Posted: Jul 16, 2014 9:53 AM
Updated: Oct 17, 2014 11:09 PM
|8 / 22||Blair Oaks||Away||Loss||3 - 21|
|8 / 29||Osage||Home||Loss||34 - 35|
|9 / 5||Kirksville||Home||Win||16 - 6|
|9 / 12||Fulton||Away||Loss||13 - 23|
|9 / 19||Macon||Away||Win||28 - 0|
|9 / 26||Marshall||Home||Win||55 - 20|
|10 / 3||Hannibal||Away||Loss||12 - 46|
|10 / 10||Boonville||Home||Loss||6 - 7|
|10 / 17||Mexico||Away||Loss||16 - 33|
|10 / 24||Warrenton||Away|
Moberly High School is coming off one of the better seasons in school history that ended with a 10-1 record and a North Central Missouri Conference Championship. Head Coach Jason Ambroson, back for his 14th season, reflected on 2013.
"2013 was a great season of football filled with young people who were trying to get better every day and do things right both on and off the field" he said. "When you win off the field with leadership and discipline, then things will most likely work out the way you want them on the field as well. Last year's group of guys got a big return on their investment and had a good time doing it."
The Spartans return some highlyskilled players on offense, including senior running back Gregg Bain (6-0, 200), who is coming off an outstanding 2013 season in which he was named to the All-Conference and All-District teams. Bain rushed for 846 yards for an average of 9 yards per carry, and he also chipped in nine touchdowns. The idea that he could be even better in 2014 has to strike fear in the hearts of opponents. He'll be backed up by newcomer David Gross.
At the wide receiver position, senior Dupree Alexander (6-0, 170) is back for his final season at Moberly. He caught 29 passes and four touchdowns last season on his way to being named 2nd Team All-Conference. Another senior, Scott Mason (6-0, 180), will also start at wide receiver. It seems like Moberly has as much talent at the wide receiver position as any program in the conference.
The Spartans will have a quarterback battle between underclassmen John Heimann and Drake Davidson. It will be interesting to see who will prevail, and it's certainly possible both could see significant playing time. Up front, the offensive line will be anchored by returning starters Jess Brownfield (6-2, 250), a junior, and senior Mickey Sires (6-0, 250). The offensive line should have some fresh faces in A.J. David, Denzel Hess and Colton Graham.
Moberly does have a weapon in kicker Gregg Bain (6-0, 200). He was named to the All-Conference squad last season and is considered one of the best kickers in the state. Having a kicker is a special teams weapon that can change field position in a hurry.
Like a lot of high school teams, Moberly has a number of two-way players. The defense returns a number of seniors who Coach Ambroson is counting on to be leaders on and off the field. Free safety Scott Mason was named 1st Team All-Conference and 2nd Team All-District in 2013 after an outstanding season in the secondary. He'll be joined by returning senior cornerbacks Tyler Huffman (5-11, 180) and Dupree Alexander, as well as strong safety Deandrae Dameron (5- 10, 175). Look for newcomer Chase Meyer to get some playing time in the secondary, too.
The linebacking corps will be led by returning starters Chris Palmer (6-1, 200) and Cameron Smith (6-1, 185), both seniors. Look for underclassmen Brandon Cooper and Logan Johnson to get some playing time there, as well.
Up front, the defensive line does not return any starters. Defensive ends Dominick Guthrie and Hayden McCarter are expected to start, as are defensive tackles Jace Palmer and Calvin Davis.
Though too humble to admit it, Coach Ambroson has to experience a certain amount of pride when he looks at the program he's built over the last decade and a half. He sees no reason this season can't be another successful one. And some credit should go to his army of talented assistant coaches: Sam Richardson, offensive coordinator and running back coach, Tony Stoneking, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, Jeff Engel, special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach, Victor Bell, defensive line coach, Jason Hannam, wide receivers coach, Ryan McClusky, offensive line coach, Brett Boyer, outside safeties coach, Derek Allen, defensive ends coach and Kyle Schroer, video coordinator and inside receivers coach.
"This group has a lot of work to do to find chemistry and their place with one another," Coach Ambroson said of the 2014 squad. "It is a whole new year. The off-season has been very good for us as a team, and gives us the possibility of success. We have a good blend of old faces with experience and new faces with hunger. Getting those things to work together, develop a lot of toughness, and find and embrace new roles can lead this group to another fine season."
Pigskin's Pick: 7-2