When minor league football comes to mind, some people scoff at the idea. For whatever reason, most people just don’t take it seriously.

That doesn’t matter to these guys.

They’re the Kansas City Shockers.

When minor league football comes to mind, some people scoff at the idea. For whatever reason, most people just don’t take it seriously.
That doesn’t matter to these guys.
They’re the Kansas City Shockers. They’re made up of players who don’t get paid, don’t have agents, don’t have million-dollar contracts, and don’t have the games at the big stadiums in front of thousands of fans.
But they don’t care.
“They take this very seriously,” head coach Tim Ellis said. “They love to play football. They love the game. For whatever reason, these guys weren’t able ascend to the next level, but they give it everything they’ve got, and I commend them for not being compensated for all the work they put in.”
Ellis is beginning his first year as head coach of the Shockers, who play their home opener at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday at Kaw Field in Sugar Creek.
His players like what he’s done so far with the team.
“I like the coach. I think he’s trying to get his rhythm with the players and everything, and trying to get his feet in the ground, get the right motion going for us as far as the team,” linebacker Justin Gilmore said. “But I think he’s a great coach, and I think we’ll go far with him.”
Team “spiritual leader” and wide receiver Wayne King also had kind words for his coach.
“He’s the most violently passionate coach you could ever dream of,” King said.
“He doesn’t care how many people he’s in front of when he tells you what you did wrong,” he added, laughing. “But I think that’s a good thing. You like to have a guy that will come in and is passionate about the game. I think it’s good for the team that he’s coming and telling you, ‘This is how it’s going to be.’ ”
The Shockers field a team that features several local players, including graduates of Blue Springs, Truman Van Horn, William Chrisman, Fort Osage, Raytown and area colleges.
The team plays in the North American Football League in the Southern Conference in the Southwest Region in the Heartland Division along with two other squads, the St. Louis Bulldogs and rival Midwest Titans of Harrisonville.
The team is playing their first season in calling Sugar Creek their home, and general manager Matt Williams likes it that way.
“We were playing games at Rockhurst and William Jewell last year and we’d be saying, ‘Wow we need about 3,000 more fans,’” Williams said, laughing. “With [Kaw Field] we can have a packed house with about 30 people. It’s a lot better for us playing in a small community.”
Williams, a William Chrisman graduate whose been with the organization since its creation, starts at linebacker for the Shockers.
“The thing with our team is we don’t have that big name player,” he said. “We go up against teams that have former Division I players and sometimes people who have played in the NFL, and we go and knock them out.”
Ellis echoed Williams’ statement.
“We’re getting our team in that mindset that of ‘anybody, anytime, anywhere.’ And as a coach, you want to see your guys confident that they can go out and be competitive with any team in the league,” Ellis said.
Ellis had a couple of offensive weapons to look out for this year, including running backs Shemond Davis and Reggie Bent, wide receiver Kory Woodberry and tight end Victor Newman.
“Those guys should make a lot of good things happen,” Ellis said.
The team also features Eric Moore of Fort Osage, Josh Auman of Truman, Doniell Robinson and Tony Vaka of Van Horn, Nick Jerde of Blue Springs and Singa Sua, who attended both Fort Osage and Truman.
Ellis is implementing a pro-set offense and 3-4 defense, however, Ellis stressed that the Shockers would have a lot of packages out of their base sets.
“We’re going to be a multifaceted offense and a solid defense,” he said. “We don’t want to be known as the team that only does one thing.”
The Shockers took on another high-voltage team last week in the Iowa Lightning, but the game was scheduled as a non-league, preseason game. Although the score read 48-17 in favor of the Lightning, Ellis said the score didn’t reflect the game.
“It was 20-17 going into the fourth quarter. They ran a kick back and we had some turnovers that they capitalized on. So people may see it as a lopsided game, but it was a lot more competitive than it seems.
“It was still a stinging defeat,” Ellis added. “It was an eye-opener for us.”
Ellis is confident his team can bounce back on Saturday against the Columbia Trojans, whom the Shockers will play again to close out their season on Sept. 26 in Columbia.
“It’s going to be a pretty good game,” he said. “The fans are definitely going to get their money’s worth.”