by Michael Smith
Grain Valley senior wide receiver Logan Pratt was expected to be one of the football team's biggest weapons this season.
However, an ankle injury against Truman in Week 4 has slowed him down some the past few games and caused him to miss a Week 5 game against Kearney entirely.
In Friday’s Suburban White Conference contest against Raytown, the ankle didn’t appear to be bothering Pratt that much. He caught six passes from quarterback Caleb Larson for 120 yards and two touchdowns to help Grain Valley earn a 21-14 victory at Moody Murray Memorial Field.
“It feels good to finally connect with the QB and feel healthy again,” Pratt said. “After the game last Friday, the pain started to go away and I was thinking, ‘Alright, I can push through this.’ This week, it felt good.”
Larson, who completed 6 of 7 passes for 120 yards, targeted Pratt on all of his attempts. There was a reason for that. The senior runs a 40-yard dash time of 4.4 seconds and is a threat to beat any defense deep.
With the Eagles trailing Raytown 14-13 midway through the fourth period, Pratt beat a Raytown cornerback by a step and caught a 41-yard TD pass from Larson, which ended up being the game-winner. Wide receiver Brek Sloan ran it in on a reverse for a two-point conversion to make it 21-14.
“The struggle he has been through the last few weeks with his ankle being hurt, and not being able to play the full season last year, this game was one where he showed out,” Larson said. “He came in here with heart and passion even with his ankle hurting a little bit.”
Pratt also got wide open on a 25-yard TD pass in the second quarter, which was sandwiched between field goals of 40 and 47 yards from kicker Austin Schmitt, which helped the Eagles take a 13-0 lead in the first half.
A healthy Pratt is a game changer for the Eagles, said head coach David Allie. On Friday, he accounted for 120 of the Eagles 179 yards of offense.
“It’s good to have him back close to 100 percent,” Allie said. “That outside threat is very hard to cover. Teams are going to have to account for that and they might have to double team him. That takes one of the guys who try to stop the run, to help out on Logan. That can open up some running lanes or passing lanes for us.”
Meanwhile, the defense continued to play well. This was the sixth time in eight games that Grain Valley (5-3, 3-1 conference) held an opponent to 14 points or less. It also held the Blue Jays to just 219 total yards.
“Coming into the season, we knew we had some experience coming back up front and in the secondary,” Allie said, “but the linebackers were inexperienced. “They’ve really shined and helped put our defense in the right position. They got some big tackles for loss when we needed them.”
Forkner is one of those linebackers as he led the defense with 8.5 tackles, two for a loss and one sack. His sack came at a big time in the game when Raytown was ahead 14-13 early in the fourth period. The Blue Jays had a chance to extend the lead as it got a first down on third-and-18 and got the ball to the Grain Valley 32-yard line.
The Eagles defense tightened up and was aided by a pair of Raytown penalties. Forkner sacked quarterback Nate Whitebear for a 12-yard loss. On third-and-30, defensive end Rhylan Alcanter brought down Whitebear in the backfield for another 7-yard loss, forcing a punt of fourth down.
“We had a heck of a night and played smash mouth football,” junior defensive end Jake Allen said, who had 6.5 tackles, two of which went for a loss.
”It’s not about the size of the dog but the size of the fight in the dog.”
After Grain Valley got the touchdown and two-point conversion on the ensuing drive, the defense got its most important stop of the game. Raytown had fourth-and-2 at its own 30-yard line and Allen and linebacker Brody Baker read the option run by Whitebear and stopped him before he could reach the first-down marker to get a turnover on downs with 2 minutes left.
“I saw their back roll out and I read the guard,” said Baker, who had five tackles. “The defensive tackles did a great job up front which allowed us linebackers to roam free.”
“Jake has a lot of energy. In the locker room, he’s a different animal.”
The Grain Valley offense ran the clock down to 55 seconds on offense before punting the ball back to the Blue Jays. Raytown didn’t cross midfield as time expired.
