Kansas Pregame 2020 is now online, hard copy distribution starts this week
Previewing the high school football season in a pandemic creates a unique set of challenges, chief among them is knowing whether or not there will be a football season at all. Navigating photo shoot location lockdowns and securing replacement sponsors for those lost in the economic downturn are just a couple of the many others.
But one challenge we never could have anticipated when work on the publication roared into full-swing this summer was the on-again, off-again start to the season - not on a statewide basis, but district-by-district.
As I write this, additional districts have put a pause on practices because of positive COVID-19 tests and the patrons of USD 259 in Wichita are protesting the cancellation of the fall sports season in the district. Kansas City, Kan., public schools and several Johnson County high schools will also forgo fall sports and in-person learning, in hopes of limiting the community spread of the virus.
Virus-related delays pushed back our release date later than ever, and a 128-page magazine with previews for every football team in the state is nearly impossible to revise. Therefore, some of the information in this publication is not accurate.
Schools in Olathe have witnessed the transfer of players desperate to have a senior season before heading off to college, including Kansas Pregame coverboy Arland Bruce IV, now at Ankeny High School in Iowa. Teams with Wichita public schools on their schedule have scrambled to fill empty dates. Large classification state powers Derby and Mill Valley will face off in a marquee Week 1 contest following changes to both teams’ originally scheduled season openers.
All this is happening under the cloud of possible cancellation. The Kansas State High School Activities Association has reiterated its commitment to let decisions about the season be made at the local level, letting those choosing to play and being allowed to play by their local school boards and health departments, play. KSHSAA has also indicated that playing the season in the spring may be an option for some districts who have already cancelled.
So, given these considerations, know that much of this preview is still accurate and takes a look at the season which is scheduled to start Friday, September 4th - or at least as I type these words that remains the case.
For some teams, this preview will be a “what might have been” look at the season, and to those athletes, coaches and their families go our best wishes.
High school football is much more than a game to me. As a former player, coach and a long-time high school sports writer - and the much younger brother of a former state champion - football has been part of my life for nearly as long as I can remember. My heart breaks for those young people who lost their fall sports season, as well as the spring athletes from earlier this year, especially those seniors who lost their final year of organized high school sports.
Whatever is in store this season, hopefully, for you and your families, this publication will provide a fond memory of the joy of high school sports.
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, we want to hear your story suggestions, so message us on any of our social media platforms, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or text us at (785) 524-6019.
And remember: Let the players play, the coaches coach, the officials officiate, and be a positive fan of Kansas high school sports!