Wichita Collegiate football

By Joanna Chadwick

This summer has been exactly what Wichita Collegiate coach Troy Black wants to see out of his team.

“I told the kids that we lost some really good leaders and I hoped they would step up and lead,” Black said. “We have not had one bad day. It’s been real positive with really good attendance, and they work really hard.”

Collegiate opened the summer with a three-day minicamp after Memorial Day and then played 7-on-7 with teams such as Trinity Academy, Wichita North and Kapaun Mount Carmel over a three-week period.

They took the mandatory week off over the first week of July, and that was refreshing.

“Monday was the best day of the summer,” Black said. “It rejuvenated our kids.

“We have a big baseball group, a big basketball group, so having that time off was good. Their attention span wasn’t great, but their effort was awesome.

“(Tuesday) was even better.”

On Monday July 15, the Spartans have camp.

“We’ll finish installing the rest of our stuff,” Black said. “We got our passing game and pass defense in so we could do 7 on 7. We’ll focus on the runnning game and get the rest of the base offense and defense in.”

Collegiate’s starting quarterback will be Harrison Simon, a two-year starter at safety. He’s 5-foot-8, 165 pounds with quickness.

“He played receiver for us last year,” Black said. “He’s super athletic… He can run the ball and will be a dual-threat guy. He’s gotten a lot better throwing the ball this summer.”

Simon will have plenty of receivers to choose from when he does throw it with Sebastian Hines-Turner (6-6), Markus Gorges (6-4), AJ Batiste (6-2) and Roman Hourani (6-1).

“My skill positions, we’ve got depth,” Black said. “We’ll be hard to defend.”

The backfield will be loaded with junior Julian Johnson, who, at 5-8, 160, was a 1,000-yard rusher in 2023.

Then there’s junior Jaden Parker (6-3, 235), who looks to be healthy.

After four games, he suffered a Jones fracture in a foot last season. Black said that in January, Parker’s other foot was bothering him — turns out it was a Jones fracture, as well.

Parker, also an outstanding basketball player, finally got back on the court in late June.

The line is led by Tristan Sprole, who is a four-year starter on offensive and defensive lines.

“He’s an animal,” Black said. “He’s one of the best football players we’ve ever had here. He’s a monster. If I had four more of him….”

But that’s the concern — Collegiate needs 3-4 linemen to be as effective as Black expects.

“We’ve got some size, but a lot of inexperience,” Black said.

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