Varsity Kansas

Coach's career winds down

There won't be a second comeback for John Cochran.

Cochran, an assistant football coach at Wichita Independent, is calling it quits after having coached in the sport for 50 years. This is the second time that he's decided to retire, but this time it's for good.

He stopped coaching from 2004 to 2006, before becoming the linebackers coach at Independent.

"I knew that I would probably come back then, but this time this is it," said Cochran, 75. "Fifty years is enough, I get tired a little quicker than I used to."

Though he started coaching in Colorado, the majority of his coaching career has been in Kansas. Cochran has been a head coach at Pawnee Heights and Dighton, spending two years at both. He's spent the rest of his time as an assistant. Locally he coached at North, Maize, and was the tight end coach at Friends from 1996-2004.

"I would have loved to been a head coach for longer, but things just didn't work out," Cochran said. "I've applied, but just didn't have any luck. It's OK, because I've enjoyed being out there working with those young men. It's kept me young."

Aside from coaching football, he's also coached track (38 years), boys basketball (10), wrestling (five), and baseball (three).

Football has always had a hold of his heart, he said, which is why he has been able to stay at it for so long.

"It put me through school at Pitt State and even before then, it's been something I loved," Cochran said. "I never thought I'd be coaching it this long, but you just keep going and going and the years added up."

Flournoy, Jones eyeing milestones — West is 1-7, but two Pioneers have a shot at individual milestones Friday against Valley Center.

Dorian Flournoy can become the second quarterback in school history to reach 1,000 passing yards and Jamez Jones could break the school record for receiving yards.

West has always been a run-oriented team, but coach Heath Henderson has changed the offense to be more pass oriented.

"Coach (Ed) Kriwiel and coach (Weston) Schartz left a lot of passing records within reach," Henderson said. "Our first priority is to get the win, but we would like to get these guys their accomplishments."

Flournoy is the second-leading passer in the City League with 857 yards. Adam Rosenstiel is the only West player to pass for 1,000 yards. He threw for 1,267 yards in 2000.

"He's a kid that we knew could do some things for us," Henderson said. "He's extremely calm in the pocket. Sometimes it seems like he's moving slow, because he's so calm."

Jamez Jones needs eight yards to break Cartez Brown's school record of 541 receiving yards.

Playoff streaks _ Salina Central lost to Emporia 32-28 Friday. The loss means the Mustangs will miss the playoffs for the first time since 1991.

Wellington now holds the record for most consecutive state playoff appearances at 18 — the Crusaders have already qualified this season.

Several schools had advanced streaks going heading into district play: Claflin (13), Holton (11), St. Thomas Aquinas (11), Garden Plain (10), and Pittsburg Colgan (10).

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