Moberly football follows lead of new coach

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MOBERLY - For the first time in 14 years, the Moberly High School football team is in a bit of an unknown position. 

They have a new coach. New Spartans head coach Cody McDowell took over for the long-tenured Jason Ambroson, who left the program last spring. 

Ambroson was 80-73 during his 14 years at Moberly, but left to accept a coaching job at Smithville High School. 

The coaching change didn't sink in right away with the players. 

"We were all a little questionable at first because we haven't been around a new coach in a long time," Senior Moberly running back John Heimann said. "But after a while we all hopped on board and now all of us are with him." 

McDowell previous coaching experience was at St. Clair as a head coach and teacher for four years, but then left in in May of 2014 to help his family. 

"I got out to go and help the family farm, and it was a deal where I got out and missed it," McDowell said. "I missed those relationships, missed the school environment, and obviously the football and realized that this was where I needed to be." 

Now back as full time coach and a teacher at the school, McDowell teaches lessons for both on and off the football field.   

"No matter what happens play the next play,"Heimann said. "Keep going because if something bad happens you can't keep thinking about that or the next play won't be any better. You've just got to move on."

While McDowell said his changes on the performance of the football team remains to be seen, he said he is aiming to make a bigger difference with his team. 

"I guess I hope my impact on these kids doesn't just show up immediate," McDowell said. "I feel like the job we do is something that takes a while for these kids to mature and to realize the relationships you build, and hopefully you pay it forward to where those kids come back and appreciate you later and live their lives more productively." 

But even though he said it may not be immediate, at least one player said he can see the coach's impact right now. 

"He's not only a coach, but he's there for you no matter what," Heimann said. "He can be a mentor or anything you need him to be."