KOMU.com http://www.komu.com/ KOMU.com FNF Schools FNF Schools en-us Copyright 2016, KOMU.com. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Wed, 27 Jul 2016 07:07:58 GMT Synapse CMS 10 KOMU.com http://www.komu.com/ 144 25 NFL player Sylvester Williams gives back to Jefferson City http://www.komu.com/news/nfl-player-sylvester-williams-gives-back-to-jefferson-city/ http://www.komu.com/news/nfl-player-sylvester-williams-gives-back-to-jefferson-city/ FNF Schools Sun, 19 Jun 2016 12:23:29 PM Mark Kim, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter NFL player Sylvester Williams gives back to Jefferson City

JEFFERSON CITY - Sylvester Williams has accomplished a lot as a football player.

The Denver Broncos starting nose tackle wrapped up his third NFL season with a Super Bowl triumph as his team beat the Carolina Panthers, 24-10.

"The feeling of winning is unbelievable because I've accomplished the ultimate goal at the highest level in the sport that I play," Williams said.

For Jefferson City head football coach Ted LePage, watching the defensive lineman he once coached play in Super Bowl 50 was a surreal moment.

"Here’s a dude chasing Cam Newton and he was just in our high school a few years ago. So it was exciting the whole time," LePage said. 

Williams suited up on Friday nights for LePage for one year, in 2008. Because of that season, Williams wanted to give back to the community that gave him an opportunity to pursue his dream. 

"This is some of my roots and I’ve been able to be here and be blessed to be a part of some of the programs here," Williams said. 

USA Football helped Williams organize a football camp for kids in Jefferson City on June 18. LePage, Arkansas running back Kody Walker and Lincoln University receiver Khiry Draine were among the staff members that returned to Adkins Stadium to help Williams run the event. 

A former teammate of Williams, Walker couldn't pass up the opportunity to help his friend out.

"When I heard about it, I had to come back and help. I love, especially, what he’s doing for the community, for these kids," Walker said.

LePage describes watching his former players return to help out the Jefferson City community as "humbling." 

"It is a very big honor to think that many guys were affected by this program and then want to come back and give back to these young people," LePage said. 

Williams says the event's success surpassed his expectations. 

"I think we had 115 T-shirts and ran out so it was a blessing. I didn’t expect this many kids so to have this many kids show out; that was exciting," Williams said. 

Williams won't be in Jefferson City for much longer as he continues to prepare for the 2016 NFL season, but his hometown will continue to motivate him to work as hard as he can. 

"The support I’ve received, the love I got back here and all of the fans I got back here definitely motivates me and pushes me that much harder every day so I got a tremendous amount of support right here and it means everything," Williams said. 

Williams said he plans on bringing the camp back to Jefferson City next year. 

Permalink| Comments

Former Mizzou standout A.J. Ofodile to join Barry Odom's staff http://www.komu.com/news/former-mizzou-standout-a-j-ofodile-to-join-barry-odom-s-staff/ http://www.komu.com/news/former-mizzou-standout-a-j-ofodile-to-join-barry-odom-s-staff/ FNF Schools Mon, 9 May 2016 5:12:23 PM Joseph Gjata, KOMU 8 Sports Digital Producer Former Mizzou standout A.J. Ofodile to join Barry Odom's staff

COLUMBIA - Former Mizzou and NFL tight end A.J. Ofodile is the newest addition to Barry Odom's new look Mizzou Football staff. The team announced Monday that Ofodile will serve as the program's new Director of Recruiting Operations.

Ofodile has been the head coach at Rock Bridge High School since 2003 and took the Bruins to the state championship game for the first time since 1993. The coaching link between Odom and Ofodile dates back to 2001 when Ofodile served as Odom's offensive coordinator at Rock Bridge.

"I'm very excited to have A.J. joining our staff. He will be a huge part of our entire program, and specifically our recruiting efforts," Odom said. "I have tremendous respect for A.J. as a person and as a mentor and I'm excited for how he will represent our program and university."

Ofodile earned a first-team All-Big Eight selection in 1993 for the Tigers, as well as being a three-year letter winner from 1991-93. The Detroit, Michigan, native finished his Mizzou career with 73 receptions for 851 yards and a half dozen touchdowns. 

"I've been very set about if I was to ever make the move to the college level, that who I was going to be working for was the most important aspect, and it couldn't be a better situation for me at Mizzou with Coach Odom," Ofodile said. "I have a world of respect for him, he's a first-class person and I believe his vision and the work that he and his staff are doing to build something special. Naturally, it's very special for me to be coming back to my alma mater."

After getting drafted in the fifth round of the 1994 NFL Draft by Buffalo, his professional career only lasted six years with the Bills, Steelers and Ravens. However, Ofodile's knowledge of Missouri high school football will be an asset for the Tigers' recruiting division in need of a bounce-back season this fall.

Currently, Ofodile's son, Alex, plays football at the University of Oregon.

Permalink| Comments

So. Boone's Bossert shoots for honor on, off court http://www.komu.com/news/so-boone-s-bossert-shoots-for-honor-on-off-court/ http://www.komu.com/news/so-boone-s-bossert-shoots-for-honor-on-off-court/ FNF Schools Sun, 21 Feb 2016 8:24:27 PM Luke Slabaugh, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter So. Boone's Bossert shoots for honor on, off court

ASHLAND - Dane Bossert plays for a stacked Southern Boone basketball squad. The Eagles varsity team boasts talent from seniors down to freshmen.

Oftentimes, the senior center has to compete for playing time.  

Off the court, Bossert is also in a neck and neck competition - in this case, for Southern Boone's valedictorian award. 

"I love competition," Bossert said. "Competition just drives me to do everything I do. So competing for valedictorian was a no-brainer for me, because I love to work hard in the classroom and on the court." 

Coach Andy Jahnsen has watched Bossert develop over the last four years. The two share a love of football. Bossert played quarterback for the Eagles in the fall; Jahnsen is the school's defensive coordinator.  

"He's one of those kids you dream of - a great student in school, a three-sport athlete," Jahnsen said. "He does just a tremendous job of being a leader. He's just one of those kids where it seems kids just want to follow him. He does all the right things: works hard in practice, he does all the right things in school, community leader. I'm proud of what he's done in his high school career."

Jahsen said in the time he's worked for Southern Boone, he hasn't seen a valedictorian-athlete hybrid, or anyone with quite the determination Bossert has.

"He's very witty. He's always got a comeback for you," Jahnsen said. "I think he's just truly a hard worker. He's been blessed to have that ability, to really put in the time to do the things that are necessary to be successful. I think that's really on him. For him to be able to take ownership in that, again, I think it's something you can't teach. It's something you have to have. And Dane's done a good job of pushing the right buttons to get where he needs to be."

Bossert's brain and work ethic play a crucial role on the team, according to his coaches and teammates.

"We run a lot of plays, and he has the ability to learn those, pick them up quickly," Jahnsen said. "He does a great job of helping the other guys out on the team."

It's what made Bossert a mainstay on Eagles athletic teams throughout high school, from football to basketball to track and field. 

"It just helps you to make smart decisions," Bossert said. "You think analytically, you know 'this guy's hot on the other team' or this guy on your team is hot so you know to give them the ball...or how to stop them. You remember plays better. The coach expects that from you, and you help other people on the court with their plays."

Jahsen enjoyed the cerebral approach Bossert brought to the football field.

"You know, just having someone around who can see it," Jahsen said. "Football-wise, being able to read schemes and see coverages, as a quarterback, that's by far one of the most difficult positions to play at any level. So I think he's really proven he can handle that."

Bossert said he's unsure about his future playing sports. He loves track and field the most, and he stressed patience in seeing how this spring plays out for him. He might want to study athletic performance in college - which would make sense, considering AP Biology is one of his favorite classes.  