Raytown got a touchdown with 26 seconds left on an 18-yard screen pass from Whitebear to running back Zhamari Gary.The Blue Jays took the lead with 1:30 left in the third period following a 1-yard run from Gary out of the Wildcat formation.
Grain Valley will have a chance to clinch the No. 1 seed in the Class 5 District 7 tournament with a win over Belton, which is currently the two-seed, next Friday. That would assure the Eagles home field advantage throughout the district bracket and a first-round bye.
“The last four games have been really physical for us, so that bye is really important for us,” Grain Valley head coach David Allie said. “Having that No. 1 seed is important, but we have to take care of business against Belton.”
Senior wide receiver Logan Pratt caught six passes from quarterback Caleb Larson for 120 yards and two touchdowns to help Grain Valley earn a 21-14 victory. Photo credit: John Overstreet
The Board of Aldermen met briefly on October 11th, approving the final plat for Creekside Villas, a planned maintenance free community for adults 55 and older. The development is generally located west of Sni-A-Bar Parkway on the north side of Sni-A-Bar Blvd, and is being developed by Jeff Handy of Jeff Handy Construction LLC.
A public hearing was also held to consider an amended site plan for Missouri Made Marijuana. The amendment would allow for a temporary storage structure to be placed at the site to hold fertilizer and other materials. The Board approved the first reading of the proposed ordinance allowing for the amendment to the previously approved site plan.
The Board will meet for a budget meeting on October 21, 2021 at 6:00pm in the Council Chambers at Grain Valley City Hall.
Alderman Stratton and Alderman Cleaver met with residents from Ward I on October 12th as a part of an effort to engage citizens in the branding conversations currently underway.
The City is hosting a series of listening sessions at Iron Kettle Brewery, 508 Main ST, and two opportunities remain for citizens to share their thoughts regarding the branding position of the City to prospective businesses and residents.
Alderman Mills and Alderman Knox will meet with Ward II residents on October 14th, and Alderman Bass and Alderman Headley will meet with Ward III residents on October 20th. Each session will be held from 5:30pm—7:00pm.
Residents are welcome to attend any session, regardless of their Ward.
Hosting aldermen, along with City staff, will visit with constituents during these evening sessions to gather input on what Grain Valley means to them.
Residents who have not already done so are encouraged to complete the branding survey at www.brandgrainvalley.com.
by Michael Smith
The Grain Valley Boys soccer team has been one that has focused on defense and low scoring games in the past couple of years and at near the beginning of the season.
In Wednesday’s contest against William Chrisman, the Eagles showed they had some offensive firepower by creating several opportunities, but they struggled to finish in a 2-1 loss at home.
“In the last four to five games, we haven’t been lacking in opportunities,” Grain Valley head coach Brett Lewis said. “It’s just we knew coming into tonight, we were playing a really good team and it would come down to who could finish their opportunities.
“I think we had more shots on goal. We created more chances. They didn’t. But they buried their chances, and we did not.”
Grain Valley has averaged 3.5 goals per contest in their last 10 games. Lately, the Eagles have been better at creating chances and creating offense on the opponent’s third of the field.
“We have been working on things in practice to help us create more opportunities in the opponent’s third of the field,” Lewis said. “We want to get our outsides and get guys running through in the middle of the field. We are able to be more dynamic and we’re tougher to defend now.”
Grain Valley’s lone goal came in the first half when Carter Compton sent a centering pass to his twin brother Kade in the penalty box as the latter buried the shot in the box. The brothers have been a huge part of Grain Valley’s resurgence on offense.
“There have been several goals in the past four or five games where it’s Carter to Kade or Kade to Carter,” Lewis said. “They’re dynamic and they work their tails off.”
Chrisman sophomore Adrian Cisneros scored Chrisman’s goal in the first half when he buried a shot inside the Eagles penalty box after receiving a pass from junior Mitchell Cory.
