Articles on this Page
- 03/08/17--12:35: _Nixa native to coac...
- 03/14/17--16:54: _An astonishing retu...
- 03/18/17--12:46: _Seven Kickapoo seni...
- 03/22/17--15:25: _Ex-Mizzou QB Maty M...
- 03/23/17--11:40: _American Family Ins...
- 03/24/17--14:44: _5-star Michael Port...
- 03/28/17--17:57: _Hall-of-Famer visit...
- 03/29/17--17:47: _Missouri State base...
- 04/03/17--15:57: _Missouri Basketball...
- 04/04/17--14:48: _Longtime Bolivar fo...
- 03/08/17--12:35: Nixa native to coach Kickapoo football
- 03/14/17--16:54: An astonishing return, a run at a championship
- 03/18/17--12:46: Seven Kickapoo seniors sent off with a win
- 03/23/17--11:40: American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks Football 2016-2017
- 04/04/17--14:48: Longtime Bolivar football coach, Hall-of-Famer dies
Marshfield football coach Nate Thomas has been tapped to lead Kickapoo High School on the gridiron.
Thomas told the News-Leader that he met with assistant coaches and athletes in Marshfield Monday to announce that he has accepted the vacant position of head football coach at Kickapoo.
“It was about as long of a day you can have as a head coach, there’s no doubt about it,” Thomas said.
The Marshfield Board of Education held a special session meeting Monday at 6 p.m. that included a closed session to discuss matters of personnel. The outcome of the meeting is not immediately known. Springfield Public Schools Director of Communications Teresa Bledsoe did not confirm Thomas’ pending hire on Wednesday, but said the school district could officially announce the hiring of a Kickapoo football coach as early as Thursday.
Thomas’ hiring at Kickapoo would need to be confirmed by the Springfield Public Schools Board of Education. Thomas said he turned in a letter of resignation to Marshfield school officials Monday morning.
Thomas became head football coach at Marshfield prior to the 2015 season. Prior to Marshfield, he spent 13 years as an assistant at Liberty High School in Kansas City.
Thomas was an all-state football, basketball and track and field athlete at Nixa, where he played for former Nixa and Kickapoo coach Joel Wells. Thomas would later coach on Wells’ staff at Liberty.
“I’ve had a really good relationship with Joel Wells and he spoke very highly of the Kickapoo job and his time there,” Thomas said.
The retirement of Kurt Thompson after two seasons in a second stint and Kickapoo cleared the way for Thomas to move into Springfield’s largest public high school. The Chiefs were 9-2 last season and were eliminated by Rockhurst in the Class 6 district playoffs.
Thompson had two different periods coaching football at Kickapoo. His second stint spanned the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Kickapoo won 62 games and lost 34 in Thompson’s first nine-year stint as head coach. The Chiefs were 20-3 in the second span. He will retire with an overall record of 180-87.
Thomas said he does not plan to make a radical transition to Kickapoo’s style of play.
“I’m going to sit down and watch a little film. You hate to come around and try to flip a program on its head with as much success as they’ve had,” Thomas said. “We’ll make some tweaks, some adjustments, and be sure to put a product on the field that Kickapoo can be proud of.”
Under Thomas, Marshfield went 5-15 over two seasons. The 2016 Bluejays were 2-8 with wins over Buffalo and McDonald County. Marshfield ran into Webb City in the Class 4 playoffs and fell 49-14.
Thomas described the Bluejays as “right there on the verge,” of becoming a winning team.
“They’re right there on the edge of getting that thing turned around. They’ve got kids that are doing things the right way,” Thomas said.
Before he got into coaching, Thomas played four years of football as a wide receiver and kick returner at University of Central Missouri. He also competed as a sprinter on the Mules’ track and field team. He went on to obtain a master’s degree in science of education from Northwest Missouri State University.
Thomas, 36, has been married to his wife Tara for 15 years. They have two children.
tdunhamusatodayCoach Nate Thomas at a Marshfield football practice in 2016.