Likewise, Bossert's biology teacher is a fan of him. Eric Hayes praised his "very consistent" pupil, saying students like Bossert remind him of why he takes pride in his job.     

"It's great to actually push the kids who I know can do fantastic," Hayes said. "Dane being at the top of his class, to kind of push him in that direction and him responding positively is really fun for me." 

A sports fan himself, Hayes said the potential impact of a valedictorian-athlete combination would be reassuring to him. 

"I think it just means great things for our school, it means you can be a student athlete in the right way," Hayes said "You can play your sport but also take your academics seriously. And he's a great role model for that as far as actually following through and taking that seriously." 

If the school year were to end Tuesday, Bossert would just miss his goal, and likely end up the salutatorian. He might still have hope if some of his classmates earn A-'s instead of A's in their classes.

"I hope that I can just maintain my high grades and stay motivated," Bossert said. "You know, it's your senior year, you kind of lose motivation. So work hard in the classroom and hope that I can finish it strong."

With Southern Boone hosting the district tournament starting Tuesday evening, the Eagles similarly hope for a strong finish to their season.

Permalink| Comments

Missouri High School All-State Football Teams Announced http://www.komu.com/news/missouri-high-school-all-state-football-teams-announced/ http://www.komu.com/news/missouri-high-school-all-state-football-teams-announced/ FNF Schools Fri, 4 Dec 2015 11:42:49 PM Mark Kim, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter Missouri High School All-State Football Teams Announced

The Missouri Football Coaches Association announced their High School All-State Football teams on Friday night. Here are the Mid-Missouri football players who were selected to All-State Teams: 

Class 1 All-State 1st Team

  • Jared Best - Marceline
  • DJ Gerhart - Marceline
  • Jordan Elam - Marceline

Class 1 All-State 2nd Team

  • Dalton Wright - Westran
  • Ben Baer - Westran
  • Laine Forrest - Paris
  • Briar Hancock - Paris

Class 1 All-State 3rd Team

  • Duane Avila - Marceline
  • Brady Stallo - Marceline


Class 2 All-State 1st Team

  • Will Tindal - Tolton
  • Carson McCarty (KR) - Tolton
  • Sam Speichinger - Brookfield

Class 2 All-State 3rd Team

  • Carson McCarty (WR) - Tolton
  • Patrick Flesch - Tolton

Class 3 All-State 1st Team


  • Jordan Hair - Blair Oaks
  • CJ Closser - Blair Oaks
  • Chance Cumpton - Blair Oaks
  • Adam Schell - Blair Oaks
  • Sam Hasekamp - Centralia

Class 3 All-State 2nd Team

  • Travis Dean - Fulton
  • Clayton Bristol - Fulton
  • Kobe Kaminski - Fulton
  • Graham Baucom - Eldon
  • Jason Edwards - School of the Osage

Class 3 All-State 3rd Team

  • Levi Shinn (RB and K) - Eldon
  • Ryan Lincoln - Eldon
  • Carter Kinkead - Centralia
  • Tyler Polk - Boonville
  • Owen Luebbering - Blair Oaks
  • Cody Alexander - Blair Oaks
  • Russell Williams - School of the Osage


Class 4 All-State 1st Team

  • Karsten Ekern - Mexico

Class 4 All-State 2nd Team

  • Jaylen Lee - Mexico

Class 4 All-State 3rd Team

  • Connor Templeton - Mexico
  • Cole Johnson - Helias
  • Dylan Gaines - Helias
  • Zach Maupin (P) - Marshall


Class 5 All-State 1st Team

  • Jaevon McQuitty - Battle
  • Jerrion Nelson - Battle

Class 5 All-State 2nd Team

  • Brevinn Tyler - Battle
  • Darion Hall - Battle
  • Parker Pitts - Camdenton

Class 5 All-State 3rd Team

  • Jack Marsh - Smith-Cotton
  • Jacob McFail - Smith-Cotton


Class 6 All-State 1st Team

  • Tekoah Sage - Jefferson City
  • Hayden Johnson - Rock Bridge

Class 6 All-State 2nd Team

  • Daniel Ellinger - Jefferson City
  • Charles Nelson - Jefferson City
  • Jackson Bohlken - Jefferson City
  • Carter Nicoli (ATH) - Hickman
  • Jake Floyd - Rock Bridge


Permalink| Comments

Recruits, former MU athletes give different takes on protests http://www.komu.com/news/recruits-former-mu-athletes-give-different-takes-on-protests/ http://www.komu.com/news/recruits-former-mu-athletes-give-different-takes-on-protests/ FNF Schools Sat, 21 Nov 2015 5:53:55 PM Luke Slabaugh, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter Recruits, former MU athletes give different takes on protests

COLUMBIA - The dust is settling on one of the most eventful Novembers mid-Missouri has seen.

Implications are abound for MU in its recruiting of students and athletes in the wake of the events on campus that garnered it national attention - in particular, the racial incidents preceding the resignation of Tim Wolfe and other system administrators; the football team's protest; the hunger strike of Jonathan Butler and its fallout; and the perceived terrorist threats to minority students on campus. 

KOMU 8 reached out to several students from Columbia high schools and sat down with several from Battle High School - the only team whose football program was still in the state playoffs while the aforementioned events transpired at MU.

Tyler Gray will attend MU as a student in the fall of 2016. The cornerback played only one season for the Battle Spartans, his senior year, and doesn't intend on playing sports in college. He used to dream of playing college basketball. He said the perceived racist climate at his future school threw him off guard.

"It really shocked me," Gray said. "Because I felt like the students at Mizzou were all like a good community, and [the protests] kind of showed two different sides of Mizzou...and then it turned into students versus students. I didn't really like that."

Jaevon McQuitty, 16, is going through the college recruiting process currently. The four star wide receiver has many high profile schools watching him - Missouri, Alabama, Nebraska, and Cincinnati, among many others. 

"The players love Mizzou for a reason," McQuitty said. "I don't think [the recruits] would change." 

McQuitty's father, James McQuitty, said he hasn't felt adversity in his experience living in Fayette and Columbia. The elder McQuitty said he didn't follow the protests and events on MU's campus closely.

"I would like to know if things aren't going as they should be," McQuitty said. "As a parent, I would want to know, because he is my son and his safety is my major concern, as well as his education." 

James McQuitty said he trusted his son's discretion in choosing a school.

"I think it comes down to what the kid wants, maybe, say, as far as what Jaevon wants as far as his education, where he would want to play, and believing in the coaches and the team," McQuitty said. "Things are going to happen out there. It's his decision.

"I don't really have a concern about [race relations], to be honest with you."

McQuitty's lifelong teammate also followed the situation on campus with a deeper concern. Brevinn Tyler, Battle's junior quarterback, felt deeply concerned about the events on MU's campus. His father, works on campus and his sister is a student. Both family members stayed home after the Yik Yak threats left campus almost deserted.

Tyler said as a recruit, he would want a prospective school to assure him he would be in a safe environment. 

"I think I'd want them to tell me it's been taken care of," Tyler said. "And that it was actually successful in the way that they handled it. I think being a recruit there could actually help, to see the football team has that much power around campus and that they're willing to put themselves in a situation that's not just football."

Tyler said he could understand why Sci Martin, a recruit from Louisiana, might reconsider his options while the university is mired in reports of racism and an uneasy campus climate. 

"You wouldn't want to go there knowing this stuff might be happening," Tyler said. "Hopefully it will resolve itself. It might not take a week like some want it to be. It might be a couple years to where we can kind of lose that reputation. That's what I think really hurts the university and just Columbia in general, is the reputation we're going to have now. It's really sad to see."    

The perspective doesn't only come from Battle. Bryce Banks, a senior at Rock Bridge high school, intends to play college football. The defensive back knows for certain he will not play for Missouri after breaking his commitment this summer. Banks said he doesn't consider the "portion of people who are racist" to represent MU's student body. He said ultimately the First Amendment allows students to say controversial things. Banks said as a recruit, he wouldn't let what happened on MU's campus impact his decision.

