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Finalists for Driskell Coach Of The Year award announced

Posted at 6:15 PM, Dec 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-02 19:15:10-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Simeone Awards throughout its existence have awarded the best high school football athletes in the Kansas City area.

But the coaches also get some recognition too during these awards.

The finalists for the Eric Driskell Coach of the Year Award, named after the former Blue Valley High School coach who passed away in 2017, have been announced.

The four finalists for the award are Olathe Northwest coach Lorne Clark, Center High School coach Bryan DeLong, Gardner Edgerton coach Jesse Owen and Blue Springs South coach Alan Wilmes.

All four finalists have deserving cases to win the award this year.

Clark was able to coach the Ravens to eight wins, the most in program history. Among those wins, Olathe Northwest was able to beat rivals Olathe South and Olathe West to advance to the Kansas 6A state semifinals for the first time in school history.

But the team dream season would end their as they would lose to Gardner-Edgerton 55-7.

DeLong returned the Yellowjackets back to one of the best high school programs in the Kansas City area, going 11-1 for the season led by a brick wall defense that allowed under 20 points in eight of those games.

Among the most notable wins by the Yellowjackets included a 53-27 victory against Pleasant Hill when both teams were undefeated at the time, which nailed down their first Missouri River Valley Conference West title since joining the league four years ago.

Unfortunately the team's season would end early as they lost to then-defending Class 4 champ Smithville in the quarterfinals.

Owen helped guide the Trailblazers to the programs first Class 6A championship game. Gardner-Edgerton started the season strong, going 3-0.

The team did have a few bumps in the road along the way, with only scoring two points against Olathe North being the most notable, but the team got back to basics and worked their way to the Class 6A title game, where they would lose to Manhattan 21-20 in double overtime.

Wilmes has helped rebuild a struggling Blue Springs South program that only achieved 7 total wins from 2018-2021.

The Jaguars were successfully able to achieve the same amount in just this high school season, where their most notable win was an 18-point comeback win in the fourth quarter against Park Hill.

The team's season would end in the district semifinals against Liberty North, one of the top high school programs in the state.

The winner will be announced Tuesday, Dec. 6.