It's been a trying week for Ryan Cornelsen. The 1997 Liberal graduate spent much of the early portion of the week in Kansas City with his baby Cooper who was fighting liver problems. Ryan Cornelsen says the test results are good, so he returned back to Hays mid-week to coach his Indians who embark on a homecoming for their head coach. Liberal fans still affectionately refer to Cornelsen as "Big R," and remember his accomplishments as a safety and wide receiver at Liberal. The Redskins won state during his sophomore and junior years and finished as a 10-1 runner-up his senior year, 1996. His father, legendary coach Gary Cornelsen is an assistant at 3-0 Amarillo Tascosa. Tonight's drama would have been ramped up even more had father followed son to Hays to be defensive coordinator as he was planning this spring. "I won't be able to make it," Gary Cornelsen said of Friday night's game at Redskin Field. That'll be unique. When I was going back there to help him I thought that would be a little bit strange. Hopefully he'll have them ready to play and it will be a great game for both teams."
Ryan Cornelsen led Lacrosse to a 53-13 before taking the job in football starved Hays, who hasn't seen a playoff birth since 1995. But taking the job also means "Big R" will play his hometown annually. "It's going to be different," Ryan Cornelsen said. "I still have a lot of pride for what we accomplished at Liberal and throughout my dad's coaching career there. I have a lot of pride in what he did. I think very highly of the school and all the different things that took place while I was in high school, the town, and the community. I was a great place to grow up. There will be mixed emotions. I told our kids there will be mixed emotions until kickoff and then it will be all one side."
The Indians are 2-0 after winning at Concordia 53-14 and home against Ulysses 13-9.