 "You can't let it play too much into your decision," Banks said. "Because there is going to be racism anywhere you go, to be honest. Sometimes it's up front in your face, or behind your back. You just have to find a positive way to handle it when you encounter the situation."

Rob Stewart, Jr. walked on for the Missouri men's basketball team in the 2002-2003 season. Stewart had lived in Columbia his entire life, attended Hickman High School, and was pursuing a Master's degree in education during his tenure as an athlete. His timeline intertwined with the last real big controversy involving a UM system president - only that time it had involved basketball coach Quin Snyder and athlete Ricky Clemons.

Stewart said he and several former athletes he knows consider the way college athletics is run to be systemically racist. He pointed to the way universities make money off contracts with retailers (e.g. Nike) or the way fans purchase video games in NCAA football, basketball, and baseball. The former walk-on also said he didn't like how fans would make money by collecting his autograph and selling it on eBay as part of a full set of signatures, oftentimes for great sums of money.

"There should be some compensation for players who are giving universities millions [of dollars] when they're not getting anything," Stewart said. "It mainly takes advantage of minorities."

Stewart, now an associate pastor at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, was on campus for the hunger strike and protests, and in the wake of former UM President Tim Wolfe and former Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin's resignations. Stewart said he saw people of all races both in support of and against the protests leading to the officials' resignations.

"It's not always an every white person versus every black person and vice-versa," Stewart said. "And I wish people would take note of that even more."

The associate pastor also ran for First Ward city councilman in February. He said several community members have reached out to him asking for perspective in the wake of the events on MU's campus.

"I've had white people ask me, 'Isn't this a surprise? Aren't you surprised by this?' And I say, no, I'm not surprised, because minorities have been going through things like this for years," Stewart said. "But they've been on the edge. And this particular event, in this moment, in this place, pushed minorities over the edge to respond in this way. I think to people who the system benefits, this is a surprise because they've lived so comfortably...they don't see the other side of what the system does.

"I've seen it, I've felt it, I've experienced it here and there, and it's not a surprise." 

Thomson Omboga befriended Stewart while the two attended MU. Omboga played all four years as a wide receiver for the Tiger football team. Omboga said he could understand Stewart's view of how college athletics is run as systemically racist, but he didn't agree with it. He also noted how easier it was for him to get a job out of college rather than a lesser-known athlete like Stewart.

"Someone who just followed football would be like, 'Oh! That's great,'" Omboga said on applying for jobs. "And I would get recognition and they'd ease me into it. Versus someone who didn't play a lot or maybe was a walk-on who had to take a different approach. It works both ways." 

When asked what prospective recruits could expect based on his experience at MU, Omboga said he's felt more adversity now than when he was a student. He said he feels it from both blacks and whites alike. His daughter is bi-racial. 

"You get a lot of black athletes dating white girls," Omboga said. "That was a big deal. And that went both ways: black people saying 'Why are you dating a white girl?' or, the white people would say 'You only date white people. Leave our women alone.' Stuff like that. But as far as new things - like the swastika stuff - I couldn't say I dealt with any of that kind of stuff."

Omboga compared the football team's handling of the Jonathan Butler hunger strike to its unanimous support for Michael Sam, when the team's defensive end came out as homosexual. Omboga said MU has garnered too much praise from different outlets to suffer damage to its recruitment.

"If I'm Pinkel, I got to go out there in the media and remind people of all the positive things and not a few racial incidents," Omboga said. 

Pinkel announced his retirement only a week after the football team's protest due to his battle against lymphoma. A new coach will assume the roles and responsibilities of recruiting and welcoming players into the program. KOMU 8 reached out to Mizzou Athletics for a comment on how the institution wants its coaches to address the climate on campus to recruits. The athletic department had not responded as of Thursday. However, Pinkel did state his reasoning behind supporting the football team's boycott at his joint news conference with Mack Rhoades on Nov. 9.

"I got involved because I support my players, and a young man's life was on the line," Pinkel told reporters at the news conference. "I did the right thing, and I would do it again."

Both Omboga and Stewart said if they had had scholarships to other schools with reports of racial incidents coming from campus, they likely wouldn't choose MU. They also said the campus climate must have changed in some way for an activist like Butler to go on a hunger strike and risk his life.

Tyler Gray said he will remain faithful to his decision to attend MU. He said while he hasn't experienced racism firsthand at school, he won't let reports of it on the university's campus impact his decision.

"I just want to go to Mizzou," Gray said. "I've always wanted to go to Mizzou, I'm still going to Mizzou, and I just want to go there and get my education."

16-year-old McQuitty said he wants to choose a school whose fans and staff lend support to its players, like he thinks Pinkel did. 

"I want to go somewhere they will love us no matter what, and support us no matter what," McQuitty said. "Just people who will honestly care about me and my decisions. I think I have that school in mind."

Permalink| Comments

FNF : Centralia leans on defense for regular season finale http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-centralia-leans-on-defense-for-regular-season-finale/ http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-centralia-leans-on-defense-for-regular-season-finale/ FNF Schools Fri, 16 Oct 2015 12:40:53 PM Luke Slabaugh, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter FNF : Centralia leans on defense for regular season finale

CENTRALIA - The saying goes, "Defense wins championships."

The Centralia Panthers hold a similar mantra. The defensive line and secondary have played a pivotal role in Centralia's turnaround season. 

"Like the coaches always say, that's where it all starts," senior tackle Chase Harper said. "You have to dominate the line of scrimmage."

Erle Bennett is one of those coaches who has Harper's attention. Bennett has led the team for 26 years. 

"We know we can rely on the defense," Bennett said. "We've been very good against the run and very able to put a lot of pressure on quarterbacks. We've been extremely consistent defensively and gotten better as the season's gone. We've been pretty physical on that side of the ball as well." 

The Panthers' 2014 campaign was a forgettable one: a 4-7 record overall, with only one win coming in their last seven games.

 "I guess Centralia's not really known for a losing record," junior defensive end Sam Hasekamp said. "Centralia and football go together like peas and carrots." 

 Hasekamp said the poor showing left a bad taste in many returning players' mouths. It inspired the team to take a different approach in 2015.

 "We made it a goal, with weightlifting and everything, we just decided to be better than we were last year," Hasekamp said. "Honestly, I'm shocked at how far we've gotten this year. I didn't think we were going to be this good. I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season can show."

Holding a 7-1 record heading into Week 9, Centralia has drawn honors. The Columbia Daily Tribune ranks the team 10th in its class. The most difficult wins have been among some of the players' favorite moments. For example, the team eked by Brookfield, 13-12 in Week 4. The Panthers also had a nail-biter victory, 7-6, two weeks ago against Palmyra.

 "When our backs are against the wall, we come up big," senior center Ryan Lincoln said. "We play fast and physical. A lot of teams try to run the ball on us and we don't usually give up much in the run game, just 'cuz we're there and we get them on the ground. We defend the pass pretty well, too. It's the team tackling there and getting [the opponent] to the ground." 

Bennett said it's not the individual talent on the team that sticks out, but rather the attitude his players bring to the field. He said the defensive line plays a smart form of football.

"They know sometimes their job is not to make the tackle, it's to make the play," Bennett said. "Keep the guys off the linebackers. They've been very disciplined all year."

Attitude has translated into a tangible, on-the-field advantage on both sides of the ball. Some players said they feed off the energy the Centralia crowd has given them this year.

"Our attitude, I think we just play like we're out there trying to make a statement," senior defensive end Logan Ross said. "Whenever we go out there we tell ourselves, 'Alright guys, we got four downs, let's get it done and over with' so we can get our offense back on the field." 

Bennett tries to mix and match several different line combinations, making sure his players are rested and he gets the most out of them. 

"We've got a lot of competitions for those defensive line spots, and they're fresh all the time, which is rare in high school where you can play that many kids," Bennett said. 

