Courtesy photo

November 21, 2020

By Fred Liggett

The 2020 high school football season will be remembered by many as the season that almost didn’t happen. For the Lee’s Summit Tigers it will be remembered as the year they were fortunate to play the entire 10 game schedule. Getting through the 10 weeks without any issues off the field was a different story, just ask Kelly Pollard mom of Tigers junior Tight End Max Whisner.

Whisner is a highly sought after recruit and many eyes were expected to watch his every move on game nights. One pair of eyes definitely interested in watching his every play belonged to Pollard but getting the chance to do it in person proved to be a tough thing to do. Wearing #86 for the Tigers Max Whisner at 6’5” and 240 lbs. is tough to miss. Max’s mom, Kelly Pollard, made moves to ensure she wouldn’t miss a single play.

Pollard found a willing owner at Arcade Alley to show a pair of Lee’s Summit Tigers football games for parents and other relatives. One game was the Lee’s Summit at LS North game on the night of Sept. 4. With LS North not allowing visiting team’s fans to this game Pollard found interest from others to join her at the downtown Lee’s Summit business. The owner said,”I can stream it.” Pollard found the place to have a “fantastic environment.” The venue had the game on not only in their private room but also their game areas. Players’ parents found it to be “a great set up.”

Pollard found no such obstacles at Staley where the high school is located in Clay County which allows a different set of protocols to sporting events. For Pollard this fall sports season has been tough being a single parent and working from home. Pollard has “really enjoyed watching Max improve as a player” and is “extremely proud” of him. Now that the season has come to an end Pollard is “thankful they didn’t get hurt.”

While the fall was hectic for the parent, the player found a hectic summer schedule to prepare for the 2020 football season. Pollard says Max has “a network of coaches and friends in place to help him out.” Max made “a lot of sacrifice.” Pollard admits as he “was disciplined with his work in the weight room.” Whisner spent part of the summer working out with former LSHS Tigers QB Drew Lock now playing in the NFL for the Denver Broncos. In addition to that Whisner would visit AMP Athletics here in Lee’s Summit for personal workouts.

All the work over the summer paid off for Whisner who committed to Mizzou during the fall season. Pollard found this decision to be a “breath of fresh air” but schools interested in Whisner still call and send mail but Pollard says “this has slowed down” since the commitment. Pollard feels “it was so hectic for about a month.” Twenty-two schools reached out to Whisner and to help with that much attention was Tigers Head Coach Eric Thomas who filtered through the messages. Both Pollard and Whisner are happy with the decision to attend Mizzou. Pollard found Mizzou head coach Eli Drinkwitz and assistant Casey Woods to be good people in addition to good coaches. Pollard felt “you can trust them and feels really good sending him there.” For Whisner it came down to “wanting to play in the SEC.” Following the commitment Whisner and his mom went to the Mizzou/LSU game which for the pair was their first game ever at Mizzou.

Now that both Pollard and Whisner have got through an entire season during a pandemic they look forward to a successful senior year in 2021 with the Lee’s Summit Tigers.