Southwest Kansas Storm Clean House Relieve Coach Brandon Venson of his Duties

The Southwest Kansas Storm have relieved Head Coach Brandon Venson of his duties heading into the 2024 season. Venson led his Storm into the playoffs in 2023 as the 6th seed, and nearly coached his team to victory against one of the most dangerous offenses in the league.

Injuries at Quarterback Set the Tone for 2023

Struggling through injuries at quarterback nearly every week, the Storm still managed to make it into the playoffs after a solid finish to the season. It wasn’t until the team signed Josh Hollins, and Mike Pina that they solidified the quarterback position. Shout out to Sean Kelly who also impressed in his performances as well but struggled with injuries, opening the door for Hollins.

A pair of wins against Rapid City cemented the sixth seed and a playoff berth for the Storm. It appeared that all the Storm needed throughout the year was more consistent play under center. If you wanted evidence of what the Storm could have been if not for the constant quarterback injuries, you need look no further than their final game in 2023.

Going into a game against Gillette in week one of the playoffs it was being billed as a revenge match for Pina and Hollins who both started the season in Gillette with the Mustangs. Pina got the start, and it was the Storm who got the early lead on the Mustangs going up 15 to 14 by the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter the Mustangs started to slowly inch their way back into the game they scored 8 points while the Storm put up just six. Gillette took the lead by one point. This game was at no point out of hand for either team and the Storm kept it a game throughout.

Keep in mind the Storm were playing against the future Co-Coach of the Year in Cedric Walker, as well as the offensive player of the year Ka’Ronce Higgins and a recent IFL Quarterback in Aaron Aiken. They also were the sixth seed playing in Gillette versus the third seed, the largest gap in seeding and records in the 2023 playoffs, in a hostile environment no less.

The Offensive minded Coach Venson incorporated a run heavy approach and we saw Pina take the game in his hands leading the team in passing yards, rushing yards, and touchdowns. Finishing the day with 166 total yards, and 5 touchdowns.

On defense they forced two turnovers a fumble and an interception. Doing their part to find victory. If anyone is to blame for this loss, it might be kicker Dillon Burkhard who missed both his field goal attempts, and one extra point. Leaving 7 points off the board and sealing the victory for the Mustangs. This was a problem the Mustangs didn’t face with their kicker just handling kickoffs, and the difference in the game came from scoring more than one on several point after attempts. With the final score 40-35.

I have to question the decision making at the top with the Storm organization after they decided to move on from Coach Venson. Personally, I saw the signs of a team headed in the right direction toward the end of the season, and I believe that Venson and his offense was severely hampered by the constant rotation of quarterbacks after Tahj Tolbert was released.

I could see the logic of bringing in a veteran coach if coaching was the issue, but this was less coaching, more injuries, and poor performances at quarterback. If I were in a position to make decisions I would happily have Brandon Venson run any organization I was a part of. Look at what this team managed to do with solid quarterbacks and tell me he isn’t deserving of another chance.

Best of luck to Coach Venson and the Storm Organization even though I disagree with their decision on this matter.

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