Two perennial powers will battle it out for the revised Suburban Middle Six championship.

Two perennial powers will battle it out for the revised Suburban Middle Six championship.

The Examiner’s poll of the coaches revealed Lee’s Summit West and Park Hill are the co-favorites. Then came St. Joseph Central, North Kansas City, Truman and Ruskin. A coach couldn’t rank his own team.

West is in the conference’s second tier for the first time. So is Ruskin after combining with now-closed Hickman Mills.

West comes off a 7-4 season, including 4-1 in the old Suburban Middle Six.
Twenty-seven lettermen will lead the Titans bid for a fifth consecutive winning season and state playoff berth.

Park Hill rebuilds with only two returning offensive and defensive starters. But at Park Hill rebuilding usually means reloading.

“We will be very inexperienced,” coach Greg Reynolds said. “The offensive line led by senior Adam Vanderpool must develop quickly for backfield of Trace Norfleet, quarterback Nathan Wilson and Jordan Wang to function. The same with the defensive line.”

The Trojans come off a banner 9-2 season and third consecutive conference title.

Central could be the darkhorse, returning six starters on offense and defense.

“Our entire backfield is back,” new coach Jeff Wallace said. “We had a very productive group in the Big Seven last year and this year we are down to the Middle Six.

“We have a lot of speed and should be difficult to defend. We graduated four of five offensive linemen, but we have our best back in junior Mike Meinert. We also graduated three of four defensive backs.”

Ryan Wallace should be one of the conference’s title quarterbacks. He will lead a potent backfield of Malkaam Muhammad, Alex Ray and Corey Jackson.

Central was 3-7 in the tough Big Seven last year.

North Kansas City
The Hornets move up a league to the Middle Six.

“Several changes in coaching staff and a new level of dedication by athletes will bring us back to a competitive level this fall,” said coach Chad Valadez.

The Hornets expect to improve upon a 1-9 season.

The Patriots have a new coach in Jeff Floyd. Athletic director Eric Holm is the offensive coordinator.

Six starters return, including junior quarterback David Franklin.

Greg Valenzuela takes off a Ruskin program that should improve because of the incoming talent from Hickman Mills.

Ruskin will have more numbers and experience. Speed also will be an asset.