Talk about something to prove. Iola High’s Mustangs set out on their final season in Southeast Kansas League football picked to finish last in the 2011 season.
That wasn’t a surprise slot for the Mustangs. They were winless in the SEK and 0-9 overall in 2010. Southeast Kansas League coaches released their 2011 preseason football poll last week.
Coaches from the SEK, the Three Rivers League and the Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee (CNC) League met for a media day hosted by The Ticket — 99.1 ESPN Radio, KSEK-FM in Pittsburg last Thursday.
Crest High’s Lancers (9-2) were selected to defend their TRL Eight-Man football championship by coaches. The Lancers were 5-0 in the league a year ago and made it to the Kansas Eight-Man Division I quarterfinal round in the playoffs.
Marmaton Valley High’s Wildcats were picked to finish fifth in the TRL Eight-Man division. Uniontown High’s Eagles were picked to take second in the TRL 11-Man football division behind Oswego.
As for the SEK, the coaches named Pittsburg High’s Purple Dragons and Chanute High’s Blue Comets as co-favorites heading into the season. Both teams got four first-place votes and eight top-three votes.
Fort Scott got the other first-place vote and is in the No. 3 spot. Coffeyville is fourth in the preseason poll followed by Columbus, Independence, Parsons and Labette County.
The last time the Mustangs were picked near the bottom of the SEK, they put together a playoff run. In 2008, the Mustangs went 4-2 in SEK play and finished fourth and were 7-3 overall, losing to Paola in Kansas Class 4A Bi-District play.
They played with a chip on their shoulders then. Maybe the 2011 edition of the Mustang football team can do the same and leave the league on a positive note.
Iola moves to the Pioneer League next year.
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