The Panthers have allowed 97 points to opposing teams this year. They've scored three times that number. Consistency will be paramount when postseason play begins next week.

"If we could get the offense rolling like it could be - we struggled a bit against Palmyra but we still won in a one-score ballgame," Lincoln said. "If we could hold people like we did [at Palmyra], and start scoring more, I think we could go a ways."

An impressive season means hopes are high for fans and players alike.

"Oh, I think we're set," Harper said. "I think we can take it all the way." 

The Macon Tigers will visit Centralia for a 7 p.m. kickoff Friday. Macon owns a 4-4 record overall (4-3 in conference play). Led by Coach Pete Claas, the team is coming off a commanding 49-28 win against Louisiana High School. The Tigers have scored at least 20 points in every game this season.

Macon defeated Centralia when the two teams met in 2014, 42-35.

Permalink| Comments

FNF : Travis Dean and Fulton sprint into Week 7 http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-travis-dean-and-fulton-sprint-into-week-7/ http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-travis-dean-and-fulton-sprint-into-week-7/ FNF Schools Thu, 1 Oct 2015 6:35:33 PM Luke Slabaugh, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter FNF : Travis Dean and Fulton sprint into Week 7

FULTON - Travis Dean was at a loss for words for how his senior season felt.

Then again, Dean doesn't talk about himself much. He's not one to sing his own praises.

"I've always been like that," Dean said.

2015 marks the third straight season Dean has owned the starting running back job for the Fulton Hornets. He's literally hit the ground running, rushing for over 1000 yards and scoring 15 total touchdowns, 13 of which came on the ground. All this in six games.

"It would've meant a lot more last year," Dean said, traces of a grin on his face. "Sophomore year I got 900-something yards, or close to it. And I got to [1000] last year. But to get to it this year, this fast, it means a lot."

 Fulton's coaching staff and several of Dean's teammates commend him on not only his style of play, but his humility on and off the field. Dean said it's easy not to get too carried away after one good play.

 "I don't ever really get mad. Just play."

 The Hornets own a 5-1 record, coming off a loss last week to Hannibal. Fulton football coach Pat Kelley said that historically, the Hornets have fared well when they have talented athletes in the backfield. He also said Dean has impressed him with how he's handled success this season.  

"He's a kid I've never seen celebrate a touchdown," Kelley said. "He'll get to the endzone, he flips the ball to the referee. Now kids may come mob him or whatever and that's about it. He'll come to the sideline, and we'll say 'Nice run' and he'll just say 'Thanks.' He doesn't make a big deal out of it, he's very soft-spoken. For a kid who's had the success he's had, he carries it very well."

Dean runs track for Fulton as well. Off the field, he's an avid follower of the Dallas Cowboys. Dean's father has been a fan his whole life, and makes sure he and Travis go to at least one game every year. Dean said he models his game after Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant. Has Dean ever thought about playing wide receiver like his role model Bryant?

"Wherever they want to put me," Dean said pensively. "That's where I go."

 The Hornets take on a tough opponent Friday in the Boonville Pirates (2-4) at Robert E. Fisher, Jr. Stadium. New leadership at the helm in the form of Barry Blank has drawn very positive reviews from the Boonville players and community. Kelley said he always anticipates a close game with the rival school, and this year's opponent is much better than its record. Dean's expectations for the game, on the other hand, are much more simple.

 "Win," Dean said. "I'm ready to get a win. Go out there and try your hardest. If you try your hardest, you win."

Dean has a supporter in Darren Masek, Fulton's offensive coordinator. (Darren's son, Devin Masek, is the team's quarterback.) He said the team greatly benefits from Dean's dynamic running game.

 "Travis' abilities allow us to do several different things," Masek said. "Obviously, he's a very special athelte. He really opens up the passing game. But more importantly it puts a lot of stress on the defense. They have to game-plan around him. Our offensive line this year has done an outstanding job blocking, but at times, Travis doesn't need a whole lot of blocks. He's very elusive and very explosive at the same time.

 "His impact - you can't measure it. He does a lot of things offensively you can't duplicate with other people. He's someone we count on a whole lot."

The running back said it's been a work in progress getting to the level of play he's showing in 2015.

"[The coaching staff] taught me a lot, definitely," Dean said. "They taught me how to do things the right way, and how to go fast. It's been a lot of help."

In addition to a positive attitude and approach to the game, Dean brings the same mentality to every down he plays - whether he's third and long, or at the goal line.

"Positive yards, I try to get positive yards," Dean said. "I try to help out the team win any way I can. Well, 20 yards is better than 2 yards. It helps the team more, so I like that better." 

"His vision - the way he sees a hole - his quickness, those kinds of things are the intangibles that you can't coach but you want a kid to have," Kelley said. "He does such a good job of moving in the hole and reading blocks. And then, once he gets out there, he's got great speed."

When asked if Dean, who projects to run for close to 2000 yards this season, could stay healthy in the playoff stretch, Masek said, "We're hoping so." Masek said plus character and work ethic would help allow Dean to carry the load. 

"When he gets on the field, he's a warrior," Masek said. "He runs hard and he's very aggressive. When he's off the field, he's a very mild-mannered, polite young man."

Kelley said he hopes Dean plays football in college, saying his player's character would help him no matter what he decides to do in life.

"He's going to be succesful in whatever he does," Kelley said.


Boonville at Fulton is KOMU 8 Sport's Game of the Week for Friday Night Fever. Follow the live blog on KOMU.com for up-to-the-minute photos, highlights, and more. Interact with us on Twitter @komusports and on Snapchat, KOMU_FNF. Full highlights and scores of all games will air during KOMU 8 News at 10.

Permalink| Comments

Hickman football sees future in Thompson http://www.komu.com/news/hickman-football-sees-future-in-thompson/ http://www.komu.com/news/hickman-football-sees-future-in-thompson/ FNF Schools Thu, 17 Sep 2015 4:23:50 PM Luke Slabaugh, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter Hickman football sees future in Thompson

COLUMBIA - Arnel Monroe looks at his football team, and the coach recognizes the Kewpies have a different look than most years. The Hickman football team has 72 players. 14 of them own a driver's license.

"We're a young football team and we're building for the future," Monroe said. "We know that and we make no excuses with that. We are what we are and we have what we have."

Monroe could blame the Kewpies' 0-4 record on the youth and inexperience of the team, but he doesn't. Instead, he looks to the future, envisioning what his team will look like assuming the core he's built tays on the team. Specifically, Bohannon Thompson.

Thompson, 15, is a sophomore defensive tackle and fullback. Thompson is built like an ox, focusing intently on tackling drills while carrying a laid-back personality with his friends on the football field. He may be one of the first players in Hickman history to play all four seasons on the varsity squad. The young was a reserve on the team last year and has started games this season. Thompson said he wants to cement his presence on the defensive line through his senior year.

"I'm naturally a defensive player," Thompson said. "I'm more like a 'go out, attack, go get the running back or quarterback, go get the ball' type of player."

Monroe said he expects Thompson to play in Friday's game against Providence, saying Thompson has done an "admirable job" in game action.

"Bohannon is a strong, young player," Monroe said. "He's got a quick first step. He's what we're the building defense on in the future. He's a sophomore but he plays older. He's got a will to win."

Thompson smiled when asked how it felt to have a vote of confidence from his coach.

"It feels good to know I'm of importance to the team and a lot of the young people on this team are important, instead of just being more about the older guys and the seniors," Thompson said. "[The coaches] make it important to make sure that everyone's important."

Thompson said there will be a learning curve and a few bumps in the road for his team. However, he said the team's spirits have not diminished due early season struggles. 

"Our morale's been pretty good overall so far," Thompson said. "You know, everybody has their little mss ups, the one time they might miss a tackle, or something like that. But other than that, people just fix their mistakes, fix it and do what they're supposed to do.

