The Shawnee Mission-Bishop Miege Stags will have their work cut out for them to pursue their 7th straight state championship in football.
The program loses six workhorse seniors, including three upfront on the offensive line.
“We need to stay healthy and develop some depth with our young players,” said 9th-year head coach Jon Holmes.
Stepping up in the carrying duties for the Stags will be senior Josh Conklin, 6′ 190 lbs. senior, and Jaylen Burch, 5’8″ 165. junior.
In his junior campaign, Conklin recorded 339 yards and two touchdowns. He will replace Brison Cobbins, who graduated and will suit up for Missouri Western this fall.
On the front line, 6’3″ 225 lbs. senior Nathan Smith and 6’1″ 255 lbs. senior Hayden Thilges will set the holes and blocking duty for Bishop Miege.
This year, joining them will be senior Kohl Saint-Louis and Aiden Ward and juniors Jackson Hoshor and Collin Keeney.
Returning as starting quarterback is senior Timothy Dorsey.
The 5’11” 205 lbs. senior put up 3,026 yards passing along with 45 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.
The productive season led to high praise from coach Holmes.
“Dorsey had a breakout Junior season and looks to build on that during his senior campaign.”
In the regular season, the Stags offense averaged close to 39 points per game. In the playoffs, the offense became explosive, averaging close to 60 points per game.
Defensively, Bishop Miege needs new role players to step up.
Returning on the defensive line are senior Angel Franco and junior Collin Williams.
Also joining the 5’10” 195 lbs. senior and 6’4″ 240 lbs. junior is senior Max Heller and junior Jordan Wolf.
Underclassman Daegen Jensen and sophomore Lonnie Reed to provide some depth.
The strong point for the Stag defense will be its linebacking core.
A returning starter includes the productive Jack Kincaid. The 6’3″ 210 lbs. senior contributed 83 tackles, 6.5 of which for losses, in the 2019 championship season. Senior Jack Valdivia and Jonathan Pedrotti should get the starting nod this season.
The secondary returns only 1 starter. Senior cornerback Jaden Stevenson will protect downfield with seniors Carson Key, free safety Joseph Lopez, and strong safety Luk Shull.
“Replacing three multiple-year starters in the Secondary is a concern for us this season,” said Holmes.
The Stags, who will compete in 4A this year, football schedule will prepare the team for a potential 7th straight state championship.
They will host Eastern Kansas League foes Blue Valley North, Blue Valley Northwest, and Rockurst, MO, and Lutheran North.
The Stags will be on the road against 6A Blue Valley West, Blue Valley, 5A powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas, and a potential rematch in the playoffs in St. James Academy, who moves down to 4A.
“Class 4A looks to have another competitive field. The East side will return Louisburg, Paola, Chanute, and Basehor-Linwood,” commented Holmes.
“For us to advance to the state championship game, we are going to need our best effort each game during the playoffs.”