Neville heads to Fayette..

When you see Josh Neville out of uniform you don’t necessarily think Stand Out Football Player.  He is not oversized or just scream “great athlete”.   But, that is until you see him play…  Simply put, he is a dude.

Neville is a great example of what hard work and determination can do for a player.  The Hollister outside linebacker is a two time first team All-COC selection.  Last week he signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his football career at Central Methodist University

The Tiger defense will surely miss his presence.  While wearing the blue and white, he was credited with 160 tackles, 111 of the of the solo variety.  He had 15 tackles for loss. He caused 5 Fumbles and recovered the pigskin 7 times.   And for good measure he picked off 5 passes.

Central Methodist is located in Fayette, Missouri and is a member of the NAIA’s Heart of America Conference.

NevilleSigning   (Click on link for media interview with Josh)

Josh with mom and coaches
making it official
Coach Hamon

NAIA will go to ONE Division

What has been expected for a few years now is finally coming to be.  The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics announced at its annual convention that they will be going on one division in men’s and women’s basketball starting with the 2020-2021 school year.  The move was approved on Monday by the organizations Council of Presidents.

The schools will be allowed up to an equivalent of eight scholarships.  This brings to an end the playing of two different divisions that has been in place since 1992.

One thing that has yet to be decided is the size of the National Tournament.  One option would have 64 teams qualifying with various play in sites leading to a final 16 team Championship.  Another favors staying with the current 32-team format at one site.  That question could be answered as early as June.

And, while Kansas City is not guaranteed as the final site for the men’s tournament, the NAIA has indicated that they would like for that to be the case.

I think the bigger question is where the women’s tournament will be held.  Should they stick with the 32-team format, Sioux City would be hard to beat.  However, if they choose to go with only the final 16 advancing to the final site, you have to wonder if they could not play the tournaments in Kansas City.  Or, what if they do them in back to back weeks?  If they do that, they could possibly have them at the same site, even if they stick with the 32-team format.  But, that is all speculation on my part.

Robles Shares About Being “UNSTOPPABLE”

A near capacity crowd was on hand Thursday Night at the South Central Missouri Fellowship of Christian Athletes annual Athletes and Coach of the Year Banquet at Chateau on the Lake.

The Inspirational and Uplifting Night was headlined by speaker Anthony Robles.  The 2010-2011 NCAA Wrestling Champion at 125lbs was born without his right leg.  He did not let that or anyone stop him.  He spoke to the group about perseverance and ability within us all to become a champion.

The male and female athletes of the year were honored at the Banquet.  The recipients this year were Kinsey Stevens from Galena and Payton Varner from Cassville.

Stevens, an All-Confernce Cross-Country Runner and All-American Cheerleader will attend Pittsburg State University in Kansas and hopes to study Exercise Science or Biology.

Varner, a golfer and manager for the basketball team at Cassville will attend Crowder to study History.

Both athletes are extremely active in their respective FCA groups and their churches.

The Coach of the Year was Vicki Spivey, Hurley Huddle Coach and Head Softball Coach.

It was an incredible evening.  To see the work that God is doing in our area schools is tremendous.  Brian Mitchell, hits the road, most of the time, before the sun comes up in the morning.  Whether its Coaches Bible Studies, Team Huddles, or one of the other 1500 tasks Brian does every day to further the work of the organization, his work is always Christ centered and for the Glory of God.

Jim Connell and I got a chance to sit down with Robles before the event.  Click on the link below to hear that conversation..


FCA could use your help.  Lets help them continue spreading the word of God to athletes all over SW Missouri.


Anthony Robles speaks at FCA banquet

Duncan Sets New Mark and Lady Pirates Roll…

I commented in the my preview of the season that McKenzie Duncan was rewriting the Branson Lady Pirates Soccer Record Book.  Well, she inked another chapter tonight as she led the Lady Pirates to an 8-1 win over Mountain View-Liberty.

