Saturday’s Kansas Koyote game vs. the Iowa Blackhawks would normally draw more attention than usual considering the rivalry the two teams have created the last four years. But after last year’s abrupt ending to the APFL season and several incidents throughout the regular season, many didn’t think the APFL had a chance to survive another year.
“Football gets in your blood,” said Brooks Myers, Koyote defensive back. “When you got it, you got it and it’s really hard to get rid of. You wake up in the morning and you want to play football. You go to bed at night and you’re glad that you’re still able to play. At the end of last season, we were really hurt by what had happened.”
Myers and majority of the Koyotes are back for the franchise’s fifth year, but to say the least, they had a lot to think about during the off-season. The Koyotes won their fourth APFL championship last year on a forfeit from the Wichita Aviators. The Aviators forfeited after the league moved the game from Wichita to Topeka for “facility” reasons. The ruling came just weeks after Donald Payne, Aviator wide receiver, was suspended from the league until 2008 for punching Koyotes head coach Jim Green in a post-game debacle.
“Well, we are here and I think it’s going to be the best year ever because we did not have closure to the season,” said Green. “They feel that a championship handed to them by a forfeit doesn’t end a season. If they are going to retire they want to retire the right way, and that is to win a championship right out. With bad comes good.”
Myers explains the decision to return was a pact made by him and the other seven former Washburn players to continue the Koyote tradition.
“A lot of the decision to return is due to the kids from Washburn University that have all kind of made a commitment to each other,” said Myers. “We are going to do it for the fans, the kids, our families, our coaches and for the love of football, instead of any paycheck we’re making.”
Myers and former Washburn quarterback Tyler Schuerman are looking to receive quite a bit of attention this year. Schuerman looks to replace an impact player that did not return to the Koyotes this year, long time, starting quarterback Chris Coffin. Schuerman played a backup role to Coffin last year.
“I think Chris helped Tyler mature a lot, what a great coach to have,” said Green. “Tyler has taken the role and responsibility and is leading this team, he understands the offense and its like having another coach out there.”
Veteran Myers has been receiving attention from AFL 1, including the Chicago Rush. Myers will travel April 28, to North Carolina to try out for the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes.
“The goal is always to get to the next level,” said Myers. “Simply because I play arena ball is one of the main reasons that I got a look. The main thing is to always play your game because you never know who’s looking.”
Koyote players could be getting more attention than ever from professional scouts with the introduction of two Texas teams into the league, the Conroe Storm and the Fort Worth Regulators. With the introduction of new talent in the league from top notch universities like Texas, Texas Tech and Baylor, and the television broadcast of APFL games in Texas, Green explains the scouts are bound to come running.
“The better the competition gets, the more AFL and NFL scouts will want to start taking a look at these kids,” said Green. “This really helps us and the community as a whole because it shows that we have good competition here, we have good athletes here, we didn’t win four championships for nothing.”