by Cody Thorn
Grain Valley coach David Allie will be going back to the proverbial drawing board after Week 1.
The Eagles struggled on offensive and defense in a 42-3 loss to Smithville on Friday at Moody Murry Memorial Stadium. The loss snapped a five-year streak of winning the first game of the season.
The new-look Eagles, with only a handful of starters back from last year’s quarterfinal run, had mistakes compound one another on the first drive – perhaps an omen of a rocky road ahead in this game between former divisional rivals.
“We couldn’t get out of our own way, that is one thing with inexperience, you can’t commit unforced errors and we did that,” Allie said. “That was one goal we have that wasn’t accomplished.”
The first play of the game the Eagles bit into the cadences of Smithville quarterback Andrew Hedgecorth and gave them five yards. After Hedgecorth threw a rare incomplete pass – he was 15 for 18 – the Eagles were called for an unsportsmanlike penalty after the play.
That set the tone for a 12-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Hedgecorth scoring on a keeper.
Grain Valley’s offense then went three-and-out and Smithville scored again, making it 14-0. Hedgecorth hit Sam Calvert for a 38-yard gain on the first play of the drive and later threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Keltin Nitsche.
The Eagles had yet another three-and-out, essentially, though this drive was four plays after an offsides penalty on a lineman to open the drive. That negated what was a 6-yard run by quarterback Caleb Larson.
Two incomplete passes were sandwiched around a run for zero yards on a drive that ended on a punt from the end zone. However, Austin Schmitt booted the ball and it rolled all the way to the Smithville 19.
“We got behind the chains and got predictable,” Allie said.
The Eagles looked to have forced a three-and-out but then another penalty aided Smithville. A roughing the punter penalty gave Smithville more plays that led to another touchdown.
“They are explosive and they got a lot of speed but they got a lot of new players,” Smithville coach Jason Ambroson said. “We wanted to put pressure on them and get ahead. They gave us the ball and we made a couple big plays on the first drive. That allowed us to get in a rhythm and score and we got the second score and our kids were like ‘ok, we know where we are’ and that put pressure on them.”
Grain Valley had the ball twice in the final 1:30 of the first half.
A short gain passing the ball was followed by a holding call that pushed the ball back to the 10-yard line. The next play, linebacker Cody Simoncic then ran back an interception 12 yards for a touchdown, with 23 seconds left, making it 28-0 at halftime.
Grain Valley got its first first down of the game with 7 minutes, 19 seconds left in the third quarter, but after that the next three plays turned into three yards and an incomplete pass, which set up another punt.
The Hedgecorth to Nitsche connection had their biggest play midway through the third quarter. Grain Valley had punted and pinned the Warriors at their own 11-yard line. Facing a 3rd-and-6 from the 16, Nitsche ran a slant route in the middle of the field and caught it. He then just out ran every defender, making a few cuts to avoid a tackle.
Eighty-four yards later he was in the end zone and the lead had expanded to 35-0, just outside of turbo clock territory.
“We had a little experience at cornerback and they found it and attacked it,” Allie said.
The only points for the home team came in the fourth quarter when Schmitt booted a 35-yard field goal. That scoring drive was keyed by a 56-yard pass from Larson to Keagan Hart. That moved the ball to the 12-yard line, but a penalty followed pushed the Eagles back.
“It felt good, it was a good hold and a good snap and the team blocked good for me,” Schmitt said. “I’m glad I could put it in. I was just ready to go out there and put points up.”
During kickoffs, Schmitt sailed every kick out of bounds and gave the Warriors the ball at the 20-yard line each time.
“He has a leg and he is coming onto the scene,” Allie said.
Hedgecorth added a 4-yard keeper to account for the final points. Hedgecorth passed for 198 yards (15 of 18) and added 100 yards on the ground on five carries.
The game was a big reversal from last year when the Warriors lost the opener, 34-24 — one of only two regular season losses last year. Smithville finished with 369 yards of total offense and limited Grain Valley to 103 — 56 of those coming on a pass play in the fourth quarter.
“We showed a lot of heart and stayed in the game and kept fighting no matter what,” Allie said.
The Eagles travel to north Kansas City next week to face Oak Park, which is coming off a 42-21 loss to Lee’s Summit in Week 1.