During the course of the blowout, the Palm Beach Atlantic University signee, scored six goals to set a new Lady Pirate single game record.   Duncan previously shared the record of four goals in a game with Hailey Lecroix.   The blowout is perhaps the only reason that Duncan did not have more than six.

It was McKenzie’s sister Molly, that got the scoring going for Branson, just 1:28 into the match.  McKenzie would score her first goal of the game less than two minutes later, and add one more before the half.

Amanda Mantel would hit the back of the net for the Lady Eagles with 2:10 left before halftime drawing them to within 3-1 and scoring the first goal against the Lady Pirates in their four games this season

McKenzie would totally take over in the early part of the second half.  She would score four times in a period of less than ten minutes starting with a goal at the 35:03 mark.   From that point she was given a break and would later return in more of a defensive role.

Josie Michel would cap off the night for the Lady Pirates with a goal at the 11:19 mark.

In goal, Lauren Garrison was her usual solid self.  She was that single goal short of posting her fourth consecutive shutout.

The win moves the Lady Pirates to 4-0 on the season.  They won the Fair Grove Tournament over the weekend.  They will be back in action Thursday Night, hosting Aurora at Pirate Stadium.

photo courtesy of Branson Tri-Lakes News


Farquhar Will Stay Home and Be a Bobcat

Folks in the tri-lakes have been able to see Landon Farquhar develop in to a well rounded athlete.  The Hollister senior has found success in multiple sports for the Tigers, but its baseball where he really excels.

People in Hollister will not have to go very far to continue to watch him play.  He will continue his athletic and academic careers at College of the Ozarks.

He recently made it official by signing a National Letter of Intent.

As a junior he hit .354 for the Tigers.  On the mound he was 4-5 but posted a 1.98 ERA

FarquharSigning  (click the link to hear Jim Connell and my intervew with Landon)

Landon with family and coaches

A Couple of All-American Girls…

All season long awards have poured in for the College of the Ozarks dynamic duo of Kelsie Cleeton and Cassidy Johnson.  Well, the season may be over but the awards are still a comin’

Cleeton has been named First-Team All-American.  The junor from Springfield filled up the stat sheet most every night this season.  She averaged nearly 14 points a game this year and pulled down over 11 rebounds a night. She was 3rd in the nation in total rebounds, despite standing only 5-7.  Her 106 steels ranked 5th in the nation and 21 times this year she went home after recording a double-double.

Johnson, a junior from West Plains, was named Honorable Mention All-America.  The sharpshooter  was the top scorer for the Lady Cats this season, dropping over 16 points a night on the competition.  Her 101 3’s ranked ninth among all women in NAIA DII.

The Lady Cats finished their season 31-2 and were ranked #3 in the country.

photo courtesy of CofO

2017-2018 “Perry Awards”

With the basketball season coming to an end we turn out attention  to the Spring sports.  Before totally moving on its time to give a little recognition to some of the players in the area that stood out this year.

As with the case last year, I don’t pick an all-star team.  Already a lot of folks do that.  Instead I just pick some players that stood out in some different categories.

Now, a reminder, this is all from the eye test.  I didn’t go line by line over stats, and there could be valid points made for others in each position..  With that being said, here is who made the cut this season:

                                                                                             Girls                                                  Boys


Youngin of the Year(frosh/soph)    Scarlett Texeira-Forsyth              Nathan Garnett-BE                    


Keep an Eye On                                    Maddie Pardeck-Branson          Dawson Deroo-Forsyth


My Final Shot                                    Konnhar Patton-Blue Eye             Lane Carroll-RS


Best Floor General:                           Kelina Asbill-RS                           Zach Martin-SofO


Straight out Player               Taylor Arnold-Blue Eye                      Andrew Mitchell-Blue Eye


Controls the Paint                    Raven Ross-Hollister                      Anthony Stanford-Forsyth


Not About Me                    Lauren Garrison-Branson                    Logen Plumb-Reeds Spring


Coach of the Year                           Ken Elfrink                                            Josh Hart


Player of the Year                    Kohnnar Patton-Blue Eye                    Micaiah Rocha-Forsyth

Photo Courtesy of Jim Connell
photo courtesy of Larry Plumlee


Spring Sports Seasons have Arrived…

This year continues to roll along.  This past weekend most of the Spring Sports held their preseason Jamborees and competition can start at the end of this week.