Then a mistake in the middle of the field led to the Chrisman counterattack and freshman Trevor Jolley punching a shot inside the right post from the left side that made it 2-1.
It was the giveaway in the middle of the field that Lewis pointed out was the turning point.
“We had a really bad giveaway that led to a counterattack in the middle of the field and he goes and buries it on the lower right,” Grain Valley coach Brett Lewis said of Jolley’s goal.
”Our guy had as good six or seven feet of space and had a bad first touch. If you do that against a good team, they will punish you.”
Grain Valley and Chrisman were about equal in time of possession and the Eagles had four shots on goal that were all stopped by Bears goalkeeper Javier Ortiz-Merino.
“We know we will probably see them again in districts,” Lewis said of Chrisman. “They are a good team that has speed up top. We know the margin for error is so low. We hope to learn from our mistakes and finish our opportunities.”
For the first time in school history, the Grain Valley Girls Tennis team is headed to State competition as a team. Following a 5-0 win against Carl Junction on Tuesday, the team heads to State competition Thursday and Friday.
“This group has won all four regular season tournaments. Three of those were the first time our program had won that particular tournament, head coach Randy Draper said.
“The thing that stands out is the depth of our line-up. In our District Championship match against St. Pius, everyone in our top six won at least one match and we needed every win. Our Doubles play put us in a great position against Carl Junction.”
“This team has become very close. With 5 out of 6 of us all playing together last year, we have become comfortable with each other and have all grown together. I’m so honored to be apart of the first tennis team from Grain Valley to go State (as a team), senior Chelsea Gorden said.
“We are one of the 4 left out of 54. I think our relationships with each other is what makes us play so well with each other. Although tennis is an individual sport, the team aspect of it does matter, especially yesterday (against Carl Junction).”
Following a rainy district tournament, the GVHS Girls Golf team finished third with a team score of 397. Charli Dressen, Seena Tyler, and freshman Mallory Crane qualified for their first State tournament.
“This felt amazing to achieve and it meant so much to me. I have worked this whole season for this and getting the opportunity to go to State is something I have dreamed of since the beginning of the season,” Crane said.
“Getting to finally accomplish this as a freshman is a big deal and was even a little emotional to my family and I. I didn’t play my best yesterday and I had quite a few bad holes, but I pushed through all of them and finished with a lot of good holes.”
Mid-Continent Public Library (MCPL) is once again hosting its Food for Fines program October 11th—17th at all area branches.
Bring boxed or canned nonperishable food items to any MCPL location to pay off your overdue fines and help out those in need in your community.
Each single food item will count as $1.00 off existing overdue fines or replacement card charges, up to $10.
Donations of food items are welcome even if you do not have any library fines.
To date, Food for Fines has collected 145,000 food items for local charities and food pantries.
For more information, visit www.mymcpl.org.
by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
If you have lived in Grain Valley very long, you must know that our cheerleaders are among the best in the State of Missouri. The trophy cases in the Senior High Commons are filled with the many state championship trophies they have won over the past several years.
Originally called yell leaders, cheerleaders have been a part of sports since the turn of the last century. The first intercollegiate football game was played in 1869, between Princeton University and Rutgers University in New Jersey, and by the 1880s, Princeton had formed an all-male pep club. On 2 November 1898, standing in front of a crowd of sport fans, Johnny Campbell, a medical student at the University of Minnesota began the chant,” Minn-e-So-Tah!” He was so effective that the team won and he made history as the first cheerleader.
Some high schools began having yell leaders in the 1920s. A search of yearbooks did not reveal any cheerleaders in Grain Valley prior to 1945. Three girls appeared in the yearbooks wearing uniforms which were probably blue slacks with blue and white tops. Unless they had something on the back of their sweaters there is nothing to indicate they are Eagles. Does anyone besides me question their pose?
In the 1952 Treasurer Chest there were four girls who cheered for football, but I found this picture of the basketball cheerleaders, two girls and two guys!
