Area Coaching Changes…

With the end of the school year we start to turn the page to next year.  As always that means some new men and women taking over leadership of various sports programs in the area..  Below are some of the Coaching Changes that have been made public… (though there are many new assistant coaches in the area, for the purpose of this article I stuck with head coaching positions.


old coach > new coach



Becky Lipasek  > Lauren Dorris


Dan Henderson > Anthony Hays

Boys Basketball

Kirk Hanson  > Mike Linehan

Reeds Spring


Jennifer Nichols > Molly Illum


Justin Drake > Barry Yocom



Cindy Swatek > Alexis Mitchell



Jim Jullian > Byron Richardson

Blue Eye


Amanda Reagan > Taylor Pierce

School of the Ozarks

Girls Basketball

Andrea Martin > Keaundrea Scott


Boys Basketball

Derek Wilson > David Sherer


Byron Richardson > Tim Townsend


Hannah Fondrist > Becky Justis

College of the Ozarks


New Sport > Chris Larson

Richardson is Coming Home

The new baseball coach at Forsyth is a familiar name and is a familiar face.  Byron Richardson has been named the new head coach of the Panthers.

Richardson was an all-stater on the diamond playing for his dad, Hall-of-Fame Coach Neale Richardson.  He is a 2009 Forsyth Graduate and played his college ball at College of the Ozarks.

After beginning his coaching career in Gainsville, he has spent the last two season leading the Galena Bears.  At Galena he won to straight district titles and a SWCL Coach of the Year Award.

Richardson replaces Jim Julian, who earlier this month accepted the head coaching job at Springfield Glendale.

Wolves- State Runners-Up

Reeds Spring did not necessarily need to take a big bus to the state track meet.  If they wanted to eat out they did not really need to call ahead to warn the restaurant that a big group was coming.  The Wolves qualified only seven athletes, on the guys side, for the meet.

But, what production they got from that group. Four Gold Medals, A Silver, and two Bronze was the count.  When the totals were added up, the Wolves totaled 60 points, good for 2nd place and only 2 points short of State Champion John Burroughs.

Korey Robinette led the way.  The Senior speedster claimed gold in the 200 to go along with a silver in the 100.

Ransom Allphin won the 100 meter hurdles and added bronze on the 300 meter hurdles.

Robinette and Allphin were joined by Keenan Haynes and Colter Whitten to claim the state championship in the 4 X 100 meter relay (a great effort by all four and a finish by Robinette of which legends are made) and the same foursome took bronze in the 4 X 200 meter relay.

The Wolves also got a state championship performance form Xavier McDaniel.  The big guy out did everyone in the shot put.

While, small in numbers the Wolves came up big on the big stage.  The only athletes that qualified that did not end up on the podium were Darrin Rathburn and Kelly Newton  And they just missed it.  Rathburn only missed joining McDaniel for the shot put award ceremony by 5 inches. And, Newton was only a few inches short in the long jump.

The Wolves got about as close as you can get to winning the State Title.  They actually led by 8 points going into the final event.  Reeds Spring was done but John Burroughs had an entry in the 4X400 relay race.  If JB finished third or worse the title would belong to Reeds Spring.  If they finished second the teams would tie, and if they won, they would also win the team title.  Well, they rose to the occasion and ran a 3:21.01 to beat Cardinal Ritter by just over two seconds.

When you come that close its easy to look at what might have been.  Two points is generally one place, among the podium finishes.  But, instead of looking at it that way, I look at the great accomplishment this group of seniors pulled off.  They finshed third last year, and with a huge target on their backs improved by a spot this year.

The group that is leaving totally owns the Reeds Spring record books.. Each of the medalists owns the school record in their respective events.  And, might hold them for some time…. I will stick with the post I made yesterday that Robinette is the greatest Reeds Spring sprinter of all-time.  The same can be said of Allphin when it comes to hurdles.

Wolves in position for possible State Title

A State Championship can’t be won on the first day of the State Track Meet but it can certainly be lost.  But, that is something the Wolves don’t need to worry about.

After the completion of Day #1 Reeds Spring is in position to make a run at the schools first ever State Championship.