"A lot of young people on this team are a lot more skilled than you would think they are, with the age difference and experience and everything else. And a lot of them pick it up really quick, they can play with the other guys and get along really well."

Thompson said school is a priority, and he focuses on studying when he's not on the gridiron. He also said he concentrates on staying in shape and challenging himself every day. Thompson said he recognizes he'll have to take on a leadership role with the team one day.

"That's just playing football," Thompson said. "Trying to get the team to be more positive, and everything else, and try to get the defense to make their tackles. Make sure to stay on top of everything, keep a good game tempo."

It may be this year, or a year or two down the line, but Bohannon Thompson will be ready for the future.

Home Cooking in Providence Bowl

Hickman will host the crosstown rival Rock Bridge Bruins in the Providence Bowl. Hickman owns the series with a 10-9 record. Rock Bridge has won the last two games.

When Monroe was growing up, Hickman vs. Jefferson City was the big rivalry. Nonetheless, he said he's excited to see what Rock Bridge will bring to the field Friday. Monroe called Rock Bridge an "explosive team."

"We're going to have to get a hold of Mr. [Nick] Collins, because a really good back. And Mr. [Karson] Ringdahl has stepped up [at quarterback] admirably for Mr. [Logan] Twehous, so we'll have to get those things done. We'll have to execute on offense better than we have the previous four weeks, and make some things happen." 

Rock Bridge also carries two prized defenders in Missouri commit Tre Williams and Bryce Banks, who decommitted from Missouri this summer. However, Coach A.J. Ofodile says he wants to see contributions from his whole team.

"My focus is on eliminating some of the catastrophic mistakes that have held us back the first few weeks," Ofodile said. "So we can set ourselves up for success. We've got to maintain focus and stick to the basic fundamentals, and prepare ourselves for Districts."

Ofodile said his players' morale has impressed him as the team reaches the middle of the season.

"We don't measure success by the number of points on the scoreboard or our number of wins," Ofodile said. "We've been through plenty of adversity against some tough teams. There's a lot of 3-1 teams out there right now that wouldn't want to see us on a Friday night. All that matters from here on out is Districts."

Thompson studied Rock Bridge during the preseason jamboree, and he said the Bruins showed a lot of grit. 

"They put up a good fight and tried their hardest," Thompson said. "I'm looking forward to teams that go give us a chance and give us their all instead of just, oh, expecting us to not do anything."

Monroe said he didn't have a special message for his players relating to the Providence Bowl.

"It's semantics," Monroe said. "You want to go out and try to win every game. I know Coach Ofodile is saying that to his kids at 1-3. We're working really hard to get our first win, but we're working hard to get better."

Hickman vs. Rock Bridge is KOMU 8 Sports' Game of the Week for Friday Night Fever. Watch highlights of 14 games on KOMU 8 News at 10, and follow the live blog for constant updates for Week 5.


Permalink| Comments

FNF : Moberly to commemorate 9/11 victims before game http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-moberly-to-commemorate-9-11-victims-before-game/ http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-moberly-to-commemorate-9-11-victims-before-game/ FNF Schools Thu, 10 Sep 2015 5:06:26 PM Luke Slabaugh, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter FNF : Moberly to commemorate 9/11 victims before game

MOBERLY - Moberly High School will hold a ceremony Friday commemorating the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks prior to its football game against Fulton.

The school's Junior ROTC will serve as the color guard and raise the flag to half-staff. The group did almost the exact same ceremony Friday morning before classes started at Moberly High School. Unlike Friday morning's ceremony, members from the ROTC and Moberly community will not read the names of those who died during the attacks.

"This is a strong emotion we have for these victims," Second Lieutenant Samantha Kirkpatrick said. "Not only just honoring or remembering them, but thinking about them and what they did for us that day."

The Junior ROTC is in its third year of operation. Lieutenant Colonel Kurt Dulle, the organization's Senior Army Instructor, said the program is one of the last ROTC programs installed in a public high school. 25 students make up the group. 

"The kids jump on things like this," Dulle said about the group's enthusiasm. "They want to participate. They want to be a part of it and be a part of the community. It's a fantastic thing to see in the youth.

"Remember, it's also Patriot Day," Dulle said. "The idea of Patriot Day is service. It's kind of a day of what can we do for our community an for our country."

Guests at the morning ceremony included Mayor Pro Tem Herb Lawrence, Randolph County Sheriff Mark Nichols, and members of the Moberly Fire Department and Moberly Police Department. Dulle said he expects the pre-game ceremony to have a different dynamic than the one before classes.

"Today, we have the students and we have community leadership," Dulle said. "Tonight it'll be parents and family, bringing them in to remember the day. You'll probably see a little somber remembrance of what happened that day."

Kirkpatrick said she thought it was important to hold separate ceremonies in order to reach a wider audience.

"Not only do we get to have the school involved in this, but the people that don't get to go to school every day, they get to see us and what we're doing and remember those victims," Kirkpatrick said.

Fulton enters Friday's game with a 3-0 record. Moberly is 1-2. 2015 marks the first season Cody McDowell has coached the Moberly Spartans. 

Week 4 of Friday Night Fever will include a live blog and will feature this game as its Game of the Week. Follow @komusports for live updates, and interact with our reporters on Snapchat by adding KOMU_FNF.

Permalink| Comments

Banks' senior season the beginning of a new start http://www.komu.com/news/banks-senior-season-the-beginning-of-a-new-start/ http://www.komu.com/news/banks-senior-season-the-beginning-of-a-new-start/ FNF Schools Fri, 4 Sep 2015 10:37:07 AM Luke Slabaugh, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter Banks' senior season the beginning of a new start

COLUMBIA - Bryce Banks could easily get wrapped up in the uncertainty of his future in football and look lost on the field. However, the Rock Bridge senior has decided to let the future take care of itself.

"You can't let the game be bigger than you, that's what I tell my teammates," Banks said. "You've got to go out there and make the best of it, because you don't get too many of these, especially us seniors."

Banks, a senior defensive back, surprised some people this summer when he decided to break his commitment to play for MU. Banks said he talked to his mother and Rock Bridge football coach A.J. Ofodile, as well as other friends and family members who impact his decisions. He said he's giving up a "great program" and "one of the best development programs in the nation" in Missouri.

"I was the one who came up with the conclusion," Banks said. "Me staying here wasn't best for me. As a person, it wasn't in my best interests. So I decided to be a man and make that sacrifice."

Banks said he's seen many of his family and friends go to jail or end up "lost in life." He said he could benefit from a new start.

"That was the main reason," Banks said. "I wanted to get away and go somewhere new, start somewhere new - and just focus on football and school."

A.J. Ofodile, a former tight end at Missouri, has served as a mentor to Banks. Ofodile said he's not trying to influence where Banks goes to college.

"It's really not my role as a high school coach to pick a school for kids," Ofodile said. "I didn't pick a school for my own son [Alex Ofodile, Oregon Ducks] so I'm definitely not going to pick a school for someone else's kid.

"More than anything, I'm a big picture person," Ofodile said. "If a young man is going on to fulfill his dreams, and his post-secondary education opportunities, I'm good with that."

The Rock Bridge coach also said he's happy Banks has turned the corner and not gone down the path like some of his family and friends.

"[Bryce] has gotta go where he's going to be happy. He's going to be the one playing, not me. Nobody's offered me a scholarship, so that choice is all up to him," Ofodile said.

Ofodile had praise for Banks, saying his role would be more and more important as the season progresses.

"He's a great cover guy," Ofodile said. "He's got length, he's got speed. He's a leader in the secondary. He's a veteran, an experienced kid, and he brings toughness."

Banks said he sees a lot of potential in his team, which has gone 1-1 this year.

"I think this year is our most relationship-based team out of all my years being at Rock Bridge. I'm feeling a lot of energy out there," Banks said. "I'm not taking nothing for granted."

