It’s a numbers game, football. The number of points, tackles, yards, records, percentages- they ultimately determine the outcome. Numbers can also indicate the success of a given season. Here are some numbers relevant to East- There are around 17,000 varsity football teams in the nation, and about 230 teams in Kansas alone.
MaxPreps, the high school version of CBS Sports, grants 50 of the top nationally ranked and state championship winning teams with the Tour of Champions. Being one of the 50 picked out of 17,000 means being in the top one-fourth of one percent, or approximately .003%. That’s not including the odds of winning state and making it on the nationally ranked list.
The MaxPreps ranking list uses an assortment of data to rank the best teams in the nation. Including the quality of teams played. This makes it completely unbiased to the popularity or history of a team. The data program used makes it just that much harder to win, but East has beat the odds. They ended the season ranked 126 nationally, and after the win against Hutchinson (33-14) on Nov. 29 in Emporia, East gained a spot on the tour.
Ever since the loss to Derby during the state game last year, the team has been working towards state. Never could anyone have expected them winning such a prestigious award.
“I couldn’t have imagined ending [my high school football career] on this,” Senior quarterback Gunnar Englund said. “I always dreamed of it but I didn’t really know it was this in reach.”
Senior safety Charley White feels the same about the ending of their high school football career.
“In my last game I know I did everything right,” White said. “I ended as best as I could.”
For many that are a part of the team, including head coach Dustin Delaney, this award means more than any individual honor ever could.
“All of the honors are great,” Delaney said, “but whenever you get a team award it means a lot.”
At the varsity boys basketball game on Jan. 16 against SM West, MaxPreps came to present the award to the team and spectators during halftime. The student section roared throughout the ceremony.
With the whole team out on the court receiving the award and listening to the MaxPreps representative’s speech, there were many reactions from the players.
“It’s just a great honor to get the trophy,” White said. “It’s actually really cool and it’s awesome to be honored in front of all the fans at the basketball game. It just means a lot because we’ve accomplished so much.”
In 2010 the East football record was 8-2. In 2011 it was 6-5. 2012 it was 7-3. 2013, 10-2. And finally, this year the record was 14-0.
“Being recognized and being so highly ranked means a lot,” senior defensive end, Kyle Ball said, “And kinda shows how hard the team worked and how much the team deserved it.”
After the loss last year against Derby at the state championship, the team was determined to come back and win this past year.
“We had high expectations from the very beginning, since last year, and we all just bought into it so we all believed it could happen,” Ball said. “I just couldn’t have asked for a better ending.”