Battle High football team heads to state championship

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COLUMBIA - Only two years after its founding, Battle High School's football team traveled to St. Louis Friday for the Class 5 State Championship.

Dozens of parents scrambled to make 95 sandwiches in 15 minutes as their sons scarfed down lunch in the high school cafeteria. Members of the Spartans Touchdown Club - siblings, parents, grandparents and friends of players - were decked out in Spartan navy and gold and congregated outside the school to send their players off.

One senior, McKinna Keller, 17, sported a shirt reading "23 Picked Me".

"I'm dating Roger White," Keller said. "So before he left, I just told him good luck. And I hug him before every game, so I did that."

Keller plans on driving to St. Louis for the state championships with fellow senior Autumn McCoy, 17. 

"We've been to every single game since the beginning," McCoy said. "So it's really cool to see how far we've come in just one year. Hopefully it means something to the boys to see us waving our signs and cheering them on."

Kenley Conyers, 9, is the daughter of Head Coach Justin Conyers. Standing outside the school, watching her father board the bus, she said she's only seen him cry once in her life - at the game qualifying the Spartans to the state championship.

"He was tearing up a little because he was so relieved to be going," Conyers said. "I'm really proud of him because he's only been coaching for Battle for two years and they're going to the state championships. He works really hard."

After cheering and honking car horns in the high school parking lot, Spartan fans drove to the Route Z bridge over Highway I-70 North to hold signs over the bridge as the team's buses drove by. 

The Battle High School Spartans will compete against the Nixa Eagles. The Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, home of the St. Louis Rams, hosts the championship game. Fans can watch the game Friday at 7:30 p.m. CST on Fox Sports Midwest.

(Editor's Note: This story has been edited to reflect the proper colors of the Spartans)