Banks said he plans on enrolling in college classes a semster early - once he's done playing this autumn - and deciding on a school soon. He said he's still touring Division 1 schools, but the two-star prospect will let the future take care of itself.

"Just think about the now, don't think about the past or don't think about the future," Banks said. "Just focus on that play and let everything go, and it just happens. It tends to be fun that way, playing football. Just cut loose and have less problems."

Battling the Spartans

Rock Bridge will have its hands full with defending Class 5 state champion Battle Spartans. The game provides extra intensity because Justin Conyers, a former Rock Bridge football coach, leads Battle. Several former Hickman football players also dress for Battle now.

"It's going to be exciting," Ofodile said. "There's a lot of relationships invovled with kids and coaches in both programs, and we're going to have a great crowd. It'll be fun, at the end of the day, it's a Week 3 game."

Said Banks: "They've got some good receivers that I've got a good chance to gup and guard against; I know they're going to try me. I'm ready for that. I think it's going to be a fun game, with the atmosphere and everything."

Rock Bridge defeated Battle 25-11 when the teams met in 2014. Almost a full calendar year has passed since that meeting, and much has changed for both teams. Ofodile said his team is still a "work in progress."

Permalink| Comments

FNF : "First-year" senior Eagles look to leave legacy at So. Boone http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-first-year-senior-eagles-look-to-leave-legacy-at-so-boone/ http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-first-year-senior-eagles-look-to-leave-legacy-at-so-boone/ FNF Schools Thu, 27 Aug 2015 6:33:42 PM Luke Slabaugh, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter FNF :

ASHLAND - Four Southern Boone football players want to prove it's never too late to put on the pads. Three Eagles return this season to play the game they love after taking a year hiatus from the team; another joins the team without any experience at the high school level.

Fletcher Mccune, Brandon Bowden, Trevor Garriott and Blake Bentlage find themselves starting and leading a new-look Southern Boone team. Eagles coach Trent Tracy calls them "first-year" players, even though they've had experience at the high school level or lower. Until this summer, he only knew these players from file video.

"They've brought a workman-like attitude to the football field," Tracy said. "Even though they were behind as far as the X's and O's, they've picked it up. Now that they know what they're doing, they play at a higher level than we ever imagined."

Not only do all the "first-year" seniors play pivotal roles on the team, Tracy said their influence extends into the classrooms and hallways of Southern Boone. Tracy said that influence might help build the football program that is still young.

"A lot of kids right now who aren't playing," Tracy said, "They see Blake Bentlage is playing and Fletcher Mccune is playing. 'Maybe I'm going to play next year.'"

Southern Boone hosts South Callaway at 7:00 pm for Friday Night Fever's game of the week.

Bentlage's fun-sized debut

Blake Bentlage's senior season is his first and last with the Eagles. He plays cornerback and assumes kicking duties for the team, though if you ask him, he much prefers defense.

"You get to tackle people," Bentlage said coolly.

Bentlage stopped playing football in sixth grade for a similar reason. He said his thin, wiry frame didn't serve well for playing football.

"Everyone else got bigger, and I stayed small," Bentlage said. "I was kind of scared, afraid I was gonna get hurt."

Tracy said size isn't an issue on the field when Bentlage is covering the opposing team's receivers.

"He weighs probably about 145 pounds soaking wet, but he plays like he weighs 195 pounds," Tracy said. "Pure heart, lots of desire and passion when he's on the field.

"He has no fear. He flew around, he makes hits and he makes plays. He brings a level of excitement and I think our players feed off it."

Tracy said he met with Bentlage over the summer and got on his case about joining the team. The coach said he's amazed at how Bentlage has realized his potential on the field so quickly.

"It's awesome to see him out there," Tracy said. "I knew he had it in him."

This season, Bentlage has thrown caution to wind and decided to give football one last try. His friends, including Mccune, Bowden, and Garriott, convinced him to join. Bentlage said he's trying to make a statement to himself and to his friends and family by putting on the Eagles uniform.

"It doesn't matter your size," Bentlage said. "If you have enough heart, you can do it."

Mccune hits linemen hard, books harder

Tracy said the leadership on the team increased significantly when Fletcher Mccune re-joined the team. He said the senior linebacker carries himself responsibly and does things the right way.

"I saw video of him from the previous years," Tracy said. "We really missed him last year."

Mccune took his junior season off to focus on grades. He said he wants to be a chemical engineer. He plans on applying to Texas A&M and Missouri S&T in Rolla.

"I just wanted to keep straight A's, go for that 4.0," Mccune said.

Mccune said he's never had any academic issues, but wanted to commit as much time to a rigorous junior year as possible. Junior year is critical for students applying to colleges, and Mccune said giving up the gridiron was not an easy sacrifice.

"I missed every minute of it," Mccune said. "I wish I played last year, but I'm kind of glad I didn't. I kept my grades up. Yeah, I missed every minute of it."

Mccune said he wants to be a positive role model for the younger players on the team in his last season. He said he wants the tradition to carry down to the junior varsity team. Mccune mentioned the family element the team brings him, and he said it's "indescribable" to be back playing with his best friends.

"We just want to have each other's backs," Mccune said. "On the field, in school, at home. Be together, be as one. I wanted to be a part of that."

Garriott flashes athleticism on defense

Tracy said he did some scouting in the spring to bring back another impact player. Trevor Garriott patrols center field for the Southern Boone baseball team. He's also found success on the Missouri Mustangs select baseball team.

"Just watching him play baseball, I knew he'd be a great defensive back for us," Tracy said. "The way he gets reads on baseballs can really transpire over onto the football field very easily."

The Eagles' senior safety will retire from football after the season with the hopes of being an outfielder in college. Garriott said several schools in the heart of America are recruiting him. As the desire to play baseball increased every day last season, Garriott said, the passion for football slowly decreased. It took convincing from his friends to get him back in pads.

"They told me I'd be a big help to this team, help with this turnaround of the program," Garriott said. "They missed playing with me, and I missed playing with them. It's just a great atmosphere when I'm with them.

"I missed these guys. A lot of them were upset I missed last year. Coach Tracy's bringing a new legacy into the program. We're trying to turn this around for future teams as well as this year. It's gonna be great."

Garriott puts his expectations into words clearly. He said he wants the team to win districts and to become a top team in its conference.

"We'd like to go 9-0 through the season, that's what we're hoping to do," Garriott said. "We have the potential to do it."

Garriott said he wants to influence this team, but teams that will suit up in Eagles uniforms in the future. 

"And the little kids, too, growing up, to come out and watch a winning season and be ready to play in high school," Garriott said.

Bowden playing for today and tomorrow

Senior safety Brandon Bowden is the only one of the four "first-year" seniors who wants to play football for a living. Oddly enough, Bowden was the closest of the four to give up the game permanently. He said he can't pinpoint exactly what led him to take his junior season off. 

"Passion just wasn't there," Bowden said. "But I got back into it senior year, and I love every minute of it."

Tracy said it was Bowden's visible hunger and progress in practice that made him a staple on both offense and defense.

"He takes everything serious," Tracy said. "He doesn't goof around. He's out here to prove himself. As a guy who missed last year, that's what you want. You want guys that are hungry to get on the field."

Bowden said he wants to be a long-snapper in college. He said the greater success the team has this season, the better chance he has of breaking through at the college level.

"Pigskin has us at 5-4, so we're going to try and prove them wrong," Bowden said.

Taking flight in 2015

Eagles coach Trent Tracy is in his second year leading the Southern Boone Eagles. Prior to taking the coaching job in Ashland, he served as a special teams coach at Moberly. Tracy said he's encouraged after his team's 50-0 win in Week 1 over St. Pius X (Festus, MO).

"We want to continue to establish a tradition," Tracy said. "And tradition takes time. The first thing that's starts with is these kids understanding they can play at that caliber of football with the other teams in our conference. As the season went on last year, they began to believe in themselves.

