Big 8… Where the Little Man is the Unquestioned Big Dog…

Its time to start taking a look at how I see some of the conference in southwest Missouri stack up this football season.

I am going to start with a conference that although very familiar to me, will become a lot more so starting next year- The Big 8.

There are not many other leagues in the state, well, probably none, where a defending state champ is overshadowed by a smaller class school in the same league.  But Lamar and the Big 8 are not your typical school and conference.

The Tigers are the six-time defending Class 2 State Champs and are the odds on favorite to make it seven in a row.  Their double wing offense that features two possible QBs has proven almost impossible for its opponents to stop.  Add one of the best defenses in SW Missouri and you gets a small idea of what has fueled this dynasty.  With a load of experience back its the easy choice to predict them in the top spot of the league again this year.

If there is a team that can contend with the Tigers it might just be Cassville.  The Wildcats were improved last year and will be counting on the experience of the returning starters to get them back to top spot that they once occupied.

From here it gets a little tougher to predict.  I really like what Tom Cox is once again building in Mount Vernon.  He may have lost QB-Garrett Hadlock and WR- Jarrett Massie to graduation but Andrew Montemayor and company are ready to pick up where they left off.  They faced a tough schedule right out of the gate, facing Reeds Spring, Springfield Catholic, and Monett the first three weeks.

All Monett did last year was win the Class 3 State Championship.  And despite losing a ton of production there is no way I could justify not picking them in the top half of the league.  Returning starters may be small in numbers but being part of “winning it all” can wear off on a team and the Cubs will probably be able to take advantage of that.  Many overlooked them last year and look what the end result was.

I am going to go with Seneca in the next spot.  This is a team that I really look to start to bounce back.  The Indians have a great football tradition and after playing  a lot of young kids last year are probably ready to take advantage of all the experience those players have gained.

Aurora fills the next spot, in my opinion.  The Houn Dawgs are just a couple years away from a state semi-final appearance but had rough go of it last year.  Its a program that will bounce back but it might take another year.

That leaves McDonald County and East Newton.  Although the Patriots showed a little life last year, these are a couple of programs that have been searching for answers in recent years.  They both have new coaches at the helm.  For the simple fact of not knowing any better I will give the slight edge to the bigger school and go with the Mustangs in the seven spot.


So my absolutely worthless prediction looks like this…

  1. Lamar
  2. Cassville
  3. Mount Vernon
  4. Monett
  5. Seneca
  6. Aurora
  7. McDonald County
  8. East Newton

This will be the last Big 8 Champ with the conference as we know it.  Next year Nevada, Reeds Spring, Hollister, Springfield Catholic, Logan-Rogersville, and Marshfield join the league and they will split into two divisions.  Mount Vernon and Aurora will leave the other six schools and join the former COC-small members in the east while the remained members are joined by Nevada in the west.

Camp wraps up and we are four weeks away

The IMPACT Camp hosted by Branson came to an end on Thursday as the football season draws even closer.

Eighteen teams opened the Camp on Thursday including Branson, Reeds Spring, and Forsyth. (Hollister took part in a camp at Evangel in Springfield).  Through the heat and humidity the teams got to see live action in a variety of situations including straight Scrimmages, Goal Line Challenge, First and Third Down Challenges, as well as other live action opportunities.  It was a chance to get an early look at your team going head to head with other schools running a number of different styles of offense and defense.

Although the heat and other factors took its toll by the end of Thursday and a number of teams decided to cut the camp short, the event was again a great success.

It was a great chance to get a look at a number of teams, some of their strengths, and some things they all need to work on.

Teams will now enter a “dead” period where they cant practice or have any meaningful sports contact with coaches.  Fall practices get underway bright and early on Monday July 31st.

As far as football goes, Jamborees will be held on Friday Night, Aug 11th with the regular season kicking off Aug 18th.

Reeds Spring and Branson butting heads
Wolves offense ready to roll
Wolves looking to stop Eldon

Making My Broadcast Schedule..

As I sit here today looking forward to the sports year to come I am also taking time to work on my broadcast schedule for the Fall.

What you may not realize is that there is a lot more that goes into it than simply what games I want to do and don’t want to do.  I will admit that the Fall is the easiest of the three school sports seasons to schedule.

Friday Nights I am with the Wolves doing my radio thing.  Gary Jones will be joining me again on 100.1 and

Thursdays I am with Reeds Spring for their walk through and working on the pregame show.  Although doing a game with a later start is not out of the possibility (ie Branson Soccer)

For the most part, that leaves Saturday through Wednesday.  For broadcast purposes on this site I have to look at Reeds Spring Softball along with Branson Softball and Branson Soccer.

Normally the first thing I would look for is the Reeds Spring vs Branson softball game.  It would be a must broadcast.  But, they are not scheduled to play this year. However, they could still play in the Springfield Tournament, they did last year, so I have to keep that in mind.  Next, you look for the conference rivalry games.  And one of the first things I noticed is that Reeds Spring-Bolivar and Branson-Nixa are on the same day.  Obviously I can’t be at both places at the same time so I will have to choose between the two. By the way,  Branson Soccer will play a pretty good Greenwood team that night as well.   Also, I have to leave room near the end of the season so that I can be flexible.  Why if one of the teams is in a position to win a conference title.  That’s the kind of thing you would like to be there for.

This gets even tougher in the winter and spring when there are a lot more factors that come into play.

So, if there is a big game or match that I might miss often times there is a pretty good reason as to why.

When all is said an done I will do approx 35-40 games this fall alone.  I guess when I consider that, all the time I spend preparing for football broadcasts each week, not to mention running an insurance agency during day, I can understand why my family waves goodbye to me every August.  And why they all deserve a ton of credit for allowing me to do what I love to do.

The sounds of whistles in the air…

The days until Fall Sports get started are counting down.  For most Football Programs today marks the start of Camp.

At Reeds Spring, it won’t be long until Justin Miller, Asa Baker, and Company are paving the way for Seth Stamps to scamper to the endzone.  It wont be long before Ben Moler, Logen Plumb, and the guys are hammering folks.

It wont be long until Hollister’s Jackson Bekemeier is slinging it around the yard.  And we see if Coach Hamon’s defense is ready to take the next step.

It wont be long until we get to see Ryan Still and all his targets debut under new leadership at Branson.

And, perhaps the place with as much anticipation as any is Forsyth, where it wont be long until Varsity Football is being played by the Panthers.

But its not just football.

Before long, Branson’s Gracie Jeager will be making life miserable for opposing pitchers.

Before long Scott Walker’s Lady Wolves will be pushing towards leaving the COC with a championship in hand.

And, before long Branson Pirate Soccer will be looking to make its way in a tough conference and district.

Volleyball will be different this season with new head coaches at: Branson, Hollister, Reeds Spring, and Blue Eye.

You get the idea.  And I have yet to mention Girl’s Tennis and Golf.

Less than six weeks until the first real contests in these sports.  Where has the summer gone?

Ready or not, Get Ready.  Its almost time.