Xavier McDaniel has already been crowned as the Class 3 State Champ in the Shot Put and accounts for the 10 first day points the Wolves have scored.

Korey Robinette is the number one qualifier in both the 100m and 200m events.  In the 100 his time in today’s qualifying heat is only .04 off the Class 3 Meet Record.  Speaking of records, he shattered his own school record in the 200m today, clocking an amazing 21.79.

Ransom Allphin is safely through in both hurdle events and is the number two qualifier in both.

The 4 X 100 and 4 X 200 relay teams both won their heats and will go into the finals as the #2 seed in both events.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day.  Wolves are in position to make history.  They will need to get their share of golds in the sprints and relays and really would benefit from some of the other contenders not scoring too much in the distance events.  If things fall right and they finish as the states number one team the school will have a state championship trophy in the case for the first time ever.

If they fall short, they will still cap off an amazing run, led by a senior class that has some athletes, the likes this area has never seen.  Regardless of what happens, this team, especially this group of seniors have set the standard that all future Wolves Track Teams will be compared to.

Good Luck and GO WOLVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Duncan and Garrison Earn All-Conference Honors

With the last of the Central Ozarks Conference-Large Soccer teams seasons coming to an end, the All-Conference teams have been released.

The Branson Lady Pirates placed two athletes on the list- McKenzie Duncan and Lauren Garrison.

Duncan became the programs all-time leader in Goals scored this year to go along with the Assists record that she already holds.  McKenzie was named to the first team.

Garrison earned second team honors for her work in the goal.  She already owns every school record for Saves.

Both ladies are juniors and will return next season to lead a Lady Pirate team coming off its first ever appearance in a District Championship Match.

2017 Lady Pirates Soccer Team

16-17 School Year One to Remember

The last of the area high schools have held their Graduation and while Reeds Spring Track has a great shot to improve on last years third place finish at State the area sports season is otherwise done.

A special shout out to Galena Baseball, while not in my usual coverage area the Bears deserve recognition and I want to wish them the best of luck in their State Quarterfinal game tomorrow afternoon.

This was  a very special year for me because in addition to my radio coverage at Earls Family Broadcasting, this marked the first year for my own company and this website.

As you would expect I will start with Reeds Spring Football leading off the stories of the fall sports.  The Wolves finally got over the Bolivar hurdle and although they would slip at Springfield Catholic they would claim a piece of the COC small Championship and earned the number one seed in the district playoffs. Wolves will lose some some special players but return a nucleus that could make next year special.  Hollister football had its best season in history.  Coach Jacob Hamon’s club set all kinds of FIRSTS for the school.  Although they fell a little short of my third place conference prediction they no doubt opened eyes.  Branson was competitive in most contests and although they did not show huge strides in their final record they were much improved.

The softball teams from Branson and Reeds Spring were both extremely competitive.

The story of the winter was the Branson Girls.  Despite flying under the radar from other media sources, Coach Kip Bough’s ladies beat Ozark and Kickapoo to win the District Championship, downed Republic in sectionals and after falling behind early against Columbia Rock Bridge fought back to make a game of it before finally having their season end one game short of the final four.

My coverage in the spring focused on area baseball in addition to Branson Girls Soccer.

Although we did not have an area baseball team advance as far as a district Championship game most of them were extremely competitive and all had high moments.

The Branson Girls Soccer team won a district game for the first time ever and competed for a District Championship.  The team will return nearly intact next year and seems to be poised to take that next step.

Over the coming days I will discuss more individual accomplishments as well as specific highlights and sports that dont get as much coverage.  I will also go over all the coaching changes in the area.

Finally I want to say THANK YOU for the past year.  When I started this site and later added play by play broadcasts I really did not know what to expect.  I thought if I could have 5000 visits to my webpage I would be happy.  Well, you responded much better than I ever imagined.  You topped the 11000 before the end of December and right around 22000 for the year.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.  It makes the old, short guy, feel good to think that you actually care what I have to say.

To the sponsors who jumped on board this first year, this would not be possible without you.  To all the athletes, thanks for letting me be part of your seasons.  To the parents and fans, thanks for the words of encouragement.  I do appreciate it.  And, finally to the coaches and administrators… I cant express my appreciation enough. You are all great to work with.

