Friday Night Fever
Kansas Pregame digital version now online, hard copy distribution late this week
“I got a fever, and the only prescription, is more (football)!”
Much like Christopher Walken’s character in the legendary Saturday Night Live sketch “More Cowbell,” I’m in need of a treatment. A healing remedy of pads popping, fans screaming, linemen grunting and option QBs...well...optioning.
No, the answer is not more of Will Ferrell’s overdone cowbell in the sketch - though I’m a huge fan - the “two Tylenol and call me in the morning” for this fever is high school football.
Full disclosure, my original theme for the 16th Annual Kansas Pregame Football Preview was, “Post Pandemic in Pads,” but, the pandemic may have other plans. At press time it appears it may yet impact games this fall with quarantines, cancellations and confusion.
Regardless, Kansas is now better equipped to handle school and athletics in the COVID era and the expectation is that the school year and football season will go forward as planned.
I miss football!
I know we had a football season last fall, but the drama surrounding delayed starts and constant schedule changes, limited fan attendance and COVID protocols, made last season unique, and not in a good way.
Teams like Valley Heights and Phillipsburg saw promising playoff runs end early at the hands of the virus, 3A Holton played a game with as few as 17 players available at one point because of quarantines, and all five of the Kansas City Kansas Public high schools never played a game at all, and these are just a few of the stories of teams challenged by the COVID safety protocols.
It felt like the slowest and fastest season in memory, all at the same time.
But the season happened. It was played all the way through the state championships in late November. Most of the fall sports athletes in Kansas avoided the heartbreak of their spring peers in the Class of 2020 and played at least a significant portion of their schedule.
Now, more than in the past, I miss football. The start of it represents a kind of normalcy present in my life from my earliest memories.
Football isn’t padded gladiators battling in the arena, it’s an instant character building fan involved community melodrama. It is...Americana!
No football season in Kansas can start without the release of Kansas Pregame, and the 16th annual issue features more returning starters, more statistics and more coach’s comments than ever before.
Check out the digital edition online here, and check back on social media for details regarding the distribution plan.
McCullick joins staff full-time
The 16th annual issue features one notable change, for the first time ever we have a full-time staff writer, Keegan McCullick, focused on previewing the football season on our behalf.
It’s not the first time the former Minneapolis High School quarterback has written for Kansas Pregame. Shortly after completing high school the young writer penned a few features for the magazine.
After graduating with a degree in History from K-State, followed by an exploration of a couple different careers, McCullick returns to Kansas Pregame in a full-time capacity.
Be sure to share your story ideas with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dubbert serves as summer intern
For the third year in a row, Kansas Pregame took advantage of the Nex-Generation Round-up for Youth program and St. John’s-Beloit/Tipton graduate Lauryn Dubbert played a pivotal role in gathering and formatting capsule information and covering Sharp Performance football combines and showcases for us this summer.
The same tenacity that helped Dubbert complete one of the all-time great small school high school sports careers was evident in her efforts for Kansas Pregame. Now she heads off to Newman University in Wichita where she’ll play basketball for the Jets.
Thank You Sponsors!
If you’ve ever heard me speak to a group of young athletes or listened to one of my radio appearances you’ve probably heard me reference the importance of being thankful, or noticed my emphasis on crediting our sponsors. Our publication is free to the players, parents, coaches and fans because of the support of our sponsors. Yes, they get extremely valuable exposure for their products and services by advertising with us, but they also advertise because they know it supports coverage of youth activities across Kansas, and because it provides a valuable keepsake publication families can cherish and share for generations to come.
So, let me say just once more: “Thank You, Sponsors!” for making our publications possible.
More coverage at KansasPregame.com
Look for additional coverage of high school sports this school year at KansasPregame.com. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more details and visit KansasPregame.com early and often.
As always: Let the coaches coach, the officials officiate, the players play, and be a great fan of high school sports!
Welcome to Kansas Pregame 2021!
For the past 16 years Kansas Pregame has provided the most complete preview of high school football in the Sunflower State.
Find expanded coverage of Kansas high school sports, digital editions of our magazines, and a list of free print distribution locations at www.kansaspregame.com.
Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
John Baetz & Bree McReynolds-Baetz, Publishers
Co-owners of Sixteen 60 Publishing Co., publishers of Kansas Pregame Football Magazine and the
Kansas Pregame Winter and Spring Editions,
along with other specialty publications.
Layout and Design: Becky Rathbun
Advertising Support Services: Kayla Kvacik, Kvacik Graphics
Advertising Sales: John Baetz
Staff Writer: Keegan McCullick; Intern: Lauryn Dubbert
Contributing Writers: Brent Maycock
Contributing Photographers: Julie Kuhlmann,
juliekuhlmannphotography.com; Bree McReynolds-Baetz Photography; Everett Royer, KSportsImages.com;
Joey Bahr, joeybahr.com; Tim Galyean, tgfoto.com
Acknowledgments: With a project of this size and scope we can’t possibly thank all the contributors, but a special “Thank You!” goes out to the coaches, athletic directors, parents and athletes who helped us secure team information. Thank you to the advertisers - without your support this publication would not be a reality. To all those involved with the completion of this publication in any way,
Mail inquiries to email@example.com or
Kansas Pregame, PO Box 186, Lincoln, KS 67455
Publication Date: Volume 16, August 16, 2021
Kansas Pregame Football Magazine was founded by
John and Bree Baetz and Tim McGonagle in 2005.
The 2021 Kansas Pregame cover features were photographed by Julie Kuhlmann at the beautiful Rolling Hills Zoo just west of Salina. Action shots on the cover, with photographer credit, are as follows: C.J. Hamilton, File Photo; Damon Redeker, Stephen Coleman; Drew Daniels, Steve Adleson; Gabe Martin, Carolyn Eddington; Silas Etter, Camden Ridinger; Keyan Miller, Jennifer Giersch; Mason Ellis, Greg Proctor; Isaac Mendez, Kay Haffner; Zack Sisemore, Nick Verbenec; Tobi Osunsanmi, Zac Carlson; Grant Schoenrock, Everett Royer; Casen Stallbaumer, Shelly Prengel; Joel Applebee, Lori Wood Habiger
Cover sponsorship provided by Rolling Hills Zoo and Wildlife Museum, Sharp Performance, Seatbelts Are For Everyone and Visit Salina.