"We also can apply that in practice, not just games. But in the weight room, too, and in the classroom. Once we start doing those things, and learn how to win - even in tough times - we'll continue to see that tradition grow. "

Tracy said he wants the team to confront this season a week-to-week basis, and not get too caught up in playoffs or district matchups. He said the Eagles' schedule has no easy games for the rest of the season, and he's made clear the goals he wants his team to accomplish each week.

"It really comes down to who has the most heart," Tracy said. "Who can do the little things and come out victorious."

Bulldogs look to start season 2-0

The South Callaway Bulldogs look to continue their hot start to the season at they take on Southern Boone in Ashland. The Bulldogs had a commanding 45-7 victory over Putnam County (Unionville, MO) in Week 1.

The Bulldogs drew praise from several Southern Boone coaches, who said the team runs option plays very well. Both teams will pay district opponents in Week 3.

Permalink| Comments

FNF: Blank's Boonville debut highlights Game of the Week http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-blank-s-boonville-debut-highlights-game-of-the-week/ http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-blank-s-boonville-debut-highlights-game-of-the-week/ FNF Schools Wed, 19 Aug 2015 11:22:05 AM Luke Slabaugh, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter FNF: Blank's Boonville debut highlights Game of the Week

BOONVILLE - The new football season means a new coach for the Boonville Pirates. Barry Blank, a longtime coach at Jefferson City and Blair Oaks, signed on to steer the ship this summer.

Blank's Boonville Pirates look to rebound from last season's 2-8 record. The Pirates hold Class 3 State Championships, having won them in 1974 and 1998. The new coach describes himself as an average guy, but says he has a passion for working with kids. In particular, Blank said he wants to send the message of overachieving to his players.

"I feel like I'm an overachiever," Blank said. "That's something we try to instill in our kids every day. I think that's the essence of football. When we all work together, we can reach extraordinary goals here at Boonville.

"Normally, kids want to be held to high expectations. They want to rise to a very high level as students as well as athletes."

That message on overachieving has resonated with his players. 

"I think we do a really good job of that," Senior fullback Dalton Bealmer said. "Even the younger guys, the freshmen, they help other freshmen and let them know what they need to do."

Both Bealmer and fellow senior Andrew Garrison headline a group of seniors who try to lead by example as well as vocally. Huddles and on-field meetings in practice are not quiet, often with a chorus of voices - first the low tone of the seniors, then the higher pitch of the younger players.

"I think we can get a lot of wins," Garrison said. "As far as 'overachieving,' in my opinion and the rest of the team, we can always fight harder. We're not the biggest team around, but we plan to fight and show people that 110% is what we expect every time."

 Garrison, who plays both offensive guard and outside linebacker, commented on the effort he's seen from the team and how many of his teammates have taken on leadership roles.

"Last year, a lot of guys dreaded coming and it was more negative," Garrison said. "This year with Coach Blank, he's kept everybody more positive and showed a lot of hope for this team."

Blank doesn't stand in one place for too long. During team stretches and warm-ups, you can find him circling the group of players, walking through line formations, and muttering a few words of encouragement to a passing player.

"It's hard to explain," Garrison said. "It's a feeling of being with somebody who's got your back. He's got really, really great strategies - in how he plays football, how he teaches it."

Bealmer chimed in, "He brings a lot better of an energy than we had in years past."

Blank said he likes how the Pirates have progressed from June to Week 1. In particular, he mentioned how the seniors have held the rest of the team accountable in practice so far.

"We're going to have kids who play hard for four quarters," Blank said. "Our expectation is - we're blue collar workers. Our kids want to show they're a new Boonville - a new breed of Pirate."


Blank's coaching influences

One of Blank's primary influences growing up was his coach at Kirkwood High School, Dale Collier. For 14 years, Collier gained the respect of the community and his players. He's now a member of the Kirkwood School District Hall of Fame.

"Dale really believed in me and installed the love of football in me at an early age," Blank said.

Collier described a young Blank as a team player and one of his favorites. He said Blank was tall, skinny, and covered a lot of ground. Blank's ability prompted Collier to move his player from tight end to offensive tackle. Blank had the toughness to be an effective tackle, though Collier said he was the slimmest one of them on the team.

"I told Barry, 'You tell anyone that you're an offensive tackle, they'll call you crazy,'" Collier said, laughing.

Collier retired from coaching Kirkwood in 1995 before spending three years as the coach for Washington University in St. Louis. He recalls one of his final games coaching for Wash U, he saw a tall, lanky tight end make a catch for the CMU Eagles, right at the edge of the sideline where Collier was standing. It was Barry Blank.

"I'll remember that forever," Collier said, laughing.

Collier said he kept track of Blank's progress after college. The two used re-visit their old stomping grounds for the Kirkwood-Webster rivalry game, the Turkey Bowl. Collier was happy to hear he'd landed the head coach job at Boonville.

 "I can't think of anyone better to work with kids," Collier said.

He did have a nugget of advice for Blank for his debut.

"Tell him to remember what I always said on the top of the hill when we were getting ready for our games," Collier said.

 "I don't even remember what it was," Blank said, laughing. "I think it was 'Play your heart out,' but I'm not sure. Play for each other and play your heart out."

Blank cites Ted LePage, with whom he coached for almost 15 years at Jefferson City High School and Blair Oaks High School, as another influence on his coaching career. He said LePage taught him how to handle relationships, work with high schoolers, and run a football team. LePage echoed that praise right back to him. Both LePage and Collier remarked on Blank's ability to communicate with kids.

"One thing I recognized when he was coaching here, was if it wasn't good for the kids, [Blank] wasn't about it," LePage said. 

Said Collier: "I can't think of anyone better to work with kids. I know he's going to do a great job."

Under LePage, Blank was an offensive line coach at Jefferson City. When the two were at Blair Oaks, Blank was in charge of the running backs.* LePage said he misses Blank's perspective and collaboration in game decisions. He recalls a game when the two were coaching for Jefferson City, and LePage wanted to "bury" an opponent against whom they held a sizable lead. Blank intervened.

"He just turned to me and said, 'What are you doing?'" LePage said. "'We have no dog in this fight, let's let it go.' And he was right. You could throw anything off him. When I was about ready to jump off the top of the bridge, he would be like, 'Nope, the bridge isn't that high and we don't need to jump.' And that was a good thing to have.

"Whatever it was, we tended to look at it from different angles and come to the same solution." 

LePage said he anticipates a successful season for the Pirates under Blank.

"As good of a person he is, I hope Boonville does that well." 


A closer look in California

Boonville will have its hands full with the California Pintos. California has reached the state semifinals in each of the last three years. Both Boonville and California compete in the same district.

"This game is a great way to start the season and show us where we are," Blank said.

Blank said how California plays with "a certain swagger and a certain physicality" on both sides of the ball impresses him. He called the Pintos "one of the premiere athletic programs in Mid-Missouri."

Head coach Marty Albertson leads the Pintos. California owns one state football title, won in 1997. The team has won 14 district championships in program history.

The team returns three starting players on defense and two on offense. Most of California's key pieces on the field played on its junior varsity squad last year, a team that lost only one game.

"We're awful young," Albertson said when asked what to expect this season. "We're a whole new outfit, and it's going to be a whole different ball game."

Albertson said the offensive line made some mistakes during its football jamboree last week, and that it concerned him. He said he wants to hear more communication from players so they know who they're blocking. Albertson said it might be a few games before the team translates the skill from knowing plays on paper to showing it on the field.

"I don't think we're district-ready right now," Albertson said. "But that's what games are for. Hopefully we can correct some mistakes tonight, and be ready for the district playoffs again.

"I'm looking forward to a tough game against Boonville," Albertson said. "They were in the same position as us last year."