Here’s to growing and making next year bigger and better.


Thanks Joel…

With Graduation at Reeds Spring another group of “my guys” bid fair well to high school and get ready for the next step in their lives.  Among those moving on is Joel Gertson.

Gertson, the South Central Missouri FCA Male Athlete of the Year, has been a constant the last four years as a Wolf.  He has been steady on the basketball court, running the Wolves offense.  He leaves Reeds Spring with every assist record in the programs history.  375 times he set up a teammate for a basket.  That includes 158 times this year, alone.  He is also tops in steals, both for a season and over the course of his career.  Coach Barry Yocom was always able to know that Joel would be in the lineup and would make a contribution.

There is no doubt, the basketball prowess is what we had heard about Joel before his high school years.  But, on the football field was actually where I, first saw his impact.  Before, he came on the scene, the kicking duties for Wolves Football were less than stellar.  But, for Four years, that was pretty much a given.  We had Joel.  From his freshman year on, he has been as automatic as you can ever hope for at the high school level. A good part of that time Joel had the same snapper and holder.  Those guys graduate tonight as well. (Thanks JP and Keenan)  Mr Automatic on extra points will be hard to replace.

As many accolades that he received on the court and on the field, they can’t measure up to the person he is off the field.  Joel is a leader.  He is a guy that sets a great example for others.  Whether it’s his FCA involvement, his connection to the RS Leadership Group, or just seeing the way he interacts with others, there is no mistake that he excels in this right.

His faith is something that drives him.  His actions prove that.  From speaking to peers and helping lead them to Christ, to the simple hellos and the simple question “How you doing?”  If Joel asks you that, he is not only saying “hi” he sincerely wants to know if you are doing okay.

Joel has a couple of options as to what that next step will be for him.  Whichever path he decides to follow I know that he will be successful.  When I signed off the final basketball game this year and was talking about each of the seniors, I described Joel as the exact kind of guy I would want my daughter to bring home had God blessed me with a daughter.  To me, that is about as big of praise as you can offer someone.

Thanks Joel….. It has truly been an honor.

photo courtesy of facebook
Joel with Adam Gasper
Joel Gertson (file photo)

Its District Time… Here is how I see it.. (at least at this hour)

With Graduations this week the end of the 2016-2017 school year is upon us.  That means the Spring Sports Seasons are nearing their end.  Districts get underway this weekend.

Hollister will host what could very well be the most competitive district in the state.  The seedings themselves don’t look bad. 1) Aurora 2) Logan-Rogersville 3) Springfield Catholic 4) Reeds Spring 5) Mt Vernon and 6) Hollister.   But then you look a little closer.  The bottom seeded team (Hollister) just beat the top seed (Aurora) this past weekend.  The four seed Reeds Spring beat the two-seed Rogersville.  Reeds Spring and Mt Vernon played a ten inning game last week, won by the Mtneers.  Plus, history tells us, just how close this district is.. A year ago, every single game in the whole Tournament was decided by just ONE run.  Add the fact that the district dropped Marshfield and picked up Springfield Catholic and you get my argument for being the most competitive.

If you are going to pick a favorite you still have to go with Aurora.. The Houn Dawgs have more pitching. And, that is a factor when playing games right after one another.  But, as you can see it could very well be anyone’s championship to win.

Branson will travel to Nixa for the Class 5 District 11 Tournament.  Kickapoo is the top seed there.  They are followed by Glendale, Ozark, Branson is the four seed.  They are followed by West Plains, Parkview and Nixa.

The Pirates have battled injuries, this season, in numbers that are rarely seen.  Coach Troy Nimmo and his group of guys deserve tremendous credit for putting together the season they have.. talk about a group that has battled together.  At full strength I would like the Pirates chance to come out of this district and to be honest I still thing they have a decent shot.  That being said for the sake of picking a favorite, I am actually going to go with the THREE seed…. OZARK.

Forsyth will be in the district hosted by Clever.  They actually play the Blue Jays in the opening round on Monday.  The Panthers are seeded third, behind Strafford and Conway, and ahead of Fair Grove, Spokane, and Clever.

