Some things never seem to change in Missouri high school football.

Some things never seem to change in Missouri high school football.

Such as Harrisonville remaining one of the state’s elite Class 4 teams.

Whether the Wildcats can match last season’s 11-2 success and advancement to the state quarterfinals remains to be seen. But for now the Wildcats are a solid favorite to claim a third consecutive Missouri River Valley Conference West title.

Grain Valley finished second in The Examiner’s poll of the coaches. Then came Pleasant Hill, Odessa, Oak Grove and Excelsior Springs.

“We must replace the quarterback position and build depth on the offensive and defensive lines,” Harrisonville coach Chuck Lliteras said. “We have talented skill people on both sides of the ball and must improve in the kicking game.”

The perennially strong Eagles again expect to challenge Harrisonville for the title.

“We lost a Division I quarterback in Austin Gouldsmith, only two returning starters on the offensive line and lost two three-year starters in Trace Goade and Drew Liddle,” Grain Valley coach Forrest Rovello said.

“A new backfield will be young but talented, there is good overall team speed at the skill positions, return eight starters on defense and the players and coaches have adjusted to the second year platoon system.”

Twenty-one lettermen return from a 9-3 team that fell to Harrisonville in the second round of the state playoffs.

Pleasant Hill is another conference power.

Ten lettermen return from an 8-5 team that fell to O’Hara 50-49 in a wild game in the state Class 3 quarterfinals.

“We have many question marks concerning skill positions,” coach Kyle Roach said. “Our young ones will have to step up for us to competitive.”

Former Park Hill South assistant Dan Joiner is the new Odessa coach.

“We have a hard-working group with good leadership skills,” Joiner said. “We are looking for the younger kids to step up.”

Odessa returns nine lettermen from a 4-7 team.

The Panthers have only one way to go after experiencing a tough 0-10 season.

Thirty lettermen should greatly abet the rebuilding process.

“We have many starters returning but will still be a young team,” Oak Grove coach Pete Carpino said.

Andy Sims moves from assistant coach at Liberty to head coach at Excelsior Springs. The Tigers were 2-8 last season.

“The 2010 Tigers will enter this season with new hope and renewed optimism as they begin their attempt to climb out of the bottom of the MRVC West and back to prominence,” he said.

Sims has installed new schemes defensively, offensively and in the kicking game.
“We are going to be relying heavily upon some key returners but we are also very excited about our newcomers,” Sims said. “I want to see a team that is very physical, plays with great enthusiasm and loves to compete. If we do those things, then everything else will begin to fall into place.”