Competitive Drive: City league teams taking advantage of a season that was once in doubt

Competitive Drive

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It has been a whirlwind season for football teams in the Greater Wichita Athletic League (GWAL).

They went from having their season taken away two months ago to give back to them within a span of two weeks.

Friday night will pit the only two undefeated teams in the GWAL this season, the Northwest Grizzlies and East Blue Aces.

Blue Aces head coach Ene Akpan reflected on what the beginning of the season was like.

“Going through COVID times when we were off for two weeks, I knew we had a special team I was worried we wouldn’t get to play,” said Akpan.

Flash forward to now, Akpan’s squad is taking advantage of the opportunity to play.

For the first time since 2008, the Blue Aces have started a season 4-0. Their high flying offense has put up 80 points or more twice, with freshman quarterback Daeonte Mitchell running things from under center.

“We pushed him and gave him some little extra work and things like that to get him ready,” said Akpan.

Seniors, like wide receiver A.J. King, have helped Mitchell get acclimated and benefitted from his success.

“It’s been cool trying to help him with more experience and help him get ready for when we leave,” said King.

As for the Grizzlies, the 5A runner-ups the past two seasons, they haven’t missed a beat.

Head coach Steve Martin’s team has outscored their opponents, 274 to 28, taking full advantage of having ten starters return on defense from last year’s 12-win team.

“That always helps and those guys have been a catalyst in what we are doing, Zach Daher, Nathan Hale, and Nathan Carter up front are doing a good job with us upfront,” said Martin. “For us, we are just ready to get ready for November, so anytime we can have a good game and get us ready for the playoffs is what we look for.

As for East, they have that next game up mentality.

“Honestly, beating Northwest would be good, would be something good for Friday night, but Saturday we move on to West High and we go and try to do the same job,” said Akpan.

The Grizzlies showdown with the Blue Aces is the KSN Friday Football Fever Game of the Week.

The Friday Football Fever crew will be live from Northwest High School to bring you a preview of the game on KSN News at 5 and 6 p.m.

KSN Sports Taylor Rocha will have a live recap of the game during our Friday Football Fever show.


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