History of Clay County Football Association
Many people contributed time and talents to the early years of the youth tackle football program in Clay County. However, the initial inception of the local program can be directly traced and credited to one area individual, and that man is Jeff Blackwood.
In 2002 Jeff took the initiative to form a team that participated in the 6th grade division of the Manhattan Area Football Association (MAFA) league. That first Clay County team was comprised of mostly 6th graders, although it also had a couple of 5th graders and a 4th grader on the team as well. Jeff enlisted Marc Henry to coach the team, who in turn recruited John Carlson as an assistant coach. Clay County youth tackle football was officially off and running.
The 2003 year saw Clay County add a 5th grade team to the program. Jeff & Darcy Blackwood and Marc & Kate Henry kept the local program running. Clay County’s continued participation in the MAFA league was definitely well established. John Carlson became head coach of the 5th grade team and Randy Carlson joined Marc Henry as a coach of the 6th grade team.
In 2004 Marc and Kate Henry continued administering the local program. Rhonda Gierhan provided tremendous help for a second straight year. The players participated in a fund raising program which assisted the team with ongoing cost challenges. The mix of player ages that year found us fielding two teams in the 6th grade division. Marc Henry, Randy Carlson and Jim Gierhan served as coaches of a 6th grade team consisting of experienced players. John Carlson served as coach of a blended 5th/6th grade team comprised of inexperienced players.
The 2005 year continued with Marc & Kate Henry’s administration of the program for Clay County. We once again had teams participating in both the 6th and the 5th grade divisions. The 5th grade team was a blended group of both 5th and 4th grade players. The kids again participated in a fundraising program to help cover local costs. Marc Henry, Randy Carlson and Phil Kasper served as coaches of the 6th grade team. John Carlson continued to coach the 5th/4th grade team with the assistance of several parents of players.
The year 2006 became a re-structuring year with the organization of a formal association. A board was formed and the name Clay County Football Association was adopted. The initial Board of Directors of the new association was Jeff Blackwood, Marc Henry, Kate Henry, Randy Carlson, Jim Gierhan, Phil Kasper and Myron Converse. Randy Carlson became Coordinator of the Clay County program. Phil Kasper became head coach of the 6th grade team and was assisted by Brad Girton, Ben Foster & Eric Tabor. Myron Converse became head coach of the 5th & 4th grade group which we split into 2 blended teams within the league, both participating in the 5th grade division. Myron’s assistant coaches were Carl Pyle, Joe Ferguson, Lyle Black & Bob Wietharn.
In 2007 the organization decided to sponsor 3 teams with the addition of a separate 4th grade division team. The Board of directors continued with the same people. Randy Carlson remained as Coordinator of the organization’s activities and Jim Gierhan served as Director of Football Operations. Allen Hamel began serving as the overall chairman of the concession effort the previous year and continued in that role.
One of the major landmark activities of the year was the purchase & installation of a new scoreboard for the track facility field east of the High School. The project demanded more than $9,000 before it was finished, but it was done in such a way that HS practice could utilize the clock from the south with a cordless control. CCFA made PVC goal posts & purchased yard markers and all home CCFA games got moved to that facility as well.
Phil Kasper became head coach of the new 4th grade team and his assistants were Brad Underwood, Jared Shivers, Troy Anderson & Bud Young. Bob Wietharn became the head coach of the 5th grade team and his assistants were Ben Last, Kirk Hamel & Monte Green. Myron Converse became the head coach of the 6th grade team and his assistants were Ken Ring, Wes Clark, Carl Pyle & Joe Ferguson.
The 2008 year brought about the 2nd year of sponsoring 3 teams in 3 divisions, and the organization decided to move the 4th and 5th grade coaches ahead with the same kids they had the previous year. Kate Henry went off of the Board of Directors and Wes Clark was appointed to the board. Randy Carlson, Jim Gierhan & Allen Hamel remained in their same roles with Hamel also assuming the role of website development.
Myron Converse moved back to serve as head coach of the 4th grade and his assistants were Dalton Converse, Ken Ring, Mike Folks, Troy Anderson, Marty Wallace & Dusty Mullin. Phil Kasper stayed with his same team from the previous year as head coach of the 5th grade team. His assistants were Brad Underwood, Jared Shivers, Josh Carmona, Bruce Laffery & Bud Young. Bob Wietharn stayed with the same kids he had the previous year as the head coach of the 6th grade team. His assistants were Joe Wietharn, Kirk Hammel, Ben Last & Monte Green.
The year 2009 brought with it the 8th year of existence for CCFA and the continued sponsorship of one team each in the 4th, 5th & 6th grade divisions. The Board of Directors remained the same while Randy Carlson & Jim Gierhan remained in their same roles. Allen Hamel continued to run the website and Kent & Brandi Griggs served as overall chairmen of the concessions stand committee. A Facebook page was also developed to offer another communication tool.
