High school football previews: Eagles look to carry on after strong finish last season
Grain Valley football coach David Allie was feeling energized Monday morning following the announcement of the Suburban Conference vote to have sports this fall.
The vote was 21-6, with the six registering as undecided.
“It looks like we’re playing Friday night, we’re excited about that,” Allie said of his team’s scheduled game at Smithville. “And all any of us have ever asked for is a chance. Give us a chance, let us play a couple of games and see what happens.”
He knows things could still change, but he can’t wait for practice when it appears the Eagles will be enjoying Friday night under the lights.
“There have been so many distractions this fall, with things seemingly changing on a daily basis,” the veteran coach said. “What’s been nice for me, our coaches and our players, is that three-hour period when we’re out on the field practicing and we’re just focusing on football.
“We’re not concerned with all that other stuff. But I know as of Monday morning, we’re playing Friday, but who knows after that? I’ll be honest with you, we’re going to enjoy this week, hopefully we get off to a great start Friday and then we’ll see what happens.”
While his district champion Eagles lost many premier players from last year’s 9-4 state quarterfinal team, Allie is quick to say the tank is not empty this year.
“I feel really good about our offense and our defense,” said Allie, who returns seven offensive starters, including three-year starting quarterback Cole Keller, and eight defensive starters.
“Jack Bailey and Landon Hinton are going to anchor our offensive line and we’re going to have some great offensive weapons.
“We’re excited to get Cole back, he is a special player and athlete. Last year, when he got hurt, we put (Parker) Bosserman in at quarterback and he did a great job, so you might see a mixture of both of them in the backfield.
“They’re two players who are rarely going to leave the field.”
And that excites Keller, who injured his knee late in the season, missed the Eagles’ successful playoff run, and then missed all but three basketball games.
“I’m a senior, and this year is huge for me and all the guys on the team,” Keller said. “We didn’t get to play baseball last year and nine seniors who had dreamed about that season since they were little kids didn’t get the chance to play.
“This season could really be special for our team. We have so many weapons on offense and our defense is getting after it.”
When asked about his knee injury, that happened in Week 9 against Raytown South, Keller smiles.
“I’m 100 percent,” he said. “Really, I don’t even think about it anymore. I’ve worked so hard on rehab, and worked so hard this fall, I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been. I just want to get the season started and see what happens (with the pandemic).”
Joining Keller, Bosserman, Bailey and Hinton as returning starters are tight end Parker Stone, wide receiver Carter Day and running back/tight end Hunter Newsom, who will also help anchor the defense as a starting linebacker.
“Everything starts with Hunter on our defense,” Allie said. “Last year he was back there with Seth (Dankenbring), and this year he’s going to be playing with some new guys who have really made an impact on practices.
“Donovan McBride is a three-year starter and he will anchor the defensive line and Quincy Jones will make an impact on the defensive line, too.”
Other returning starters are defensive lineman Josh McCoy, linebacker Cameron Mickelson and defensive back Brayden Terry.
Bosserman returns as punter and Austin Schmitt returns as the kicker.
Eagles at a glance
Head coach: David Allie (seventh season, 39-29 at Grain Valley, 121-102 overall).
Assistant coaches: Ben Andes, Ryan Adams, Chris Barr, Pete Carpino, Chris Cochran, Matt Curtis, Dominic Giangrosso, Trace Goade, Jeremy Gremminger, Chris Pate, Eric Stone, Mike Tarrants, Steve Williams
2019 record: 9-4 (4-2 Suburban Small Seven), Class 4 state quarterfinalist.
Returning letter-winners: 22
Returning offensive starters: Jack Bailey, 6-2, 250, sr., OL; Parker Bosserman, 5-8, 150, sr., WR; Carter Day, 6-1, 150, sr., WR; Landon Hinton, 5-9, 240, sr., OL; Cole Keller, 6-4, 200, sr., QB; Hunter Newsom, 5-11, 185, sr., TE/RB; Parker Stone, 6-4, 180, sr., TE; Austin Schmitt, 6-0, 140, soph., K
Returning defensive starters: Quincy Jones, 5-10, 260, sr., DL; Donovan McBride, 6-4, 280, sr., DL; Josh McCoy, 5-9, 230, sr., DL; Cameron Mickelson, 6-5, 170, sr., LB; Hunter Newsom, 5-11, 185, sr., LB; Brayden Terry, 5-10, 160, sr., DB; Parker Bosserman, 5-8, 160, sr., P.
Others to watch: Sawyer Farris, 5-11, 260, jr., DL; Keegan Hart, 5-11, 150, soph., DB; Jaydon Jacobson, 5-10, 175, sr.; LB; Jordan Jones, 5-11, 175, jr., DB; Zach Kirk, 5-10, 180, sr., DB; Trent Knox, 6-2, 140, sr., DB; Logan Pratt, 5-8, 140, jr., WR; Jaxon Wyatt, 5-8, 160, jr., RB.