Permalink| Comments

FNF Westran 2015 http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-westran-2015/ http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-westran-2015/ FNF Schools Thu, 9 Jul 2015 3:17:09 PM div.content { overflow:hidden; } table#fnf-table { margin-left:10px; clear:both; width:100%; font-size:14px; table-layout:fixed; } table#fnf-table td { padding:0.5em 0 0 0; } body#tinymce img { display:none; } body#tinymce p.dontedit { display:block !important; margin:0; font-size:3em; font-weight:700; color:#e00; }
Date Opponent Location Outcome Score
8 / 21 Mark Twain Away Loss 50 - 28
8 / 28 Carrolton Away Win 0 - 26
9 / 4 Valle Catholic Away Loss 69 - 7
9 / 11 Schuyler County Home Win 52 - 6
9 / 18 Paris Away Win 12 - 14
9 / 25 Marceline Home Loss 20 - 41
10 / 2 Salisbury Home Loss 7 - 21
10 / 9 Slater Home Win 70 - 8
10 / 16 Fayette Away Win 0 - 26
10 / 23 Sweet Springs Home Win 51 - 12

Permalink| Comments

FNF Waynesville 2015 http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-waynesville-2015/ http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-waynesville-2015/ FNF Schools Thu, 9 Jul 2015 3:16:48 PM div.content { overflow:hidden; } table#fnf-table { margin-left:10px; clear:both; width:100%; font-size:14px; table-layout:fixed; } table#fnf-table td { padding:0.5em 0 0 0; } body#tinymce img { display:none; } body#tinymce p.dontedit { display:block !important; margin:0; font-size:3em; font-weight:700; color:#e00; }
Date Opponent Location Outcome Score
8 / 21 West Plains Away Loss 42 - 25
8 / 28 Lebanon Away Win 21 - 35
9 / 4 Hillcrest Away Win 20 - 38
9 / 11 Parkview Home Win 21 - 14
9 / 18 Rolla Away Loss 40 - 14
9 / 25 Joplin Away Loss 55 - 25
10 / 2 Camdenton Home Win 42 - 21
10 / 9 Glendale Away Loss 60 - 56
10 / 16 Kickapoo Home Loss 12 - 49
10 / 23 Camdenton Home Win 19 - 7

Permalink| Comments

FNF Warsaw 2015 http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-warsaw-2015/ http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-warsaw-2015/ FNF Schools Thu, 9 Jul 2015 3:15:58 PM div.content { overflow:hidden; } table#fnf-table { margin-left:10px; clear:both; width:100%; font-size:14px; table-layout:fixed; } table#fnf-table td { padding:0.5em 0 0 0; } body#tinymce img { display:none; } body#tinymce p.dontedit { display:block !important; margin:0; font-size:3em; font-weight:700; color:#e00; }
Date Opponent Location Outcome Score
8 / 21 Clinton Away Loss 19 - 7
8 / 28 Cole Camp Away Loss 43 - 0
9 / 4 School of the Osage Home Loss 13 - 42
9 / 11 Versailles Home Loss 14 - 46
9 / 18 Eldon Away Loss 65 - 7
9 / 25 Hallsville Home Loss 24 - 43
10 / 2 Southern Boone County Away Loss 67 - 6
10 / 9 Blair Oaks Home Loss 0 - 57
10 / 16 California Away Loss 36 - 0
10 / 23 Mountain Grove Away Loss 47 - 26

Permalink| Comments

FNF Versailles 2015 http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-versailles-2015/ http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-versailles-2015/ FNF Schools Thu, 9 Jul 2015 3:15:25 PM Do not edit this story via the CMS! Use the FNF scores page editor instead.

8 / 21Knob NosterHomeWin29 - 28
8 / 28FultonHomeLoss22 - 56
9 / 4CaliforniaAwayLoss0 - 42
9 / 11WarsawAwayWin14 - 46
9 / 18OsageAwayLoss6 - 42
9 / 25EldonHomeLoss14 - 52
10 / 2HallsvilleAwayWin18 - 20
10 / 9Southern Boone CountyAwayLoss56 - 6
10 / 16Blair OaksHomeLoss0 - 70
10 / 23Blair OaksAwayLoss70 - 0


Permalink| Comments

FNF Van-Far 2015 http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-van-far-2015/ http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-van-far-2015/ FNF Schools Thu, 9 Jul 2015 3:14:55 PM div.content { overflow:hidden; } table#fnf-table { margin-left:10px; clear:both; width:100%; font-size:14px; table-layout:fixed; } table#fnf-table td { padding:0.5em 0 0 0; } body#tinymce img { display:none; } body#tinymce p.dontedit { display:block !important; margin:0; font-size:3em; font-weight:700; color:#e00; }
Date Opponent Location Outcome Score
8 / 21 North Shelby Away Win 0 - 36
8 / 28 Missouri Military Academy Home Win 40 - 0
9 / 4 Mark Twain Away Loss 41 - 0
9 / 11 South Callaway Home Loss 32 - 34
9 / 18 Montgomery County Away Win 7 - 26
9 / 25 Bowling Green Home Loss 36 - 50
10 / 2 Wright City Away Loss 44 - 18
10 / 9 Clopton Home Win 28 - 12
10 / 16 North Callaway Home Loss 0 - 38
10 / 23 North Callaway Away Loss 54 - 0

Permalink| Comments

FNF Tipton 2015 http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-tipton-2015/ http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-tipton-2015/ FNF Schools Thu, 9 Jul 2015 3:14:32 PM div.content { overflow:hidden; } table#fnf-table { margin-left:10px; clear:both; width:100%; font-size:14px; table-layout:fixed; } table#fnf-table td { padding:0.5em 0 0 0; } body#tinymce img { display:none; } body#tinymce p.dontedit { display:block !important; margin:0; font-size:3em; font-weight:700; color:#e00; }
Date Opponent Location Outcome Score
8 / 21 Lexington Home Loss 0 - 35
8 / 28 North Callaway Away Loss 22 - 8
9 / 4 Windsor Away Win 20 - 32
9 / 11 Harrisburg Home Win 48 - 0
9 / 18 Tolton Away Loss 47 - 0
9 / 25 Lincoln Away Loss 42 - 6
10 / 2 Cole Camp Home Loss 0 - 28
10 / 16 Skyline Home Loss 18 - 53

Permalink| Comments

FNF Southern Boone 2015 http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-southern-boone-2015/ http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-southern-boone-2015/ FNF Schools Thu, 9 Jul 2015 3:14:01 PM Do not edit this story via the CMS! Use the FNF scores page editor instead.

8 / 21St. Pius XAwayWin50 - 0
8 / 28South CallawayHomeWin48 - 0
9 / 4HallsvilleHomeLoss17 - 20
9 / 11School of the OsageHomeWin37 - 22
9 / 18Blair OaksAwayLoss61 - 26
9 / 25CaliforniaAwayLoss20 - 12
10 / 2WarsawHomeWin67 - 6
10 / 9VersaillesHomeWin56 - 6
10 / 13EldonAwayLoss23 - 12
10 / 23CaliforniaAwayWin21 - 48


Permalink| Comments

FNF South Callaway 2015 http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-south-callaway-2015/ http://www.komu.com/news/fnf-south-callaway-2015/ FNF Schools Thu, 9 Jul 2015 3:13:35 PM Do not edit this story via the CMS! Use the FNF scores page editor instead.

8 / 21Putnam CountyAwayWin7 - 45
8 / 28Southern Boone CountyAwayLoss0 - 48
9 / 4Clopton-ElsberryHomeWin53 - 8
9 / 11Van FarAwayWin32 - 34
9 / 18Wright CityHomeWin18 - 7
9 / 25North CallawayAwayWin12 - 20
10 / 2Montgomery CountyAwayWin20 - 57
10 / 9Mark TwainHomeLoss7 - 18
10 / 16Bowling GreenHomeWin45 - 16
10 / 23Cole CampHomeLoss27 - 47


Permalink| Comments