Big Eight still Loaded….

When you look for traditional hard hitting, small school football in SW Missouri you have to look no further than the Big 8.  The rivalries in this league date back generations.  They have produced multiple state champs, and might just add to that streak again this year.

Any talk of small school football has to start with Lamar.  This little school has become a football factory.  Year after year rolling their way to the Dome.  Well, the Dome, may not be the destination everyone is shooting for this year, but Lamar will not only be the likely favorites in the league but the favorites to top Class 2 once again.

Aurora went on a magical journey a year ago.  Their senior laden squad got hot at the right time and won two district games on the road while claiming the District Title.  The Houn Dawgs then took care of Mountain Grove before finally falling in the State Semi-Finals.  They will be hard pressed to repeat that in 2016 as they were hit extremely hard by graduation.

Monett is a team that lives near the top of the Big 8 as of late.  The Cubs have been to two State Semi-Finals in recent years.  Under a new head Continue reading “Big Eight still Loaded….”

SCA Football likely to be a two team race again

Over the next couple of weeks I will take a look at some of the Conference Football races in SW Missouri headed into the upcoming football season.

I am going to start with a look at the South Central Association.  While certainly not an expert on the league, I have become somewhat familiar through match-ups with area teams as well as paying attention because of some friends that have a rooting interest for teams in the league.

Anytime you talk about the SCA you have to talk about Mountain Grove. Continue reading “SCA Football likely to be a two team race again”

Dead Week…

Well it’s “Dead Week”.  One week to catch your breath before the onslaught of the high school fall sports seasons.

Players can have no contact with coaches this week. They cant even use school facilities.   Its MSHSAA’s (Missouri State High School Activities Association) way of mandating a break.  Its a time that players and coaches families could have one last chance at a short vacation trip or maybe just a last bit of relaxation before August drills and the rigor of school and the sports season.

August 1st Football teams will return to the practice field.  They must start in only helmets and shorts but will gradually work their way back up to full gear. (Like they were allowed to wear just last week)  It’s MSHSAA’s way of having an acclimation period.  Now, you can make a valid argument that it makes no sense to allow players to go in full gear for Camps in July but then make them go through the acclimation period in August… But, agree or disagree, its supposed to be about player safety and we can all agree, that is most important.

Volleyball, Softball, and Cross-Country must follow the same guidelines of taking the week off, but on Monday can get after it as well.

So take a breath, relax, and enjoy the week.  But get ready.  The season is just about here……..

Branson Team Camp..

The Annual Athletes U Branson Team Camp is in the Books for the year.  And needless to say, It was a hot one.  As could be expected, I pretty much followed Reeds Spring, but did get a few glimpses of some of the other teams… A few thoughts…

  1.  Saw a lot of good… and saw some things that will need to be worked on.
  2.   Thought the Wolves offensive sync got better as the day went along.
  3.   The Wolves backfield can flat out motor
  4.   Keenan Haynes could be in for a HUGE year from his new fullback spot.
  5.   Offensive line has the ability to be very good… they just have to do it consistently.
  6.   Both QBs showed glimpses as well.  For them its a matter of getting more reps…. The more snaps they get then more comfortable they will get.
  7.  Defense showed some glimpses as well.
  8.  When they get properly aligned, follow assignment and fly to the ball they can be very good.  And, I think we will see that more than not.

Got to see just a little bit of Branson.  Still looks good in the pocket.  Throws a nice ball.  And has receivers that can go get it…

It was good to see Forsyth there competing on the JV level.  The Panthers seemed to have a little success.  Look forward to eventually seeing them on Friday Nights…

The Hollister Tigers were taking part in a camp up at Evangel U in Springfield.

The team that probably impressed me the most was Lutheran North.  They were big and very fast.  They are as athletic team as you will see on most any high school level.  They are going to be a handful this year.  Blair Oaks will be another team to watch.

Overall a very good camp despite the heat.  Teams will now go through a “dead week” where they cant have contact with coaches.  Then its right to August drills.  Jamborees are the 12th and we tee it up for real on Aug 19th….  Folks get ready,, Football season is almost here.

