KC Sports Replay: Chiefs up top, Border War to KU, MU recruiting haul + SKC schedule

Big week in Kansas City-area sports? You could say that.

It started with the resumption of the Kansas-Missouri Border War in men’s hoops and reached a crescendo with Thursday night’s overtime victory by the Chiefs on national television.

The magnitude of that OT win will reverberate as the NFL playoffs approach. Not only do the Chiefs now cradle a two-game lead atop the AFC West, they’re in fighting position for the conference’s overall No. 1 seed and accompanying first-round bye in the postseason.

Three games left for the Chiefs. More Border War games to come. Oh yeah, we’re getting our holiday on up in here.

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Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton, who played collegiately at Mizzou, had a great night Thursday as Kansas City beat the Chargers 34-28 in an overtime road game. Ashley Landis AP

Prime-time thrill

Thursday night’s game in L.A. showcased The Full Patrick Mahomes Experience. He had moments where he looked elite and some where he appeared flat and flustered … but in the end, that overtime score of Chiefs 34, Chargers 28 doesn’t lie.

Mahomes was at his best when the Chiefs needed him most, directing three late scoring drives of 75-plus yards. He blew a sure TD to a wide-open Mecole Hardman at the goal line, but that was soon forgotten as he rose to to the moment late in regulation and in OT.

Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce combined for 339 yards and three TDs on 22 catches. Mahomes, Kelce and Hill were the offense, and the defense did its part even without three starters.

Quite an impressive performance.

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Kansas coach Bill Self salutes a happy student section after his Jayhawks dominated Missouri in last weekend’s Border War hoops game at Allen Fieldhouse. Rich Sugg

Border War bludgeoning

It was an anticlimactic outcome for such a highly anticipated game, but University of Kansas men’s basketball fans were no doubt tickled at the final score as the Border War series between KU and Missouri resumed at Allen Fieldhouse: Jayhawks 102, Mizzou 65.

Next season, the game will be played in Columbia, and Tigers faithful will no doubt be looking to return the favor.

Mizzou football coach Eliah Drinkwitz speaks at an early national signing day celebration at Arrowhead Stadium on Dec. 15, 2021. Lila Bromberg,

Football signing day

Mizzou boasts a marquee football-recruiting class of 15 incoming Tigers, including five-star receiver Luther Burden from East St. Louis High.

MU celebrated its newcomers during a reception at Arrowhead Stadium that was attended by the local likes of incoming O-lineman Armand Membou (Lee’s Summit North), wideout Mekhi Miller (Blue Valley North) and D-lineman Jalen Marshall (St. Thomas Aquinas), as well as AD Desiree Reed-Francois, coach Eliah Drinkwitz and 100-plus Mizzou supporters.

K-State got a big early Christmas present Thursday when Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez announced that he will enroll at KSU next semester and finish his college football career in Manhattan. The Wildcats also signed 12 high school seniors and one junior-college transfer in their recruiting class.

The Jayhawks added new players, too, including a trio of transfers from Big Ten programs.

Sporting Kansas City and coach Peter Vermes learned their MLS schedule for 2022 this past week. They’ll be nationally televised at least 10 times. AP file photo

Sporting KC’s 2022 season

Sporting Kansas City learned its schedule for the 2022 Major League Soccer season on Wednesday. And fans won’t have to wait long for opening day.

This next MLS season starts earlier than ever: for some teams on Feb. 26, and for Sporting KC on Feb. 27 (against Atlanta United). That game plus nine others involving Sporting will be nationally televised. Sporting’s home opener will take place March 5 against Houston at Children’s Mercy Park.

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Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellinger, left, is taking a new job as media vice president for the KC Royals. Blair Kerkhoff is in the fight of his life, against a form of leukemia. KC Star file photos

Mellinger and Kerkhoff

Here at The Star, we generally try to keep the focus on teams, people and issues we cover around Kansas City.

Sometimes, though, we become a part of the news in one way or another. That happened twice this past week, with columnist Sam Mellinger announcing he’d taken a VP job with the Royals and Blair Kerkhoff’s revelation that he’s battling leukemia.

It’s an understatement to say we wish both men well, but do we ever.

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