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Macon's mix of leadership and athleticism drives Washington

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KCK QB hopes to lead Wildcats to more victories this fall

  • KC-Washington senior quarterback Cory Macon hopes to lead Washington to another winning season. (Photos by Brian Turrel,
    KC-Washington senior quarterback Cory Macon hopes to lead Washington to another winning season. (Photos by Brian Turrel,

On March 10, Kansas City-Washington football players Cory Macon and Jalen Spencer earned National Honor Society induction for the 2019-20 school year. Macon, with a cumulative 3.8 grade-point average, finished the semester with a 4.0. 

Last season, Macon and Spencer helped Washington football post a 6-3 mark, the first winning year for the program since ’14, and the most single season victories by the Wildcats in 15 years.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound left-handed Macon served as the primary signal caller in a two-quarterback system for new coach Camron Smith, a Washington alum and former University of Minnesota lineman. As a junior, Macon completed 63 of 127 passes for 993 yards with 11 scores against four interceptions. 

He finished with 44 carries for 282 yards and four touchdowns. Spencer, a linebacker, was limited to five games and recorded 19 tackles. The 5-foot-6, 185-pound Spencer has a 3.6 GPA.

The NHS announcement yielded a Facebook post from within the Kansas City Kansas Public School district.

“They’re being looked at by Ivy League schools for academics as well as athletics and are great examples of KCKPS,” it read.

Macon and Spencer are part of a talented student-athlete group at Washington. This season, the Wildcats will try to win the first playoff game in school history. Washington is 0-6 all-time in the playoffs, according to Prep Power Index.

“It just felt great to be out there, and just to get a better feel of the game and to be able to showcase my talents and my team as a whole,” Macon said of ‘19. “I felt like we did pretty good on the season. We just got to work as a team better.”

Macon, according to a massive MaxPreps coaches survey this spring, is one of the two most overlooked Kansas prospects in the Class of 2021. 

Macon, who has attended three high schools and had his family displaced by a devastating fire in summer ’18, has received interest/camp invites from Yale, Princeton, South Dakota, Washburn, Missouri Western and Navy, among others. Macon is a Wichita State honors scholar.

On Friday, Macon impressed with his arm and athleticism at the Sharp Performance High School Football Showcase, held at Kansas Wesleyan in Salina. The event drew more than 400 athletes from across Kansas. Masks were worn throughout and social distancing was enforced because of coronavirus concerns. Many of the state's other camps and combines were cancelled this summer because of coronavirus, and the Sharp Performance event was one of the few opportunities for many athletes to have testing.

Athletes ran the 40-yard dash twice, and the official time recorded is the average of the two times. Full results will be available this week on the Sharp Performance website. Macon posted a 4.86 in the 40, a 4.49 pro agility and jumped 29.5 inches. He did 225 twice on the bench press. Afterward, Macon stayed to help pick up trash around the facility.

The quarterback group ran consistently in the 4.7 to 4.93 range, a crop that included Cheylin’s Colton McCarty, Leoti-Wichita County’s Kayde Rietzke, Perry-Lecompton’s Billy Welch, Victoria’s Grant Schoenrock, Hoisington’s Mason Haxton, Maize South’s Colin Shields, Goddard’s Kyler Semrad and Haven’s Darby Roper. Chapman quarterback Trevor Erickson posted a 4.55. The pro agilities from the above athletes ranged from 4.29 to 4.65.

McCarty, Haxton and Erickson hold offers from Bethel, while notably Semrad and Shields are among the most experienced big school quarterbacks in Kansas. Welch is one of a couple of returning passers who cleared 2,000 yards in ’19. He threw for 2,316 as P-L finished as 3A state runner-up.

In the winter of 2019, MaxPreps reached out to high school coaches nationwide to find 100 of the most under-recruited players in the country. When the spring and most of the summer was cancelled because of coronavirus, MaxPreps received an “enormous” response with more than 500 surveys returned in a week. The MaxPreps Midwest region features 12 states, including Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri and talent-rich Ohio. 

The list featured 97 players with two from the Sunflower State: Lakin 5-foot-8, 200-pound lineman Dawson Aller who can squat 500 pounds, and Macon. MaxPreps noted FCS as a recommended college level for Macon. He was Washington’s MaxPreps player of the game three times last season.

“Physical left-handed passer,” MaxPreps notes read. “Great improvisational skills, can throw on the run off front or back foot, powerful runner, high football IQ.”

Macon first went to K.C. Turner the first semester of his freshman year. Then, for the second half of his freshman year and full sophomore year, Macon attended K.C. Schlagle. His father, Cernyn, has coached at several schools in the K.C. area. In ’17, Macon was the offensive coordinator at K.C. Schlagle when the Stallions finished 9-1 and Ivan Webb led Kansas with 2,842 rushing yards.

Coach Macon, a US Army veteran and special education teacher, is currently Washington’s co-offensive coordinator. His wife, Shavon, is a nurse. Cory has two brothers and a sister. On July 7, 2018, a fire went through townhomes in Kansas City, Kan. 

The fire killed a child, and displaced more than a dozen people, including seven families, according to a Fox 4 report from July 8, 2018. Cernyn Macon had raised his family at 731 N. 73rd Terrace and had completely renovated the inside of the 1967 townhome. 

The family lost books, food, clothing, personal identification cards, bedding and other supplies and memories, such as Shavon’s cap, gown and $400 stethoscope from her recent nursing school graduation. On Saturday, Cory confirmed the Macons have lived with his grandparents ever since and have been looking for affordable places for awhile.

In ’18, Macon served as the backup quarterback and linebacker for Schlagle and saw spot time. He accounted for about 60 yards of total offense and 10-plus tackles before transferring to nearby Washington. 

Schlagle and Washington are big KCK rivals, and the school districts are separated by a street. The schools are 2.9 miles apart.

Macon counts several recent Schlagle standouts as great friends, including Jaylin Richardson and Joshua Becton, and grew up playing with Schlagle players. Richardson cleared 5,000 career rushing yards and is at Northern Iowa. The all-purpose Becton attends Valparaiso. Both are FCS schools.

Last fall, Macon felt “a lot of pressure” when he came to Washington. The Wildcats were on its fifth coach in five years and had not won a season opener since ’08. Smith, an ’04 Washington graduate, became head coach, a position he coveted for several years. 

Last fall, Smith said he wanted to keep the job until he retired. Washington opened with wins versus Atchison – the first against the Redmen since ’13 – and K.C. Harmon. 

“Coach Smith, he’s a very nice guy,” Macon said. “… He’s a church guy. He has a lot of standards for us, and we try and live up to them everyday.”

Senior Thomas Anderson and Macon switched off at quarterback early. However, Anderson eventually became the primary running back and led the team with 904 rushing yards and 14 scores. Senior Tywan Muturi picked off 11 passes and signed with Division II Nebraska-Kearney.

Washington lost 31-6 to Blue Valley Southwest, an eventual 3-8 team from the challenging Eastern Kansas League, in Week 9 bracket play. Washington’s top-four tacklers last fall were seniors, and Macon has already asked the defensive coordinator to play both ways. 

In addition to Macon and Spencer, senior running back Kyren Angelo is back after he rushed for 282 yards and a pair of scores. Senior lineman Anderson Jones, listed at 6-2, 315 last season, returns. Juniors Jason Black (RB/WR) and Javon Roach (WR/CB) are expected to be key players.

“Last year, we just lacked a few things,” Macon said. “One of them was discipline. We didn’t have enough discipline to beat a Blue Valley team, but I feel like this year we just come in as a team, as a whole and work the whole nine games, we will win that ninth game.”