This is another competitive district.  Clever has lost to most of the teams in the tournament but several of them were one run games.  They are dangerous for a six seed.  When I started writing this, I had every intention on picking Forsyth.  But, the Panther dropped two games this weekend including one to the Indians.  We can’t forget the Conway is there as well.  The Bears are the defending champs, and even though they Graduated some talent from last years club, they are obviously still pretty good…  Overall, I think that Coach Jullian’s team is really the best team there.  But, I can’t overlook what Strafford has done..  while I will hold out hope, this Panther team, advances… for the sake of this article Give me the Indians.

I like both Galena and New Covenant in the district being held in Crane.  The Bears won and extra inning game against NCA earlier this year.  Assuming both teams make it through, it should be a dandy final.  I will go with the Bears, if they can find a way to save Sorrell to pitch that Championship game.

Soccer Districts are next week…. Track Districts are this weekend… folks the 2016-2017 year is about to get away from us…

Good Luck to All !!!!!

Panther Skipper Headed to Glendale….

Last Night the Forsyth Panthers defeated Galena 3-0 to move in to a first place tie in the Southwest Central League standings.  A victory over Sparta will, now, give the Panthers a share of the SWCL Championship.

The Conference Championship, should it happen, will be the last for Coach Jim Julian as the leader of the Panthers.  Julian has accepted the position of head coach of the Springfield Glendale Falcons starting next school year.  He played in that program under legendary coaches Mark Stratton and Howard Bell.

Julian has led the Panthers for eight seasons after taking over for Hall of Famer Neal Richardson.  Including the fall seasons he has amassed a record of 248-82, according to my numbers.  The Panthers, under his leadership, have been consistently state ranked.  They have spent many weeks at number one.  He has not been afraid to take on all-comers playing a tough schedule year in and year out, including matchups with much bigger schools.  Those games with Class 5 schools will now become the norm as he moves into the Ozark Conference with the Falcons.  Glendale is in the same district as Branson.

The Panthers still have a makeup game with Sparta and will host their annual Tournament starting Saturday before moving into post-season play.  This years District Tournament is scheduled to be played in Clever.

From a personal standpoint I would like to thank Coach Julian.  He has been a pleasure to work with and has always done everything he can to promote the game and the kids.  A search for his successor has already begun.  On another personal note, I would like to suggest that the Forsyth School Board does not have to look very far.  The best person for the job, might very well already be on the Panthers bench.

This move does have to be approved by the Springfield School board but is most likely just a formality.


The COC Belongs to the Wolves…. AGAIN

A year ago the Reeds Spring Boys Track team had their best finish ever, taking third at the State Meet.  This year they have shown no signs of a let down.

Tuesday Night at Hollister they claimed their second straight COC-small Championship.  The Wolves outdistanced second place Bolivar by 49 points.

Korey Robinette and Colter Whitten whent 1-2 in the 100 and 200 and then were joined by Keenan Haynes and Ransom Allphin to take the 4×100 relay.  The two speedsters also got gold in the 4X200, teaming with Robbie Huseman and Troy Froesschle.

Allphin would get gold himself in both hurdle events easily blowing away the field.

The Gold medal performances did not stop there.  Xavier McDaniel took care of the field in both the shot put and the discus.  And, the long jump and triple jump belonged to the Wolves as well.  Kelly Newton, Kyle Modlin, and Devin Hackathorn swept the medals in the Long Jump. And, Modlin and Hackathorn went 1-2 in the Triple.

Hollister would find Gold in the Pole Vault as Cody Franklin claimed that event.

On the Girls side, it was Bolivar taking the title.  Reeds Spring Girls were third.

Reeds Spring claimed gold in the 4X100 relay.  Jewell Dover, Abby Rudd, Anna Wolf, and Kassidy Owens got the win.  And, Tara Sampson was tops in the high jump.

Hollister had a double gold medalist.  Alexa Bekemeier claimed victories in the Discus and the Javelin.

Teams will start getting ready for the District Meet, which will be held May 13th at Carl Junction.