Before 2010, Blue Valley Southwest was only an idea. The bond issue, of course, passed a few years before that, so the Blue Valley school district, the faculty it would begin hiring and the students who eventually would fill the halls of the new school at 175th and Quivira Road. certainly had dreams about what BV Southwest would become.
Still, dreams are intangible – necessary, yes, but there’s no substitute for the day by day slog of actually creating a school from nothing.
Once the bricks and mortar were in place, the real work of laying the school’s foundation began in earnest two years ago in the fall.
For coach Bill Lowe and the Timberwolves football team, it’s a process that proved harder than imagined.
“I’ve taken over some other programs, but nothing compares to starting from scratch,” Lowe said. “It’s tougher than I thought it would be. It’s hard to build confidence and get the kids to want to be part of something when we jumped right into the (East Kansas League) with a bunch of sophomores and got the tar beat out of us.”
Bishop Miege crushed BV Southwest 54-7 on Sept. 3, 2010, in the school’s first football game.
The T-Wolves would get smacked 56-0 twice in the next three weeks against eventual Kansas 5A state champion Blue Valley and by Bubba Starling’s Gardner Edgerton squad.
It was tough for BV Southwest, which had three seniors that season and was forced to trot out mostly sophomores week after week in an especially grueling year for the EKL.
“The toughest thing for us was leadership. We just didn’t have guys with experience, and it was hard going into games that first year knowing we didn’t have a chance to really win,” senior defensive end/tight end Anthony Miller said. “We always played our hardest, but that was in the back of our mind sometimes.”
Things changed Sept. 30 that year on a Thursday night against BV West when Lowe made the gutsy call to go for a two-point conversion in the closing seconds.
BV Southwest’s youngsters executed perfectly, delivering the school’s first win – a 36-35 stunner against the rival Jaguars.
“There’s no school we would have rather beat for our first win than (BV) West, because that’s one of our biggest rivals, and it showed people we could compete,” Miller said.
Leaders also emerged from that game, including Miller and Aaron Ramsey, who is the only starting quarterback the team has ever known.
“To these kids’ credit, they’ve never given up and never complained or made excuses,” Lowe said. “They’ve just pushed themselves every year. We have great leadership in that senior class.”
The T-Wolves, who played in Kansas 4A the last two seasons, would go on to whip St. James Academy and Bishop Ward during district competition to qualify for the postseason.
Last season started slowly again as BV Southwest lost its first five games before a stunning six-game win streak.
The T-Wolves, who have 20 seniors now in the football program’s first true senior class, rolled through district play without a blemish and avenged a bi-district loss against Baldwin for the school’s first playoff win, but it didn’t stop there as Lowe’s boys picked off Piper a week later and reached the 4A quarterfinals.
“We gained a lot of confidence in those games and we believe we can beat any teams we play against,” Ramsey said. “We haven’t had the respect we’ve wanted, but we know that we have to go earn it. This year is about earning some respect for the program.”
Now, BV Southwest has moved up to 5A, but already this season has proven to be better than the first two.
The T-Wolves, 3-2, are a couple plays from possibly 5-0, having roughed up Washington 41-6 and taken down EKL rivals Gardner Edgerton and Bishop Miege. The losses came by five points to undefeated St. Thomas Aquinas and by a touchdown against BV North.
The latter game proves that the growing pains continue, but that to be expected from a program that didn’t even exist when the boys who play in it left middle school.
“We have a lot of passion for football in our class,” Ramsey said. “Probably 10 of us haven’t missed a day of football in the three years we’ve been here, but our legacy as a group hasn’t been defined yet. The outcome of this season will be a lot of the definition of what our senior class did as a whole, coming from nothing and laying the foundation here.”
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.