While the City League has long been called a basketball league — it has 32 boys basketball titles — is it now time to consider it a football league, too?
Heights plays Olathe North in the Class 6A title game for the second straight year, while Bishop Carroll will play Blue Valley in the 5A final. It's Carroll's second finals appearance in four seasons.
"This is a league that is definitely improving," Southeast coach Gary Guzman said."... If we continue to be successful in the playoffs and advancing to the state championship games, that will continue to make believers out of people that maybe at one time weren't. We've got a very strong league."
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The knock on the City League will always be that it hasn't won a title since Kapaun Mount Carmel's Class 5A win in 1987, and it hasn't won a championship in Kansas' biggest class since East in 1983.
That the City League hasn't won a football title in 23 years isn't a motivating factor for Heights coach Rick Wheeler.
But if Heights wins the 6A title, Wheeler will be one of several City League coaches pleased that the drought is no longer a yearly topic of conversation.
"I don't want to have to answer that question anymore," Wheeler said."... I'd be glad not to hear about it, but it really has no other effect other than it keeps me from having this conversation again."
Northwest coach Weston Schartz agreed.
"It's a number that we don't like to hear," Schartz said of 1983. "But we're to blame for it. We haven't produced one (title)."
The City League had teams play for 6A titles in 1996 (Northwest lost to Olathe North) and 1997 (West lost to Olathe North).
The drought eats at Schartz.
"I look at it as a personal failure," Schartz said. "I am being blunt and honest. I have teams that have had enough talent to get it done. And I've had years I've let my guys down. I'm not going to blame anyone. We put a team out and we've not got it done. None of us have."
Other area leagues have produced plenty of titles. The Central Plains League has seven Class 3A titles since 1998, including six by Conway Springs, one by Garden Plain.
Since 2004, the AV-CTL has won eight state football titles, including Hutchinson's six and Andale's two.
The Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League is often considered a football league. And rightfully so.
In 2004, some of the state's best football schools came together from three leagues — the Chisholm Trail, Ark Valley and I-70. Salina Central won three 5A titles and Salina South two 5A titles from 1999-2004. Derby, a perennial power, won Class 6A in 1994.
In the span since East's title, the Sunflower League has won 18 titles, the Ark Valley/AV-CTL has won five, the I-70/Centennial two and the Western Athletic Conference one.
But are championships the only criteria for a strong league?
Carroll coach Alan Schuckman thinks there's more.
"I think it's about being consistent, being a good solid program year in and year out, eliminating the bad years," said Schuckman, whose teams have played in the 5A semifinals four of the last five years and haven't had a losing season since 1995. "A lot (of teams) can be a one-hit wonder, but we want to be more consistent over a long period of time. ... It's about having a chance to win them year in and year out."