Last winter, Connor Sechler was out of basketball completely.
tdunhamusatodayThe Bolivar High School boys basketball practices on Tuesday, March 14, 2017.Bolivar High School basketball player Brandon Emmert practices on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 before the Liberators play for the state championship in Columbia this weekend.Bolivar High School basketball player Connor Sechler practices free throws on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 before the Liberators play for the state championship in Columbia this weekend.The Bolivar High School boys basketball practices on Tuesday, March 14, 2017.The Bolivar High School boys basketball team are hoping to add a championship banner to the wall of the gym by winning a state championship game this weekend in Columbia.Bolivar High School boys basketball coach Robby Hoegh hopes to leads the Liberators to a state championship in Columbia this weekend.
COLUMBIA – Seven Kickapoo seniors got to close their basketball careers with a win.
Kickapoo (26-5) defeated Chaminade 89-78 in the third-place game of the 2017 Class 5 boys basketball playoffs at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. Less than 24 hours after a 58-57 loss to Webster Groves in the semifinals, Kickapoo rebounded to end the season with a win.
Five Chiefs players scored in double figures, led by Cameron Davis with 29 points.
“I got emotional out there because I know this is one of the biggest parts of my life, for sure, but we ended it the right way,” Davis said.
Xavier basketball signee Jared Ridder scored 19 points in the final game of his high school career.
“It was a pride game. We just wanted to come out and get the win and end our seasons on a win,” Ridder said. “I just wanted to go out and play for my teammates because of all of the stuff that they’ve done for me.”
Kickapoo coach Dick Rippee didn’t see the second half of the game. Rippee was assessed two technical fouls in a span of nine seconds of game time in the 15th minute of the game and was ejected.
“As a coach, you never want to—the thing that hurts me the most about what happened to me personally, it’s not about me, was that I didn’t get to be out there with my guys the last half of their careers,” Rippee said. “That’s disappointing. I didn’t think it was deserving.”
Rippee received the first technical for protesting a foul called against Ridder, who was battling for position on the blocks as a Chaminade player shot a free throw.
“I just thought it was a ticky tack foul and so I said as much, and never used any curse words or anything like that,” Rippee said. “I just asked for an explanation, ‘Come over and tell me what I said,’ and that’s when he ejected me for asking for an explanation.”
Rippee has been a high school basketball head coach for a total of 12 seasons, and Saturday was the first time he has ever been ejected from a game.
With assistant coach Brad Brummel calling sets, Kickapoo went to the locker room at halftime trailing by a point.
“It kind of fired us up to see (Rippee) fight for us like that,” Ridder said.
Rippee had no way to watch the second half, so he turned to his daughter, University of Arkansas volleyball player and Kickapoo graduate Rachel Rippee. The coach estimates he received about 100 text messages in the second half.
“I was getting continual updates,” Rippee said. “My daughter is a text machine, I can tell you that. She’s texting away, adding little quips in there with her play-by-play.”
The Chiefs poured down 48 points in the second half. Donyae McCaskill finished with 11 points, senior Isaac Blakeslee scored 10, and Rutgers football signee Travis Vokolek scored a career-high 18 points.
“My daughter kept texting me, ‘Travis with a dunk. Travis with a dunk,’” Rippee said.
Kickapoo showed the sort of offensive balance Rippee believed in and felt went overlooked all season.
“There’s been a lot of attention on individuals and rightly so, I’m not saying they’re not deserving. I just think people missed out on the opportunity to get to know our team, because it’s a special team,” Rippee said.
In the past four years, Kickapoo’s boys basketball record stands at 100-18.
“It’s special for sure. We’ve been with these guys for four years, longer than that for some of us. A hundred wins? That’s incredible for a high school career,” Davis said.
Kickapoo’s seniors are Davis, Ridder, Vokolek, Blakeslee, Mitch Closser, Jackson Auer and Corey Dye. Davis hopes his class of seniors helped continue a proud tradition of basketball. He remembers watching the Chiefs play under Hall of Fame coach Roy Green as a youngster.
“I feel like we’ve created a standard here at Kickapoo that was set before we got here. As fourth-graders, we saw what they were doing and we wanted to be just like them. I feel like we added to the legacy of Kickapoo basketball,” Davis said.
