Tuesday, September 02, 2014

KCAC football grows in stature

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 6/25/2014

The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference is no longer thought of as an also-ran in football.

The KCAC received three NAIA playoff berths last year and routinely had two berths.

The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference is no longer thought of as an also-ran in football.

The KCAC received three NAIA playoff berths last year and routinely had two berths.

Another sign the KCAC is growing in stature came last week when the KCAC announced a two-year season series against the GPAC, one of the premier NAIA football conferences.

The two-year agreement is for 2015 and 2016. The KCAC plays the second-year of its agreement with the Heart of America in 2014.

“From day one our administrators and coaches were on-board to make this work,” GPAC Commissioner Corey Westra said. “The fans of the NAIA and our two leagues are in for some outstanding small college football.”

“It will be a great reward following the hard work and collaboration of coaches and sports chairs from each league,” KCAC Commissioner Dr. Scott Crawford said.

It will pair teams based on their conference finishes in 2013 and 2014. The KCAC teams will be the home team in 2015 with the GPAC teams being the host in 2016.

“It is going to be a really good deal like the Heart of America matchup for our conference,” Ottawa coach Kent Kessinger said. “It gives us a chance to play people outside our conference and area. It gives us both national exposure.”

Kessinger said it will help both conferences when it comes playoff time.

“They always have two or three or sometimes four teams making the playoffs,” he said. “Nobody doesn’t say the GPAC is not a solid conference. Good quality from top to bottom. It should be a great matchup.

“I don’t think we have three teams make the playoffs if we don’t split with the Heart. We have really grown as a conference. I hope it gives us more national clout.”

Ottawa plays Dakota Wesleyan in the 2015 game. Kessinger said Wesleyan runs a spread offense like Ottawa.

“They are always fairly strong in the GPAC,” he said. “We will keep our eyes out on them this year to see what they can bring. It is going to be an interesting matchup.”

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