“Based on what we saw in the jamboree we didn’t expect this,” Allie said. “We played like we were inexperienced and we beat ourselves quite a bit.”
A young Eagles team runs onto the field at the start of their week one matchup against Smithville.
Photo credit: John Overstreet
A gang of Eagles tackle a Warrior opponent. Photo credit: Cody Thorn
Quarterback Caleb Larson attempts a pass in the second quarter.
Photo credit: Cody Thorn
In a public hearing during the August 23rd Board of Aldermen meeting, Finance Director Steven Craig reported the 2021 proposed property tax levy will be reduced by $.15 per $100 of assessed value. No residents requested to address the board during the public hearing.
In other business, the Board voted to approve the first reading of an ordinance which would approve the final plat of Rosewood Hills subdivision. The 11th plat includes 29 single-family lots.
The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be held Monday, September 13, 2021 at 7:00pm at City Hall.
by Michael Smith
The Grain Valley softball team had one of its best seasons in program history in 2020 when it finished 25-5 and made it to the Class 4 state quarterfinals.
In that game, Grain Valley fell to Platte County 3-1, ending a tremendous season.
After losing just three seniors to graduation from the 2020, the Eagles are reloading for another deep playoff run as the team eyes a state championship in 2021.
That effort will be led by the dynamic pitching duo of Hailey Hemme and Avery Huffman. Last season, Hemme was 12-2 with a 1.19 earned-run average, a .894 walks-and-hits per inning pitched and tallied 141 strikeouts in 88 1/3 innings.
Huffman was just as good. She was 10-3 with a 1.72 ERA and had 123 strikeouts.
“If I am off one game, I know Avery can come in and pitch an amazing game,” Hemme said. “When she is off, I am there to back her up. We can pitch against anyone in the state and dominate.”
Added Huffman: “Haley and I compliment each other very well.”
Both players were named to the Class 4 all-state team in 2020, and are a solid one-two punch that could lead the Eagles to the state final four.
Typically, teams would have just one ace that pitches the majority of the games. In head coach Garrett Ogle’s case, he has two girls that can step into the circle and dominate.
“It’s a good luxury to have,” Ogle said. “You can allow them to rest and pitch every other game. That will help keep their arms strong and help prevent overuse.”
Aiding that pitching duo will be a solid lineup that features a lot of speed, Ogle said. The other returning starters are Ella Clyman, Emma Ogle, Brileigh Sims, Cameryn Bown and Lauren Parker.
Some of the top hitters, including Huffman, who .330 last year with one home run, 21 runs-batted in and scored 22 runs and posted a 1.021 on-base-plus slugging percentage. Sims hit .440 with six home runs, 42 RBIs and a 1.237 OPS in 2021.
“We have a lot of speed and that will help runners move from base to base,” Ogle said. “In my three years here, I have seen two home runs hit on our field. We have one deepest field in our area. We have girls who can put it over and can go gap to gap all day long.”
And with seven players returning to the field, the defense should be as solid as it was last season.
“Our defense was amazing last year,” Hemme said. “I could count on them to make every play. I think the defense will be equal to what it was last year.”
With no big weaknesses and the majority of the players from the strong 2020 team returning, the Eagles are reloading for a big season.
“We are coming back for a championship for sure,” Huffman said. “We have all the competitors for it. It’s going to be really easy to rebuild.”
Applications for student trainees for the Eastern Jackson County Youth Court fall training are now being accepted. Training will begin Thursday, September 2nd. Applications may be found at www.ejcyc.com.
The community service opportunity is open to students in 8-12th grades, especially those interested in careers in Criminal Justice or law related fields or those with a passion for speech and debate.
The next Senior Citizens Luncheon will be held September 1st from 11:30am—1:00pm at the Grain Valley Community Center. Blood sugar and blood pressure testing will start at 10:45am.
A donation of $3 is recommended for the luncheon. September’s menu includes pot roast, mashed potatoes, and chocolate cake.
To RSVP for the luncheon, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 816-847-6293.
by Michael Smith
The Grain Valley boys swimming program has come a long way since 2018.
That was the year it started under head coach Kara Liddle, who will have seven swimmers and three divers competing during the 2021 season.
“It’s night and day,” Liddle said. “I am so excited for this year because with this being the fourth year, these seniors have been with us from the get go. It’s really neat to see the transition from their high school years to how they are now.”