Bob Wietharn became head coach of the 4th grade team and his assistants were Ben Last, JD Lane, Wes Clark, Joe Wietharn & Carl Pyle. Myron Converse served as head coach of the 5th grade team and his assistants were Ken Ring, Mike Folks, Troy Anderson, Dalton Converse, Dusty Mullin & Marty Wallace. Phil Kasper was head coach of the 6th grade team and his assistants were Brad Underwood, Jared Shivers, Josh Carmona, Bruce Laffery & Bud Young.
In 2010 the CCFA board of directors added Joe Ferguson to replace the departing Wes Clark. Another major project was completed with the construction of permanent steel goal posts to replace the PVC structure that had been used since 2007. Hutchinson Mfg. and Perfection Auto Body donated construction and painting to the project. The new goal posts were installed by Jim Gierhan, Chris Carlson, Jim Franson, Adam Gierhan, Marlin Mugler, Derrick Tiers, Chris Ebert, Jarrod Wynn and Brandi Griggs.
The 4th grade head coach was Phil Kasper and his assistants were Brad Underwood, Jared Shivers, Jarrod Wynn & Michael Brownell. Bob Wietharn was head coach of the 5th grade team with assistants Ben Last, JD Lane, Joe Wietharn and Carl Pyle. The 6th grade team had Myron Converse as head coach and assistants Ken Ring, Dalton Converse, Troy Anderson, Dusty Mullin, Mike Folks, Marty Wallace and Joe Ferguson.
The 2011 season completed one full decade of our organization as CCFA continued to roll along with business as usual, fielding three full teams once again. Most chairmen stayed in place as before except Doug & April Dorman took over as the overall chairmen of the concession committee. Rodney Althiser continued to serve as our game day coordinator with the help of Jason Goff. Randy Carlson continued to serve as before on the Flint Hills Football League board of directors, and Myron Converse represented CCFA on the league’s newly formed Competition Council.
The 4th grade was spearheaded by new head coach Ken Ring who was assisted by Troy Anderson, Joe Ferguson and Brandon Pigorsch. Phil Kasper was the head coach of the 5th grade team with assistants Brad Underwood, Jared Shivers, Jarod Wynn, Michael Brownell, Josh Carmona and Bruce Laffery. The 6th grade team had Bob Wietharn as head coach and assistants Ben Last, Carl Pyle, JD Lane and Brad Pyle.
The year 2012 brought several new and exciting changes to the association. Under the guidance of Pat Hayes, CCFA implemented a new Flag Football program for ages K – 3rd grade. This new program doubled the number of CCFA participants from 70 involved in tackle to 140 total youth in both programs.
Doug & April Dorman remained chair of the concessions committee and Jason Goff became the game day coordinator. Jim Gierhan replaced Randy Carlson on the Flint Hills Football board of directors, and Ken Ring became CCFA’s representative to the league’s competition council.
The new head coach of the 4th grade team was Brad Pyle who was assisted by Carl Pyle, Dusty Mullin & Chance Williams. The 5th grade head coach was Ken Ring with assistants Joe Ferguson, Troy Anderson and Brandon Pigorsch. The 6th grade team had Phil Kasper as head coach with assistants Bruce Laffery, Michael Brownell, Josh Carmona, Jarrod Wynn and Brad Underwood.
In 2013 CCFA entered the 12th year of operation with a full head of steam. Pat & Arica Hayes continued as coordinators of the Flag Football program as it enjoyed a successful second year, once again being offered to youth ages K – 3rd grade.
Kara James served as chair of the concessions committee and Jason Goff returned for another year as game day coordinator. After almost a decade of loyal service, Troy & Dee Dee Anderson once again served as the delivery coordinators of the Little Caesars fund raising project. Jim Gierhan remained for another year as vice president of the Flint Hills Football board of directors, and Ken Ring remained as our representative to the league’s competition council.
The new head coach of the 4th grade team was Bruce Laffery who was assisted by Jamie Jackson, Michael Brownell, Jarrod Wynn, Brad Underwood and Erik Tipsword. The 5th grade head coach was Brad Pyle who was assisted by Carl Pyle, Dusty Mullin and Chance Williams. The 6th grade head coach was Ken Ring with assistants Joe Ferguson and Corey Pfizenmaier.
2014 was the 13th year of our tackle program and the 3rd year of our flag program. The Board stayed intact with Randy Carlson as President, Jim Gierhan as Director of Football operations, Phil Kasper as Coaching Coordinator, and other directors Marc Henry, Jeff Blackwood, Myron Converse and Joe Ferguson.
Pat & Arica Hayes remained as coordinators of the Flag program. Laura Schwartz was the new chair of the concessions committee and Josh Taylor filled the role of game day coordinator. The Little Caesars fundraiser remained as a strong asset to the organization and Arica Hayes, Kate Henry and Chris Jackson served as the new delivery day coordinators. Jim Gierhan became President of the Flint Hills Football League.
The head coach of the 4th grade team was Ken Ring who was assisted by Michael Brownell, Spencer Johnson and Jeremy Sweet. The 5th grade head coach was Jarrod Wynn and he was assisted by Jamie Jackson, Brandon Lee and Caleb Bloom. The 6th grade head coach was Brad Pyle with assistants Chance Williams, Dusty Mullin and Jeremy Reed.