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About

Class XX District X

Big 8 West Conference

School Colors: Red and Black

Head Coach: Kellen Hoover (15-25, 5th season)

Assistant coaches: Sean McCullough (DC), Chris Kane (OL/DL), Blake Martin (DB), Daniel Sumler (RB/DL), Bryce Moorman (WR/DB), Kolby Keller (9th OC) and Brian Brimacombe (9th DC)

COACH HOOVER SAYS:

“We hope to be a physically and mentally tough team that does the little things right and doesn’t beat ourselves. We hope to be able to get the ball to our playmakers in space, but when it comes down to it, we want to be physical and run the ball downhill. Defensively, we hope to play fast, get a lot of hats to the ball and be sure-tacklers. We have to improve our consistency. Our consistency of execution has to get better from play to play. We have to understand that one mistake can halt a drive and momentum. We also have to bring consistent effort and energy every single day.”

Five Year Trend (Playoffs)

  • 2020: 5-5 (District Finals)
  • 2019: 2-8 (First Round)
  • 2018: 3-7 (First Round)
  • 2017: 5-5 (First Round)
  • 2016: 0-10 (First Round)

2020 REVIEW

McDonald County was a fun team to watch in 2020. They found success for the first time in a few years, going 5-5 overall. That includes wins over Lamar in week three and Frontenac (KS) two weeks later. That win over Lamar was easily the biggest win for the program in years. “The best part of last season was winning some really important games for our program. You could tell our kids had learned from some big moments earlier in the season and approached our week 10 game with a different mentality,” coach Hoover says, “It was exciting to see our kids experience a playoff win in week 10. I hope getting to taste some postseason success drives our summer as we prepare for a tough Big 8 schedule.” The Mustangs do lose a couple talented guys in Kaiden Campbell (Evangel) and Bailey Lewis (Central Methodist), who both moved on to play at the next level.

RETURNING STARTERS (2020 stats)

OL/DL Junior Eliam (Sr) 5’10”, 240 lb – 1st team All-Big 8 C

OL/DL Garrett Gricks (Sr) 6’2″, 280 lb – 2nd team All-Big 8 DT – 72 tackles, 1 FF, 1 interception

OL Danny Grider (Sr) 6’2″, 225

CB Pierce Harmon (Sr) 5’11”, 165 lb – 28 tackles, 4 interceptions

TE Logan Harriman (Sr) 6’0″, 185 lb – 2nd team All-Big 8 TE

LB Levi Helm (Sr) 6’1″, 185 lb – 79 tackles

WR/DB Levi Malone (Sr) 6’0″, 170 lb – 1st team All-Big 8 WR – 498 yds, 7 TD

QB/DB Cole Martin (Sr) 5’10”, 180 lb – 1,361 pass yds, 16 TD, 166 rush yds, 3 TD – 69 tackles, 3 interceptions

LB Jared Mora (Sr) 5’11”, 180 lb – 63 tackles, 1 FF, 1 FR

DL Levi Neale (Sr) 6’1″, 280 lb – 18 tackles

WR Jack Parnell (Jr) 5’11”, 170 lb – 165 receiving yds, 2 TD

WR/DB Cross Dowd (So)

OTHER KEY RETURNERS

LB Jude Horrocks (Sr) 6’1″, 215 lb

WR Colton Ruddick (Sr) 6’2″, 170 lb

LB Andrew Watkins (Sr) 6’2″, 180 lb

TE/LB Weston Gordon (Jr) 6’1″, 190 lb

DL Angel Mendoza (Jr) 5’11”, 240 lb

OL Ivan Serna (Jr) 6’2″, 275 lb

RB/LB Destyn Dowd (So) 6’0″, 180 lb

WR/DB Sam Barton (So) 6’0″, 165 lb

OL/DL Toby Moore (So) 6’3″, 280 lb

DL Jayce Hitt (So) 6’3″, 245 lb

SCHEDULE:

8/26 vs. Aurora

9/3 @ Springfield Catholic

9/10 @ Lamar

9/17 vs. Monett

9/24 @ Seneca

10/1 vs. East Newton

10/8 vs. Reeds Spring

10/15 @ Nevada

10/22 vs. Cassville

2021 SEASON OUTLOOK

McDonald County has a little momentum for the first time in a while. They had a different energy last year, like they expected to win every week. That Lamar win in week three changed a lot. The Mustangs have a nice group of starters back, including QB/DB Cole Martin and OL/DL Garrett Gricks – two guys coach Hoover says will be the team’s on-field leaders in 2021. “Garrett has started since his freshman year and does a great job as a leader for our team,” Hoover says, “He’s the guy that stays after the game and sweeps the locker room, and not because he is asked to. Cole is entering his third year as our starting quarterback,” Hoover continues about Martin, “When anything happens on the field, everyone turns to see how Cole is responding. He knows that he is the competitive catalyst for our team and I know he will welcome the continued expansion of his role as a leader for us.” It will be important for McDonald County to follow up last season with another successful year. They finished with five wins in 2017, before turning around and winning five total games the next two years. They should have a chip on their shoulder to prove they really have turned the corner. “We have experience…We hope to move a little bit quicker through our install over the summer and be a little further along by the end of camp,” Hoover finishes on his expectations for the year, “I expect us to compete every single day. There will be more competition for starting positions than we’ve ever had, which will draw the best out of these guys. In a tough Big 8 conference, we are going to improve every single day to be at our best and be ready every week.”