Center High School football team stretches before an evening practice on a hot August day.

South KC High School Football Preview

How do the three south KC high school football teams match up?

By Max Goodwin


The Bulldogs participate in a community night that featured free hot dogs and a Grandview scrimmage.. Photo by Max Goodwin

Grandview Bulldogs

  • Head Coach Dan Joiner, 2nd year
  • Record last season: 3-7
  • Points per game: 21.8 
  • Points allowed per game: 31.1

Grandview looks to improve in the second year with Dan Joiner leading the program. The Bulldogs went 3-7 last year, beating Truman, Ruskin, and Raytown South. Grandview opens this season at home on August 26 against William Chrisman.

The Bulldogs’ offense looks like it has made progress from last season, at least in practice. A recent scrimmage in front of parents and community members began with a 60-yard touchdown run as blockers opened wide gaps in the defense. Throughout the practice, quarterbacks and receivers looked to be in a good rhythm.

Grandview has a star athlete in junior Malachi Ross at cornerback. However, he’s made his name in the boxing ring rather than the football field. Ross has won multiple national boxing titles, including a recent Junior Olympics championship. He was also named Most Outstanding Youth in the 2022 Kansas City People’s Choice Awards. Maybe he can use his boxing skills to punch a few balls loose this season for the Bulldogs. 

There is always an Akinmoladun or two on the roster at Grandview, and this year is no different, with two Akinmoladuns. Demetri Akinmoladun is a senior who plays right guard and Dakota Akinmoladun is also a senior and plays defensive tackle. 

Olukeyode Akinmoladun graduated in 2011 and plays offensive and defensive line for the Omaha Beef of Champions Indoor Football. Freedom Akinmoladun graduated in 2014 and attended the University of Nebraska before playing in the NFL and now the USFL.

Center Yellowjackets at their August 16th Jamboree. Photo Center High School

Center Yellowjackets

  • Head Coach Bryan DeLong, 14th season
  • Record last season: 5-4
  • Points per game: 34.3   
  • Points allowed per game: 21.7

Center lost two of its biggest offensive weapons, quarterback Joseph Vick and running back JaCorey Love, late in the season to injury. Without them on the sidelines, Center lost the Class 3 State Tournament game against Summit Christian Academy, 23-18.

“Hopefully, it will be a lesson to us as players and coaches,” Head Coach Bryan DeLong said. “It’s a team game, and the physicality of the game, you never know what’s going to happen.”

Vick returns from a serious knee injury less than a year ago and will start at quarterback for the Yellowjackets in his senior season. 

“He throws the ball well, he’s an athlete, he can run it,” DeLong said. “He’s kind of our straw that stirs the drink. We motion a lot, timing with our run game. It changed when we didn’t have him back there in the playoffs last year.”

Love is a junior this year and will start at running back. When the Yellowjackets’ offense is healthy and at the top of its game, it’s an explosive unit with playmakers all over the field that Vick can make the most out of with his arm.

With a difficult conference schedule in the Missouri River Valley Conference, Coach DeLong knows it will prepare the team for the playoffs once they reach that point. 

The last two seasons have been a bit disappointing for Center, going just 9-8 during that time. DeLong says the goal is to get back to what Center was able to accomplish just a few years ago. 

In 2019, Center finished at 10-2 and made the District Championship, where they lost to eventual state champions Odessa. The Yellowjackets are set on reaching that double-digit win category once again this season.

Just four seniors graduated from last season’s team and there’s a lot of talent returning but like last season, not as many numbers to fill out the depth of a roster that DeLong would like to see. 

Last year, the NFL selected Ruskin High Junior Dalyn Harden as its season finale’s “New Way to Play” national award winner for his tackling form. He returns as a Senior and is a force to watch.

Ruskin Eagles

  • Head Coach William Perkins, 8th season
  • Record last season: 2-7
  • Points per game: 12.9
  • Points allowed per game: 36.9

Ruskin managed just two wins in 2021, but it equaled the most wins that Ruskin has had in any season of the last decade. The Eagles will try to make progress on that this year.

Last season began with Belton returning the kick-off for a touchdown at home against Ruskin, and never got on the right track from there. 

These were two bright spots in the season with wins over Wyandotte and Raytown South. Both of those schools are on the Ruskin schedule for this year. 

If there is one game circled on the Ruskin schedule for this season, it’s the game against rival Grandview. The Bulldogs were dominant last year in a 42-6 win.

To get the football season started there will be a Ruskin vs. Hickman Mills alumni game at Ruskin High School on August 20 at 3 p.m.

The season starts for the Eagles on August 26 on the road against Central (St. Joseph). Ruskin will open its home schedule on September 2 against Oak Park. 



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