Chaminade (24-7) carries a tradition with it as well. Under Drury University graduate Frank Bennett, the Red Devils have been to the semifinals for three years in a row and defeated Kickapoo in the state championship final in 2016. Reggie Crawford, a senior committed to play football at South Dakota, scored 41 points for Chaminade in his final game.
Bennett attributed key performances in the third-place game to seniority.
“The biggest thing is when players become seniors, something happens. They just—they want to win,” Bennett said. “Cameron Davis is a man. He’s a senior, and he played like it as well, and same with Jared Ridder.”
High school boys basketball Class 5 third place game
Kickapoo 89, Chaminade 78
At Mizzou Arena, Columbia
Kickapoo—Cameron Davis 29, Jared Ridder 19, Travis Vokolek 18, Donyae McCaskill 11, Isaac Blakeslee 10, Mitch Closser 2
Chaminade—Reggie Crawford 41, Luke Kasubke 9, Jericole Hellems 9, Dylan Branson 6, Keyyaun Batchman 4, Karrington Davis 4, Liam Courtney 3, Jadis White 2.
tdunhamusatodayFrom left, Kickapoo senior Cameron Davis, boys basketball coach Dick Rippee and senior Jared Ridder address reporters following an 89-78 win over Chaminade at Mizzou Arena Saturday, March 18, 2017.
Former University of Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk will try to make a stop in Springfield turn into a step toward the pros.
An agent and trainer representing Mauk released a statement on Twitter confirming Mauk’s pending pro day workout will be Friday, April 7 at 1 p.m. at Glendale High School.
Mauk will reportedly participate in “all pro day field drills and quarterback specific drills.” Event organizers hope to attract professional scouts.
Mauk started 22 of the 29 games he appeared in at Mizzou. He went a total of 346-of-657 passing (52.1 percent completion rating) for 4,373 yards, 42 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. Mauk also rushed for 737 yards and four touchdowns on 185 attempts.
Brian Martin CSCS (@Bmartinsports) March 21, 2017
Problems off the field plagued Mauk’s time in Columbia. Tigers coaches suspended Mauk three times in four months for unspecified violations of team rules. Mauk was dismissed from the team after a video surfaced of an unidentified person snorting a white substance. The unknown person who tweeted the video claimed it depicted Mauk.
With one year of eligibility remaining, Mauk went to Eastern Kentucky University in Pikeville, Kentucky as a grad student. His final college season was cut short by a shoulder injury and a concussion. He appeared in only two games.
Mauk’s connection to Glendale High School is through his family. Falcons football coach Mike Mauk recently completed his third season at Glendale. The Falcons were 11-1 and reached the Class 5 playoff quarterfinals. Maty Mauk’s older brother, former University of Cincinnati quarterback Ben Mauk, is a teacher and football offensive coordinator at Glendale.
Mauk’s quarterback coach, retired NFL veteran Jay Fiedler, will reportedly be in attendance at Glendale. Fiedler played eight NFL seasons, mostly with the Miami Dolphins. He passed for 11,844 yards and 69 touchdowns in his NFL career.
The workout also includes former Mizzou football players Bud Sasser, Darius White and Oke Akushe.
tdunhamusatodayThings aren't going entirely smoothly for QB Maty Mauk and the Mizzou Tigers. But the road should get easier this week at Kentucky.