While the Eagles may have a small team when compared to other teams, Liddle noted her squad has a lot of talent.
“This is a small team so we get to bond a little more,” Grain Valley senior Thomas Fligg said. “We have a lot of heart during the season.”
They will be led by Seniors Isaac Burd, Fligg, Riley Fangman, and diver Ashton Barker.
Burd will be swimming the 50-meter freestyle and the 100 free and his main goal is to make it to the Class 1 State Boys Swimming and Diving Championships
“I have been trying to lengthen my stroke and move my arms as fast as I can,” Burd said.
Fligg plans on competing in the 50 free and the 100 breaststroke.
“The key for my breaststroke will be to make my turns as fast as possible,” Fligg said. “When you turn, you start to slow down a little bit. It’s a key part of the swim.”
Fangman said he want to build up his endurance so he can help the team out in the 500 free.
“I already have pretty good endurance, but I need the strength to carry through.” Fangman said.
Like Burd, Barker’s goal is to make it to state, but for him, it will be in the 1-meter diving competition.
“I have been diving since my freshman year,’ Barker said. “I like twisting. That’s one of my favorite categories. I just want to get better each time I dive.”
Fligg, Burd, Fangman and junior Evan Reich will likely make up two of the team’s three relay teams. Last season, the foursome were just tenths of seconds away from making the state cut in the 200 free relay and 200 medley relay.
“They were really close to making it to state,” Liddle said. “They got the consideration cut, but were just a few hundredths of a second away from making the final cut.
“Isaac won (the Suburban White Conference) last year in the 100 free. I think he finished second in the conference meet. We all did pretty well in the conference. All of those guys improved. We really want to get a relay to state.”
Last season, diver Elizeck Hendricks was the lone Grain Valley representative in the state meet. The Eagles hope to have more qualifiers this time around.
“If we push ourselves hard enough, all (four seniors) can make it to state,” Fligg said.
Grain Valley will swim in its first meet against Blue Springs South on Aug. 31 at Blue Springs South High School.
(StatePoint) Many older adults have been delaying preventive health care during the pandemic because of fear of visiting the doctor’s office. As more people get vaccinated for COVID-19, now may be a good time to make up for gaps in care, according to Dr. Gina Conflitti, chief medical officer for Medicare Advantage at Cigna.
“Delaying preventive care can catch up with us, especially as we get older,” says Dr. Conflitti. “As people age, preventive care becomes increasingly important in helping prevent or manage chronic conditions. Doctors’ offices have nationally accepted, evidence-based COVID-19 safety protocols in place and many preventive services are covered by Medicare or Medicare Advantage at no extra cost when visiting a participating or in-network provider.”
Each person’s doctor should determine the right services based on age, gender, medical history and health status. Among those to consider are:
Annual wellness visit. Covered by Medicare, this is a great way to develop a personalized annual care plan. Among other things, the doctor will ask the patient to fill out a health risk assessment to help determine the services likely needed in the year ahead. The doctor will assess how the patient is feeling physically and emotionally, since mental health often impacts physical health. It’s important for the patient to be open about their feelings, current condition, and medical history.
Mammogram. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every woman is at risk, but risk increases with age. Fortunately, breast cancer is often treated successfully when found early. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends women 50 to 74 at average risk get a mammogram every two years.
Colorectal screening. Like breast cancer, colorectal cancer risk increases with age. Screening tests can find precancerous polyps early so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. The USPSTF recommends screening for adults age 45 to 75. Medicare covers the cost of a screening colonoscopy once every two years for those at high risk or once every 10 years for those at lower risk. Though colonoscopy is the most comprehensive test, providers can help determine the best option for individuals.
Bone density scan. USPSTF recommends women aged 65 and older be routinely screened for osteoporosis, a disease in which bones become weak and brittle. According to the agency, routine screening should begin at 60 for women at increased risk. Screening may facilitate treatment that helps prevent fractures.
Eye exam. A routine eye exam is important to identify early signs of eye disease that are more likely as people age. People with diabetes are particularly prone to retinopathy, which leads to vision loss, and it’s recommended they have annual retinal screening exams.
Vaccinations. While the COVID-19 vaccine is certainly a top priority, especially for older adults, there are other important vaccines, including flu, pneumonia and shingles. Patients should ask their doctors about current recommendations as autumn approaches and risk potentially increases.
