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About

Class 2 District 4

Ozark Highlands Conference

School Colors: Red and Black

Head Coach: Kelley Beckner (7-13, 3rd season)

Assistant coaches: Daniel Stantof (Associate HC), Chuck Spears (OC) and Todd Mowery (JV HC)

COACH BECKNER SAYS:

“On paper, you would think our strength would be up front, returning four of our five starting offensive linemen and three of four defensive linemen. Our running back depth should also be something to really keep an eye on. Chance Esparza, Preston Smith, Landon Murry, Alex Horton and Michael Hart all had really good reps at some point last season in the backfield. Moving forward, we really have to see who is going to be our 1-2 punch and see if we can put the others somewhere else on the field for the best eleven.”

Five Year Trend (Playoffs)

  • 2020: 3-7 (Second Round)
  • 2019: 4-6 (First Round)
  • 2018: 8-3 (Second Round)
  • 2017: 5-5 (First Round)
  • 2016: 4-7 (Second Round)

2020 REVIEW

El Dorado Springs finished under .500 last season for the second straight, but was able to pick up a playoff win in the first round of the district playoffs. “The best part of last season was just getting to play at all,” says head coach Kelly Beckner, “There was so much uncertainty at this point last year. We feel lucky we were able to play the games that we played, which ended up being a pretty brutal schedule. COVID was definitely the biggest challenge. Outside of that, our biggest challenge was a lack of depth. We had some really great young players, but they were not quite ready for Friday nights.”

RETURNING STARTERS (2020 stats)

OL/DL Payton Green (Sr) 6’0″, 250 lb – 1st team All-Conference DE

OL/DL Montana Hacker (Jr) 6’3″, 280 – 1st team All-Conference OL

OL/DL Jake Cooper (Jr) 5’9″, 230 lb – 2nd team All-Conference DL

ATH Landon Murry (So) 5’8″, 160 lb – 2nd team All-District returner

RB Chance Esparza (Sr) 5’8″, 180 lb – 2nd team All-Conference

OTHER KEY RETURNERS

WR/DB Judd Koshko (Jr) 5’10”, 160 lb

WR/LB Austin Hart (Jr) 5’7″, 160 lb

FB/DE Michael Hart (Sr) 5’8″, 185 lb

QB/LB Riley Massie (So) 5’8″, 160 lb

WR/DB Aiden Walker (Jr) 5’11”, 150 lb

RB/LB Preston Smith (Sr) 5’9″, 175 lb

RB/LB Alex Horton (Jr) 5’9″, 185 lb

OL/DL Rees McCullough (So) 5’10”, 230 lb

OL/DL Tag Gurley (So) 5’11”, 185 lb

OL/DL Anthony Watson (So) 5’8″, 230 lb

KEY NEWCOMERS

QB/DE Logan Speers (Sr) 6’5″, 210 lb

QB/DB Devun Salazar (Sr) 6’0″, 160 lb

SCHEDULE:

8/27 @ Forsyth

9/3 @ Clever

9/10 @ Buffalo

9/17 vs. Adrian

9/24 vs. Summit Christian

10/1 vs. Warsaw

10/8 @ Sherwood

10/15 vs. Butler

10/22 @ Fair Grove

2021 SEASON OUTLOOK

This team was a bit young last year, and they’re still going to be on the younger side in 2021. The good news is that the Bulldogs are in their third season under coach Beckner, and should be familiar with the playbook and expectations under this coaching staff. “The overall commitment to the program is probably the biggest change from last year,” Beckner says, “We are beginning year three of our system, and we have guys who only know this way of doing things. That will make things smoother across the board.” Beckner also mentions that this off-season has been a big one for the team in the weight room, and he expects that to show on the field in 2021. “Aiden Walker and Riley Massie have really shown up this off-season and have pushed the other players,” Beckner says of who is stepping up as leaders for the team, “I am really excited to see them compete for a chance to play on Friday nights. Payton Green has to be a leader for us on both sides of the ball. That kid is a player. Landon Murry, Montana Hacker and Jake Cooper are all players who have seen the field a lot despite being underclassmen. They must help bring along those in-between guys who will give us depth and competition during the season.” It’s time for El Dorado Springs to start their climb under Beckner. Having experience on the interior is a great starting point for this team. “We want to compete with 100% effort,” Beckner says of his expectations this year, “We have been harping all off-season to not try to be perfect, but to give perfect effort. Great things will happen when you are committed and give great effort, no matter what situation you’re talking about.”

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