Eventually our cheerleaders began to be identified by the “G” on their uniform. And, by the way, in the 1950s cheerleaders only had ONE uniform. It was always worn with saddle oxfords or saddle shoes, as they were sometimes called. Megaphones were also used by cheer squads.
In 1948 Lawrence Herkimer founded NCA (National Cheerleaders Association) and turned school spirit into a multimillion-dollar business. NCA began summer cheerleading camps which were held on colleges campus across the nation. Crepe paper pom poms were around in the 1930s but they didn’t hold up to the demands of dedicated cheerleaders that performed on the sidelines no matter what the weather. So, Herkimer introduced better pom pons. He founded Cheerleader Supply company in 1953. The old megaphones were replaced by spirit sticks, vinyl pom poms, and hair bows!
See the evolution of cheerleading in Grain Valley. The Historical Society invites you to join us for Coffee with Classmates –the Rock ‘n Roll Years (1950-1970) on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 beginning at 10:00 AM. We will reconnect, reminiscence, and share memorabilia from our days at Grain Valley! I hope you will join us.
Wild Souls Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation is seeking sponsors for its Shop with a Conservation Agent program, which matches conservation agents with local children for a holiday shopping event.
To sign up as a sponsor for this year’s event, visit https://form.jotform.com/212838969386173?fbclid=IwAR1le6C3uvg5laJdyKkCPdDY0Hyd8XH8mMLu0vBmunJ1AoIjBzhWQ9RYzag
For more information on Wild Souls, visit www.wildsoulswildliferescuerehab.org.
While we are accustomed to finding cauliflower year-round in the grocery store, it is also a favorite cool season vegetable that can be found as farmers markets are winding down for the season. Many people might find this vegetable bland on its own, but cauliflower is rapidly gaining attention and popularity for its versatility.
Cauliflower is member of the Brassica family, making it related to broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. The word cauliflower literally means ‘cabbage flower’. It originated from the island of Cyprus in the 13th century before making its way to western Europe in the 16th century and eventually to the United States in the 1900’s. Today, California is the top producer of cauliflower, as well as Arizona, Florida, and Texas. The cooler climate states of Michigan, New York, Washington, and Oregon also make the list of top producing states.
Cauliflower is a good source of vitamins C, K, B6 and folate, as well as the minerals potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. While white cauliflower is most common, selective plant breeding has also produced green, orange, and purple varieties. The various color varieties also supply unique phytonutrients found in their color families: beta carotene in orange, anthocyanins in purple and chlorophyl in a green variety also known as broccoflower.
Even the standard white cauliflower provides the phytonutrient sulforaphane, which is found in the colored varieties as well. Sulforaphane is the compound that gives a bitter taste to vegetables in the Brassica family, particularly when overcooked. With this rich nutrient profile, cauliflower joins the list of vegetables that provides protection against diabetes, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, and other inflammation related health conditions.
When selecting cauliflower look for heavy, dense heads that are four to six inches across, with bright green intact leaves. No matter which color variety, there should be no discoloration on the florets, also called ‘curds’. Cauliflower wrapped in sealed plastic can hasten mold and spoilage, so it is recommended to transfer to a loosely sealed bag with a paper towel to absorb moisture for storage up to seven days.
For maximum flavor, nutrition, and color retention, choose steaming, sauteing or roasting over boiling. A bit of acid such as lemon juice also aids in keeping white cauliflower from darkening. Because of its neutral flavor, cauliflower can be easily combined with other vegetables in a mixed sauté and is also commonly used in curry dishes.
It has also become a popular replacement for rice when finely chopped or as a main ingredient in low carb pizza crust. A favorite preparation at my house it to mix with mashed potatoes, which reduces the carbohydrate count and increases the fiber content (and no one will really notice).
Because this involves boiling the vegetables to get them soft enough to mash, I like to save the cooking water and freeze for use in soup or stew. I hope you will give this recipe a try!