FNF: Hallsville relishes 'underdog' status

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HALLSVILLE - Missouri high school football has a little bit of everything. Rivalries that stretch back over 100 years, schools known for state championship dynasties and even towns that are newborns to the Friday night obsession. One of those towns is Hallsville. 

With a population of just around 1,500 people and high school enrollment of near 400, Hallsville is the quintessential mid-Missouri 'small town'. Like the town, the Hallsville High School football program is small, in terms of the number of years it has been around.

2008 was the team's first varsity season, and in the program's first four seasons, the Indians won just eight games.

Being the "underdog" is nothing new for Hallsville, though. In fact head coach Ty Harrison and his team are able to sometimes draw extra incentive from it.

"We're usually playing larger schools in our conference, and it's always an opportunity for us to go out with our pride and our program and display that on Friday nights, and I think it's extra motivation for us," Harrison said.

The town of Hallsville is smaller population wise compared to every town left on this year's team's football schedule, but the players know there can be a benefit to being the "underdog".

"It motivates us a lot," senior linebacker Cole Hubbard said. "Coming from Hallsville and looking at these huge schools makes us compete harder to beat them and show that we can actually do something."

Harrison knows his players get a little more amped up when they know they have the chance to prove people wrong.

"We play a lot of teams that have a rich history," Harrison said. "So I think they're aware of that going into the game. I hope it brings out a competitive fire in us and motivates us to get through the game and play our best."

Being a young program also offers today's players a unique opportunity to write the first pages in the history of their school's football legacy.

"Usually people go to a bigger school and they have these huge legacies to live up to, but with us we're starting our own legacy and it's really great to be a part of this team," senior cornerback Jadon Kilpack said.

Senior lineman Andy Borland said this may even give the Indians an advantage.

"They [bigger opposing schools] have to be able to present to their town what they've been able to in the past, but with us, we're just starting and don't really have anything to lose," Borland said. "We can just go out there, do our best, and play hard."

Harrison also knows what the current players bring to the program has the ability to live on down the road.

"The kids that we have now are still developing that tradition," coach Harrison said. "The impact that they're having, we won't know maybe for years later, but I think that's something we're still working on and developing."