COC Small about to be represented in the NFL

The National Football League Draft starts tonight.  And, like others I am always looking forward to seeing who the top picks are.  I am anxious to see who my team grabs.  I look forward to seeing how far Joe Mixon is allowed to slide before someone gives him the chance he deserves.

But, this year I, and many of the folks in the area will be paying attention for another reason.  On Saturday, it is projected, that Dylan Cole will get that phone call that all players dream about.

Cole, a Logan-Rogersville graduate, has been nothing short of sensational as a Missouri State Bear.  The FCS First-Team All-American, has not only shown what he an do on the field, but his workout numbers, rival and exceed, most of the names from the bigger schools around the country.  At 6-0, 239 lbs, the outside linebacker runs a 40 in the high 4.4s to low 4.5s.  He is a absolute freak on the bench, pulling of 32 reps of the 225 lbs,in his pro day workout in Springfield.  Just to compare, that was better than any outside linebacker at the NFL combine and would have ranked as the 8th best among all players at any position. He also posted a vertical leap of 39 inches.

Its hard to see why Cole was not invited to Indianapolis for the combine but his numbers are sure to open even more eyes.

Cole and the rest of the Wildcats beat Ezekiel Elliot and John Burroughs in the state championship game in 2011.  Those two could very well be seeing each other again on the field soon.

The draft kicks off with the opening round tonight at 7.  The second and third rounds start at 6 tomorrow night. And, rounds 4-7 get underway Saturday Morning at 11.

photo courtesy or Missouri State
photo courtesy of youtube
photo courtesy of Missouri State


Illum to lead the Lady Wolves

The Reeds Spring Lady Wolves Volleyball program will have a new leader this season.  Molly Illum has been named head coach.

Illum is no stranger to the area having spent time as the head of the Volleyball program at Springfield Central .  She played her college ball at Evangel.

She is the wife of former Evangel head football coach Brenton Illum, who was recently hired on the football staff at Missouri State.

Illum takes over a program that was 16-18 last season under the leadership of Jennifer Nichols.

photo courtesy of Twitter


It was Awesome with a Capital A…

Jim Valvano famously uttered the words “Don’t Give Up… Don’t Ever Give Up.”  His good friend Dick Vitale was in Branson last night as the keynote speaker for the South Central Missouri Fellowship of Christian Athletes Banquet, honoring the Coach of the Year and Male and Female Athletes of the Year.

Vitale delivered a similar message to that of his late friend.  While, Valvano was talking about not giving up on fighting cancer, Vitale’s words were about not accepting “CAN’T” in life.  He urged listeners to not give up on dreams, keep working for it.  He talked about his time as a coach and working up the ranks.  He spoke of his job at ESPN.  He spoke passionately about his family and his wife being the “hall of famer” of the family.

He talked to a nearly packed house at the Chateau on the Lake.  Branson Soccer Coach Brandon Scott was named Coach of the Year and Cassville’s Kassandra Graves and Joel Gertson from Reeds Spring received Athletes of the Year recognition.

Before the event Scott McCaulley and I, along with other members of local media got to sit down with Mr Vitale.

click player above to hear part of the press conference…

Dick Vitale at press gathering
Vitale and me along with our wives.


Galena gets new Basketball Coach

The Galena Bears will have a new man on the basketball bench next year but it will be a familiar face.

David Sherer has accepted the position as Head Bear.  He will add basketball duties to those of Athletic Director, A+ Coordinator, and Golf Coach.

Coach Sherer is well known in the area, being from Reeds Spring.  He was actually an assistant for a time with the Wolves.  He has had head coaching stints at Chadwick, Spokane, and Webb City.  He took the Owls to the Final Four in his time there.

“I am humbled and honored to take over this program.” said Sherer in a press release from Galena Schools. “Our main goals are to understand the values of hard work everyday, communicate, show trust, discipline, and to develop the skills needed not only to be men, but leaders of men.”

Sherer replaces Derek Wilson, who has accepted a coaching position at Hurley.

photo courtesy of Galena Schools

Forsyth Football Schedule Released

A look at the MSHSAA website revealed the the schedule for the Forsyth Panthers first Varsity Football Season has been released.  The Panthers will compete on a full time basis at the Varsity Level for the first time in 2017.  Although they will not be eligible for post season play this upcoming season, they will play an eight game schedule.

The season will start with a Saturday Contest in Kansas City against Northeast.  After three straight road games they will play first first home game on September 8th against Diamond.

As an independent, coming in mid-cycle they have to travel a little more this opening year than they will in future seasons.  Starting in 2018 the school will compete in the Mid-Lakes Conference for Football Only.

2017 Forsyth Football Schedule

8/19 @Northeast (Kansas City)

8/25 @ Ava

9/1 @ Lockwood

9/8 Diamond

9/15 OPEN

9/22 Lighthouse Christian

9/29 @Pierce City

10/6 Sarcoxie

10/13 Sante Fe


Linehan tabbed to lead Branson Basketball

The Branson School Board has named the new head coach of the basketball program.  For longtime basketball fans in the tri-lakes it may be a familiar face:  Mike Linehan.

Currently an assistant at Kickapoo, Linehan spent time as the head coach at Forsyth.  Additionally he spent time at Dadeville, leading the school to the State Championship game in 2011.  He was also named Coach of the Year that season.  Linehan spent time courtside at Republic as well.

“Linehan brings a great deal of coaching experience to our district,” said David Large, Branson High School activities director. “His knowledge in basketball will be a great asset to our athletic program. We look forward to an exciting basketball season next school year.”

He is a graduate of Evangel University in Springfield, and spent time as an assistant coach to Steve Jenkins as well.

Linehan replaces Kirk Hanson, whose contract was not renewed.

photo courtesy of Evangel University

Krysl headed to SBU…

Another Hollister athlete has made their college choice official.  This time its golfer McKenna Krysl.  Krysl will call Bolivar home the next four years.  She will be a Bearcat and attend Southwest Baptist University.  McKenna was the District Medalist this past fall as well as claiming individual honors at the Sectional Championships.

I had a chance to catch up with Krysl this morning….Krysl Signing (click on line for interview with McKenna.

Signing on the dotted line
McKenna and her family

Spring Sports Flying by..

I talk all the time about how quickly the season seem to pass us.  Well this spring is certainly a great example.  We are about halfway through the spring sports season.  A few things I have noticed, so far:

  1. Forsyth baseball continues to graduate talent and still find ways to win.
  2. Branson Girls Soccer is the real deal.  Get out and watch these ladies. (its not your Saturday morning game featuring Sunny D and Orange slices)
  3. Reeds Spring and Hollister Baseball can both flat out play and also compete in clearly the best Class 4 District in the State.
  4. Big District win over Kickapoo by the Branson Baseballers
  5. The press box and chair back seats at Branson just add to what might be the best HS baseball facility in the state.
  6. Reeds Spring Track has picked up where it left off last year.  We knew the Sprintin’ Wolves could fly but they are stepping up to new levels.
  7.  We wont see the full move until next year but Spring Softball at Hollister will be a good move for them.
  8. Looking forward to seeing the completed project at the Reeds Spring baseball/softball complex
  9. Plenty of Tennis and Golf going on as well, these athletes need your support too.
  10. And yes I do know that there are 129 days until week one of the HS football season.

Just scratched the surface here.  Point is weather its track, soccer, baseball, golf or tennis; and whether you consider yourself a Pirate, Wolf, Tiger, Panther, Patriot, or Bulldog lots of good things are happening.  But, the clock is ticking.  Graduations are about a month away.  Get out, enjoy the weather and support the area athletes before its too late.