Westran Turns Struggles to Triumphs
HUNTSVILLE - Some programs are known as perennial powers, others are longtime losers. One Mid-Missouri football team reversed the field and climbed to the top.
Four years ago, Westran High School hired Curtis Jasper as the new head football coach. He came away with one win in his first season.
But times have changed, and now the only one is the ranking next its name.
There's a trio of seniors on the Westran football team who have started since their freshman season.
Their first memories aren't so pleasant.
"Probably us not being very good, not winning many games and just expecting that," recalled Senior Lineman Tycie Linneman.
"I remember running around here as a little kid and running around with my buddies and not really watching because it wasn't much of a show," said Senior wide receiver Matt George.
"We always looked at the high school students and we wanted to get the program back on its feet. We didn't want to go 1-9," remembered quarterback Tyler Hunt.
That's how they finished their freshman season: one win.
But in their second game their sophomore year, everything changed.
"We were up pretty big at half-time and we looked around and said we're not bad and that's when it clicked," said Westran coach Curtis Jasper.
The Hornets have been clicking since, running their way to number one ranking in Class 1.
"So nice to be able to say we are number one, finally. Instead of, 'Who's Westran?", said Hunt.
They've moved down opponents like their quarterback mows down defenders. Tyler Hunt doesn't hide from contact.
"If someone's in my way I'll run them over," claimed Hunt.
"He'd prefer to run somebody over than to throw the deep ball I think," said Linneman.
Over and out, Tyler has an interesting habit on the football field.
"His brother kind of did the same thing so it wasn't a huge surprise when he started doing it," said Jasper.
Hunt has a tendency to heave during the game.
"Doctor said it was natural for athletes when they exert so hard for their body just to throw up," explained Hunt.
George added, "I thought he was just tired, getting kind of sick after you run, but then it started happening more often."
"Nothing that you worry about. I'm just going to throw up real quick and get back in. Usually it's not take a play off. It's throw up, get back in," said Hunt.
Hunt is also a baseball player who can hurl a fastball more than 90 miles per hour.
"It was basically coming right at him, and it went right through his hands and the receiver just shook his head and said I'll get it next time. It's just something they adjust to," said Coach Jasper.
Adjustment is nothing new at Westran. They've figured out how to turn struggles into success.
"Disappointment to me would be not winning state because that's been my dream since I was a freshman," said George.
"I've been asked a lot what do you do differently now than when you were 1-9 and the answer's nothing," added Coach Jasper.
Hunt says he has a couple of favorite quarterbacks: Brett Favre and Tim Tebow.
Which leads to his nickname: T-B-T. It stands for Tyler Brett Tebow.
Westran is now 9-0, including a win against Marceline for the first time in 22 seasons.