“Even in the best of times, health screenings and vaccinations are often a missed opportunity and the pandemic has only made matters worse,” says Dr. Conflitti. “But with these services, individuals can take control of their health in partnership with their doctors. As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
The information contained in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen.
by Phil Hanson, President and CEO,
Truman Heartland Community Foundation
Recently, the annual report on charitable giving in the United States was released by Giving USA through the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy research.
This annual report was first published in 1956 and is recognized in the philanthropy world as the best source for charitable giving information. The great news is that charitable giving was up 3.8% in 2020 and totaled $471.44 billion.
So, even during a pandemic and the shutdown of the economy resulting in the loss of 9.6 million jobs, our fellow citizens continued their tradition of generosity. And this increase is driven by individual giving, with 69% of total giving ($324.10 B) coming from individuals and an additional 9% coming from individuals through bequests, for a total of 78%.
There is a great deal of anecdotal information (not formal research) regarding the increased giving of those who still had jobs and were not as impacted by the pandemic using stimulus check money for donations to assist their neighbors in greater need.
Gifts from Foundations is the second-largest source of charitable giving totaling $88.55 Billion in 2020, or 19% of the total. I was pleased to see this category had the most significant increase in 2020 and was up 15.6%. We experienced a similar increase at Truman Heartland Community Foundation, with our total of grants and scholarships increasing to $5.4 Million in 2020 from $4.8 Million in 2019, up 12.5%. And the 250 families that we serve through providing a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) increased their grants in 2020 by 21%.
We have the privilege of working with some of the most generous people in our community who truly responded generously last year. When there seem to be so many things that we disagree about, things that divide us. It's great to see that the tradition of charitable giving is something we all agree on and value, and it remains strong even during a pandemic. That is something of which all Americans should be proud.
The Grain Valley Police Department will continue its Community Forum series on Thursday, August 26th with a session on drug trends affecting the community. The forum will be held from 6:30pm—7:30pm at First Baptist Grain Valley, 207 W. Walnut.
Topics of discussion will include types of drugs, common signs to look for, how drugs affect the community, driving under the influence, and resources available to residents.
There is no cost to attend and reservations are not needed. A 30 minute meet and greet will follow the forum.
by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
Last week I took you back fifty years. This week, fast forward to twenty-five years. I went through a notebook filled with newspaper articles from 1996 and found a variety of stories – some good and some not so good.
One article, from the Independence Examiner listed the top 10 stories of the year for Blue Springs and Independence and the top 5 stories for Buckner and Grain Valley. The Grain Valley stories were:
FBI investigates police department finances; no indictments.
Former alderman sentenced for sexual molestation of foster care children.
Growing pains: Students and teachers move into new high school; city looks at expansion.
High School football team goes 10-0 in regular season, electrifies town. Eventually lost in state semifinals.
Alderman let city administrator go; new mayor elected.
Other articles included the “good” story about the repair of the I-70 bridge over Buckner Tarsney and the “bad” backup of traffic on I-70 during rush hours. There was the “good” news of more parks and ball fields in Grain Valley with the “bad” news of lights and noise for the homeowners near the park.
With more good news than bad, I read about the approval of Sonic Drive-In coming to town, the success of senior citizen luncheons, and football.
The article I found most amusing was published in the Examiner on September 25, 1996. Here are some excerpts:
Railroad Crossing is still Problem
The news isn’t good for people stuck in traffic while waiting for trains to clear Grain Valley. City officials indicated today they are no neared to having a workable solution that gives the desired results.
The trains sometimes block traffic for 10 to 30 minutes, also cause problems for fire trucks, ambulances and police vehicles.
The article continued for several more paragraphs describing negotiations between the railroad and the city with no real solution. The problem continues today, with no real solution!
So, to end on a positive note, in 1996 the town of Grain Valley – population estimated at 2, 016 by the U. S. Census Bureau – watched its football team go undefeated all the way to the top of the 2A statewide poll, only to lose in the state semifinals.
The Historical Society has a nice collection of yearbooks from Grain Valley High School. Unfortunately we do not have a 1997 yearbook which would have photos of the 1996 team. If you have yearbooks from 1996 through 2000 that you no longer want, PLEASE consider donating them to the Historical Society Museum!