Wolves offense ready to roll
Wolves offense ready to roll
defense battles against Harrison
defense battles against Harrison
Trying to shut the Harrison offense down
Trying to shut the Harrison offense down



An Ozarks Legend to say Goodbye

What is the saying?  All Good things must end?  This Friday will mark the end of a tradition in Ozark Mountain Country.  The Steve and Janet Show will sign off of the final time.

For 22 years Branson area folks have been waking up to Steve Willoughby and Janet Ellis on KRZK.  They have kept us entertained and informed.  They have laughed with us and yes, even cried with us.  They have been on the air during triumph and tragedy in our area and our country.  Branson has seen a lot of changes in the last 2 plus decades.  But, one constant has been Steve and Janet.

Janet was new to radio when she started at the radio station.  She had spent the media portion of her career in television.  And, not always in Continue reading “An Ozarks Legend to say Goodbye”

Tigers in Camp…

Stopped by practice at Hollister for a  few minutes this morning.  It was the first time I have had a chance to see the Tigers in action on their new turf field.

The Tigers have had camp all week in preparation for the season that starts five weeks from tonight.  Coach Jacob Hamon reports that the group has been working hard and have done a nice job of picking up the new offense.  It has not been the greatest of circumstances at Hollister, with the shakeup in duties of his assistants, but He feels that they have adapted well.  (Calvin Thomas was expected to be the Offensive Coordinator, but with his legal issues, Robbie Teaster will fill that role with the help of Mark Elliott. )

The Tigers will have a little more experience on the field this season as they return a big group of players that got a lot of quality playing time last year.  I will have a lot more in depth look at the Tigers in my preview coming in the next few weeks.

Hollister will continue camp next week before ending with a one day Full Contact team camp at Evangel University in Springfield.   The Tigers will take part in their annual Jamboree on Aug 12th and will strap up the helmets and take on Pleasant Hope August 19, in week one of the season.

Hamon directing the defense
Hamon directing the defense
pushing the sleed
pushing the sleed
Hamon final remarks for the day
Hamon final remarks for the day

Camp is underway….

Got to spend this morning at Reeds Spring Football Camp.  It was Day One of camp for the 2016 version of the Wolves.

As expected a lot of familiar faces along with learning some new names.  Well, new names and new numbers.  It only took once of seeing Korey Robinette flash that speed for me to know that #5 was not a new guy.

First group offense looked to be in pretty good form.  JP Gardner was taking snaps as expected.  Will write a full preview later in the pre-season but one thing you will hear time and time again with this backfield is that they have speed to burn.

There will no doubt be some position battles on the defensive side of the ball, but it really looks like they have a good group of talent to pick from.  And, with four linebacker spots open, they will need that depth.

The new field is remarkable.  It does radiate heat.  Hydration is always important, and never more than now.

They were working on the installation of the new scoreboard when I left this morning…. Its going to be quite a site when done.

Less than six weeks until Week One.

Coach Gosch talking with the group.
Coach Gosch talking with the group.

Great New Looks…..

We are just over six weeks away from the opening week of the high school football season.  And it will be a noticeably different look when attending games around the tri-lakes this season.

Both Reeds Spring and Hollister installed Artificial Turf in the off-season.  They join Branson and Forsyth which went to the “fake stuff” a few years ago.  And, what a welcome addition it is for both.. Continue reading “Great New Looks…..”

Bobcats land an Eagle…

College of the Ozarks has announced the signing of Fair Grove graduate Kyle Cavanaugh.

The 6-2 swingman was among the best on the Ozarks last year.  He averaged over 21 points a game last season for Coach Tim Brown and the Eagles.  He was All-Midlakes, All-Ozarks, and All-State as a senior.  Cavanaugh helped lead the Eagles to their first district championship in 14 years.

Should be a nice addition to Coach Steve Shepherds ballclub.

photo courtesy of News-Leader
photo courtesy of News-Leader
photo courtesy of C of O
photo courtesy of C of O

Be Thankful…

Today is the Fourth of July.  Its the day we celebrate America’s Independence.  I urge you to take  a few extra moments today and really think about what the day is all about.

As you have that cookout, or are watching those fireworks, take time to reflect on what it took to make it possible.  Remember the men and women that said “enough”.  Remember the brave soldiers that have fought and continue to fight to preserve that freedom.  Take time to not be Continue reading “Be Thankful…”