Archive for Thursday, May 31, 2001

Barnett selected to coach Metro Classic

May 31, 2001

The guy calling the shots for the Kansas team in the Metro Classic this year won't be a veteran coach from a directional school in the Blue Valley, Olathe or Shawnee Mission District.

Eudora High School Football Coach Aaron Barnett, who completed his third season with the Cardinals this fall, will lead the Kansas entry into a gridiron battle against the Missouri team in the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association on June 7 at the Olathe District Athletic Complex. Jayhawkers have had bragging rights over their Show-Me State counterparts after four of the last five Metro Classic games.

Barnett said he was pleasantly surprised when he found out he was selected as the team's head coach.

"They usually go with coaches that are retiring who have been in the metro area for a long time," Barnett said. "It is a direct reflection on our program."

With five talented running backs, Barnett plans to have his team run the ball on a consistent basis. Eudora's own Brian Harris, who will play for Benedictine College next season, will give the Kansas team a strong backfield.

The most visible back on the roster is Olathe North's Darren Sproles who will play for Kansas State next season. Blue Valley running back Jeff Byers, Blue Valley Northwest's Josh Looney and Shawnee Mission North's Brad Fayard will also be on the roster. Harris is the second Cardinal under Barnett to compete in the Metro Classic. In 1999, Eudora wide receiver David Roubison played in the classic.

Barnett said he is fortunate to have five great running backs, including Harris, who will represent the program very well.

"It is very exciting because we have five running backs who have a combined yardage of four miles," Barnett said. 'Brian had over 1,600 yards running and this is an honor for him. I'm happy about the chance to coach him one more time."

As Harris receives recognition for an outstanding senior season, Barnett adds that the senior running back's selection on the roster represents the Cardinals 9-2 Frontier League Championship team.

"It is a great honor for him and the program," Barnett said. 'He didn't get the yardage by himself, everybody was a piece of it."

Although they were not selected to play in the Metro Classic, linebacker Blaine Christianson will continue to play football at Fort Scott Community College while wide receiver Steve Krutz will play for St. Mary's College of Leavenworth.

Barnett will have eight assistant coaches on his staff including four head coaches and four assistant coaches from the metro area. Mike Smith of Frontier League rival Paola will be one of the assistant coaches while De Soto's head coach Brad Scott will also serve on Barnett's staff.

A native of Atchison County, Barnett played offensive line for Benedictine College in 1989 and 1990 and for Emporia State in 1992 and 1993. He was an assistant coach at Glendale High School in Springfield, Mo. and Lansing High School before taking over the reins at Eudora.

Barnett said the Kansas team will be up for the challenge of competing against players from the likes of Rockhurst and Blue Springs.

"Kansas and Missouri is a natural rivalry and it is no accident that any of these 45 people were selected," Barnett said. 'This will be a lot of fun for the kids and the coaches."

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