearly 50 K listeners for the year, and move towards 100 K listeners! Those are astounding numbers considering the mostly rural coverage base KCMW provides access to, as in addition to the Bear Network, Damon provides coverage for the WEMO area schools (Adrian, Appleton City, Archie, Cass-Midway, Drexel, Osceola, and Rich Hill), as well as smaller school coverage in smaller sports (Ballard, Hume, Northeast Vernon County, etc.).

The beauty of the network lies in part in its’ simplicity as listeners can simply click off links to access the games via their home computer systems, laptops, or even mobile devices. The PBN is currently working on the process of building an application for mobile devices to allow users to listen to games while continuing to access other phone applications, as well. To listen to any game, one simply needs to visit the website (www.prepcasts-kcmw.com). Upon arrival, one notices the area businesses helping provide underwriting support for the coverage for area schools, and can click on their advertising buttons for more information regarding their individual businesses. People can directly clink on the hyperlinked links (showing in “blue”) for the game they want, which then re-directs in a newly opened window explaining details about the game. Users then click on the wording “click here for the game” and the webcast opens up in their browser to listen to (and watch as some video-casts are also available, which is another great feature that radio cannot compete with). The game loads and individuals can listen to the games live, or later, as we guarantee archived footage for at least two years. PBN has yet to lose a broadcast that was completed and archived, allowing listeners to go through 1000’s of archived games if they so choose.

Such manner allows PBN to offer services at no cost to listeners and minimizing our price point for local advertisers/underwriters and schools. With such an outstanding model, it’s easy to see why and how Damon has already provided coverage for over 110 regional schools through the first 16 months of existence. The network is poised to continue expansion as basketball season will also feature a Kansas City area based Game of the Week, which will continue into next year’s fall football schedule, and increased area coverage for both the WEMO and the Bear Network. Underwriters that participate in the network will continue to be blessed as the network continues to grow, and in addition to the satisfaction of providing coverage for many schools that get no coverage or poor coverage, Damon is able to work the business around his pastorate at River of Life Fellowship in Rockville, along with his family.

He is also pleased to have been able to continue broadcasting with his father, Jim, who broke him into the industry during a district Rich Hill basketball game some 26 years ago. The typing will continue as Damon continues to develop the underwriting and advertising base throughout the entire region and western side of the state, and make plans necessary for consistent travel (already logging over 12,000 miles in travel for 2014) to provide such coverage. It’s the way it should be done, providing the schools and fan bases with what they deserve in coverage. Look for ads weekly in the Butler newspaper providing planned schedules of upcoming games on the Prepcasts-KCMW network and visit the website often for updates, scores, and more information.

All Hallows Eve vs Friday Football

damonAll Hallows Eve beckoned across the state of Missouri and the night would end with tricks for half of the teams as they prepare for winter sports,  The other half, though, would find treats and tickets punched to the district championships next weekend.  On the KCMW network, two games featuring WEMO teams would see intriguing match-ups.  The Midway Vikings hosted the Adrian Blackhawks in one of the most bizarre games I have seen in nearly thirty years of broadcasting.  Midway took the opening kick, marched down the field and scored on a QB keeper from Tyler Wright.  The same exact thing would happen on a second drive as Wright scored again; the only difference was a made PAT and a blocked PAT.  After Adrian’s initial first down near mid-field, a punt would pin back Midway inside their two, but they marched right down the field and scored on a Conor Hayes run.  Again, the conversion failed, but Midway would punch in two more scores, reaching pay dirt in their first five possessions to go on top, 31-0.  They defeated Adrian on the road 21-0 in week three during the state-wide lightning storms.  Those two touchdowns were a run by Tanner Yahnig and a 65 yard toss from Wright to Jake Lambertz with just over a minute remaining in the half.  Then the goblins were loosed.
 
Adrian had amassed two first downs thus far and only had one substantial play not from a penalty thus far, and then senior Logan Tallman broke a tackle off the left side, ran through an arm tackle attempt, and raced to the end zone some 86 yards away to give Adrian life.  Adam Cochran nailed the PAT making the half-time score 31-7.  It was the first of three consecutive scores from Adrian to fight back in the game.  Junior QB Gage Steen would find Austin Corley for a 38 yard pitch and catch, along with another Tallman scamper, this from 48 yards out, and the score in the early fourth quarter was 31-20.  Midway’s senior QB would have two more TD runs erased from penalties and keeping the game tight, until he legally scored from 57 yards away to push the lead to 39-20 with just over two minutes remaining.  Did I mention all the big plays?  One more erupted on the next play from scrimmage as Corley would break two tackles and outrace the defense 80 yards to cut the lead back to 12.  Adrian would get the onside kick and drive down near the thirty before they finally succumbed on downs, and fell to the #2 ranked Vikings, 39-27.  Adrian ends their season at 7-4, and Midway advances to 11-0.  Accounting for four scores, Tyler Wright was the Player of the Game.
 
The Vikes will host the state ranked Jasper Eagles who took the home field advantage in beating the Rich Hill Tigers 41-35 in a back-and-forth shootout.  Thankfully, I have unlimited texts, as my phone seemingly beeped all night long with score updates as these teams traded salvos all night long, in one of the funner games around the state.  The Tigers would fall to 6-5 with the loss, and the second seed from the district travels to Midway for the district championship this coming Friday, broadcast live on Prepcasts-KCMW.
 
The Bear Network crew traveled to Osceola to feature the Indians hosting the Tipton Cardinals.  Two quick scores would put Osceola on top and they played to a stalemate the duration of the contest.  All-everything QB Driston Self, earning additional POG honors, would lead the defense with 10+ tackles, and light up the turf throwing and running in leading Osceola to a 28-12 victory.  Click here for the REPlay …  They host a game broadcast on the KCMW network this coming weekend against either Crest Ridge (#3 seed) or Skyline (#2 seed).  That game had not yet been played at publication of this blog.
 
As each week passes, trimming more teams from the playoff hunt, I will expand thoughts to additional classes and teams from the western side of the state.  Key games next week include Blue Springs visiting Rockhurst (Class 6; 14-13 Hawklet win earlier this year), Liberty North visiting Park Hill (Class 5; awesome defense against awesome ground game), Winnetonka at Fort Osage (Class 5; likely best overall KC area athlete versus maybe best team in any class in the state this year), Raytown South at Harrisonville (Class 4; Cats look to avenge upset loss to athletic Cardinals team in last year’s playoff), and Smithville at Kearney (Class 4; under-rated Warrior team battling perennially solid Kearney squad).