William Harris walked off the field at Van Horn High School feeling very good about the first practice Monday night of the Missouri senior all-star team that will take on its Kansas counterparts at 7 p.m. June 13 in the BeYOUnion.com Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game at College Boulevard Activities Center in Olathe, Kan.
“It didn’t really feel like a first practice,” said Harris, the head football coach at Van Horn who is working the Missouri team on the Falcons’ home field every night this week. “It was interesting, being a head coach and working with coaches from my staff and other staffs, we found a way to be productive and get the most work done in a short period of time. We got that done today.”
This is the second time Harris has been a part of the all-star coaching staff, as he was an assistant to Raymore-Peculiar head coach Tom Kruse three years ago – his first season leading the Falcons.
“I was so thankful that Coach Kruse selected me to be a member of his staff, so I found out a little bit what this is all about,” Harris said. “It’s interesting now because our (Van Horn) team is practicing in the morning and we’re practicing beginning around 6 each night, so it makes for some long days, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Harris chuckled when asked how he found out that he would be the head coach of the Missouri squad.
“I was actually at a Missouri Football Coaches Association meeting at Tan-Tar-A and I heard that I might be the head coach this year,” Harris said. “Then a few coaches came up and started talking to me about it and it all became real.”
While there is an inherent pressure that comes with coaching an all-star team, Harris said he is going to enjoy every minute.
“I’m a Kansas City kid and I’ve been going to these games forever,” he said. “I was never good enough to play, so I know what kind of talent we’re working with. And there is pressure – but it’s only the pressure I put on myself.
“I know that Missouri won seven in a row before Kansas won big (30-0) last year, so we’re going to do everything we can to get another Missouri winning streak started next Thursday.”
While Harris is working on the defensive side of the ball, he has complete faith in the offense as his Falcons standout Shaun Ross is one of the Missouri quarterbacks.
“We have complete faith in Shaun and we’re so proud that he is representing our school and Missouri in this game,” Harris said.
Ross is equally excited about the game.
“Working with Coach Harris and all the Missouri coaches is really exciting,” Ross said. “I moved to Van Horn from Raytown South my junior year, so I only had Coach Harris the past two years, but I have so much respect for that man.
“And even though it’s still early in the week, you can tell how he has the respect of all the Missouri all-stars, too.”