New football district will be different, not too daunting
The Lansing High football team will be classified as a 5A football school during 2006, and LHS football coach Bill Pekarek learned on Oct. 5 what his squad's district late will look like next year.
Gone will be 4A foes Basehor-Linwood, Piper and Bishop Ward. Washington, Schlagle and Shawnee Heights will be added to the schedule.
"I don't know much about them," Pekarek said. "People that do have told me that it's not a bad draw."
Pekarek's advisers may be right. Washington was 4-5 this season after a 4-2 start. Schlagle (3-6) and Shawnee Heights (3-7) both struggled, although Heights actually made it to the first round of the playoffs because its district was soft.
Still, they're not who Lansing had hoped to be paired against in district play. Instead, it wanted Kaw Valley League opponents Mill Valley and Bonner Springs to be in its district.
"We thought for sure that we'd end up with Bonner and Mill Valley, just because we're close," Pekarek said. "We thought we might end up with them and one other team that we're not used to playing, but they split all three of us up. I don't like it, but I guess you've got to deal with it for the next few years."
LHS might have to get used to playing a 5A district slate every year if the school continues to increase in size. It is the smallest 5A school for the second year in a row, but enrollment figures continue to rise.
The new district guarantees that Lansing's football schedule will get a major facelift next year. Instead of playing three league teams in its district, as well as soon-to-be-2A Immaculata during the regular season, the 2006 slate will include games against at least five 5A schools.
It will be a true 5A schedule, indeed.
"We'd much rather be 4A," Pekarek reiterated, "but apparently they're going to have to do something about that in the next couple of years. Either we're really going to grow, or maybe another school is going to grow and we're going to fall back down (to 4A), but we're the smallest team in 5A, so we'll be on the bubble for a while."
As Lansing moves into a larger classification, Pekarek said he hopes the program's number of players also will grow. He said his squad will need as many people out for football as possible to help it compete. That will be even more important considering LHS is losing a 19-member senior class this year.
"If we're going to be a 5A team, personally, I'd love to have every guy in our school out for football if we could get them," Pekarek said. "We love all of the guys that we have out and we want them out again next year, but we'd also like to have every big body in the school out for football if possible."