A league team has played in the 4A state title game the past three years. Eudora is a two-time state runner-up and Louisburg won the championship in 2010.
So it is a bit unusual to see over half the coaches change in the same year. Eudora, Louisburg, De Soto and Ottawa changed coaches.
“It is exciting,” Ottawa first-year coach Rob Hedrick said. “It is another aspect to the new season. It is the cycle. Coach [Mike] Berg and coach [Mike] Dumpert have been at their schools forever. Spring Hill has a good thing going. He will be around for awhile.”
Hedrick said Ottawa, Louisburg and De Soto hired within so the continuity will still be there.
“I can call several coaches in this league good friends, but you better be ready,” Hedrick said. “They are going to beat you and step on you. You know you have to earn everything you get.
“There are no gimme’s here. It does not take long for teams to expose any weaknesses you might have.”
The information Hedrick has received is Eudora, which hired outside the program, is making big changes.
Ottawa (1-0) plays 7 p.m. Friday against De Soto (0-1) at Steve Grogan Stadium. Hedrick and his staff has scoured last week’s game between De Soto and top-ranked Holton.
“They are doing the same thing defensively,” Hedrick said. “Offensively, they changed a little bit. They are still going to be physical team running team. That did not change.
“You still have to do what you do. That is what you have to focus on. We have watched a lot of film on De Soto to pick out something you can take advantage of.”
De Soto ran a lot of offensive plays against Holton.
“Offensively, they had the ball 60-to-70 percent of the time,” Hedrick said. “They kept moving the ball. We saw enough of their defense.
“We saw the base defense. Very aggressive defense. They know what they do well.”
Ottawa and De Soto has had some close games the past few seasons. Ottawa did win one a few years ago. Ottawa has not won many league games the past eight seasons.
“We have not proved many people wrong,” Hedrick said. “That is the toughest part.”
He said last week’s win over Prairie View proves the players are making progress, despite making a lot of mistakes.
“Conditioning is huge,” Hedrick said. “We did little individual work [in preseason]. We just tried to get our offense and defense in. We will be adding things new each week.
“We were very basic last week. We will try to do it from different formations. Hopefully, the defense will force more turnovers. It would be really nice to sustain some drives. That is what we need. We need to move the ball. We need to turn the field.”
The Ottawa junior varsity lost 28-20 Monday to Prairie View. Tristan Morris had 57-yard run for a touchdown. Clayton Evans scored from the 1. Trey Rich caught a 52-yard touchdown pass from Evans. Skylar Martin scored a two-point conversion.