Just a few random thoughts:

  1. Branson Soccer-  I think that Lady Pirates have a great shot to break the school record for wins and perhaps their first district championship.
  2. Hollister Baseball- The Tigers have a number of seniors that have been playing varsity ball since their freshman years. Big year could be coming.
  3. Reeds Spring Baseball- Coach Funk has a number of options on the mound.  If the Wolves can get the bats going they will be dangerous.
  4. Forsyth Baseball-  Bryron Richardson takes over a program that returns quite a bit of experience.
  5. Branson Baseball- Pirates had a lot of guys get playing time last year due to injuries.  That experience may very well pay off for them this season.
  6. Jenner Steele could have a huge season for Hollister
  7. Reeds Spring Track placed 2nd in the state last year.  But lost a ton to graduation.  Watch out for the girls this year.
  8. Hollister Softball competes full time in the Spring for the First time… that could be big for them.
  9.  Can SofO continue its Track success?
  10.  They have been playing a while, but C of O baseball is making some noise, they have a shot to make some noise in the conference tournament and possibly beyond.

Carroll and Plumb Get Recognition on Final Small COC Teams

With the season coming to an end for all the teams in the league, the All-Conference teams have been announced for the Small-Central Ozark Conference.  With the disbanding of the league, it will be the last such awards.

Reeds Spring’s Lane Carroll was a unanimous first team selection.  The senior sharp shooter joined the 1000 point club this year.  Logen Plumb was named to the second team.

Hollister’s Payton Weber also earned a spot on the second team.

Here is a look at the 2017-18 Small-COC All-Conference Teams

1st team

Luke Vandersnick (Unanimous)             JR                    Rogersville

Jake Branham (Unanimous)                    JR                    Catholic

Lane Carroll (Unanimous)                       SR                   Reeds Spring

Ian Jones (Unanimous)                             JR                    Bolivar

Andrew Scott                                              SR                   Rogersville


2nd team

Ian Cochran                                                 SR                   Catholic

Logen Plumb                                               SR                   Reeds Spring

Corey Spindler                                            SR                   Bolivar

Austin Porter                                               JR                    Marshfield

Peyton Weber                                             SR                   Hollister


Honorable Mention

Charlie O’Reilly                                           JR                    Catcholic

Layton Moody                                            JR                    Buffalo

Triston Letterman                                      JR                    Marshfield

Michael Manzardo                                    JR                    Catholic


Player of the year- Luke Vandersnick- Rogersville

Coach of the year- John Schaeffer- Rogersville

photo courtesy of Facebook

From All-State Lineman to Musical Leading Man..

There is a scene in the movie GREASE, when Danny, played by a young John Travolta, is looking for a sport he can actually participate in.  He fails at a number of attempts before finally settling on track.

Well at Reeds Spring, its a little different story.  Austin Bradfield is already as accomplished lineman that has ever put on a Wolves football uniform.  The 6-3 230 pound center was named All-State after both his junior and senior seasons.  He has helped anchor a line that has provided the most prolific offensive numbers in school history.

But now he is trying his hat in a different arena.  Bradfield will be playing the part of “Danny” in the musical Grease when the Reeds Spring High Schools version of the hit musical starts tonight at the middle school auditorium.

Bradfield and his classmates, which includes a number of Wolves footballers, will be presenting the play the next three nights at 7:00.  Tickets are available online or at the door.

Bradfield before this past football season
photo courtesy of RSSD