News-Leader 2016-2017 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks Football
All players listed below are invited to attend the 2017 News-Leader Sports Awards, Thursday, June 8 at the Gillioz Theater in Springfield:
QB-Alex Huston, Glendale*
ATH-Chris Lawson, Kickapoo
RB-Michael Branch, Monett*
RB-John Berry, Lebanon
RB-Keegan Hoopes, West Plains
WR-Luke Montgomery, Glendale
WR-Jarrett Massie, Mt. Vernon
TE-Branson Emmert, Bolivar
OL-Grant Martin, Kickapoo
OL-Colton Skyles, Ava
OL-Rudy Tapia, Willard
OL-Cody Lanning, Ozark
OL-Austin Bradfield, Reeds Spring
K-Anthony Guynn, Fair Grove
DE-Jerrett Esposito, Greenfield
DE-Solomon Douglas, Ozark
DL-Will Anoa’i, Kickapoo
DL-Ben Lambton, Nixa
LB-Kyle Doran, Glendale
LB-Onis Howard, Monett
LB-Sam Gleason, Kickapoo
LB-Jaytin Gutierrez, Rogersville
DB-Korey Robinette, Reeds Spring
DB-Dalton Cloyd, Fair Grove
DB-Jack Ehrhardt, Lebanon
DB-Travis Vokolek, Kickapoo*
KR-Josh Powell, Hillcrest
P-Joshua Scheiderer, Kickapoo
QB-Garrett Hadlock, Mt. Vernon
ATH-Ian Meyer, Monett
RB-Nicos Oropeza, Nixa
RB-Shawn Bryan, Skyline
RB-Lane Loomer, Bolivar
WR-Jeremy Almeida, Glendale
WR-Andrew Montemayor, Mt. Vernon
WR-Luke Masters, Branson
OL-Colby Lathrop, Lebanon
OL-Collin Allen, Greenfield
OL-Martin Eidson, Willard
OL-Jace Wells, Springfield Catholic
OL-Garrett Presnall, Republic
OL-Daniel Terry, Fair Grove
K-Alex Locke, Glendale
DE-Ian Marshall, Glendale
DE-Elijah Evans, Strafford—
DL-Tucker Allred, Ash Grove
DL- Craigen Hatfield, Central
DL-Zach Howard, Bolivar
LB-Haaken Friend, Lighthouse Christian
LB-C.J. Loveall, Parkview
LB-Trayson Lawler, Strafford
LB-Josh Pipkin, Ash Grove
DB-Kenny Chambers, Willard
DB-Parker Soper, Ash Grove
DB-Andrew Montemayor, Mt. Vernon
DB-Tyson Riley, Springfield Catholic
P-Erik Savage, Hillcrest
KR-Corey Dye, Kickapoo
*denotes finalist for News-Leader Sports Awards 2016-2017 Football Player of the Year
Newly hired University of Missouri men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin just landed his first 5-star recruit.
Michael Porter Jr. announced his intent to play basketball for the Tigers on Friday afternoon. He shared a short message on Twitter and then tweeted a picture of himself jumping with a basketball in his hand while clad in a Mizzou uniform.
Michael Porter Jr. (@TheMPJ1) March 24, 2017
Porter played three seasons at Father Tolton Regional Catholic in Columbia, but most recently spent his senior year at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle, Washington. That’s because his father, former University of Washington men’s basketball assistant coach Michael Porter Sr., moved his family to the Pacific Northwest for his job.
The move impacted the lineup for the 2017 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in Springfield.
Washington fired coach Lorenzo Romar on March 15, which also put the elder Porter out of a job. Martin, who previously coached at Missouri State, Tennessee and California, was hired at Missouri the same day Romar was let go at Washington. Martin reportedly offered Michael Porter Sr. a job at Missouri.
The University of Washington granted Michael Porter Jr. a release from his National Letter of Intent to play for the Huskies, effectively reopening his recruitment.
Michael Porter Jr. (@TheMPJ1) March 24, 2017
Porter is the National Gatorade Player of the Year. He averaged 36.2 points, 13.6 rebounds and five assists per game and led Nathan Hale to an undefeated 29-0 season and a Class 3A state championship in Washington.
Porter has some ties to local players. He spent the previous summer playing in the Nike EYBL circuit with MoKan Elite, a team that included Kickapoo seniors Jared Ridder and Cameron Davis.
Congrats my man!! ✊🏼 twitter.com/thempj1/status…—
Jared Ridder (@jared_ridder) March 24, 2017
tdunhamusatodayMichael Porter Jr. tweeted March 24, 2017 that he hoped to play for a Missouri basketball team that could "restore the atmosphere at Mizzou Arena."
Cabool quarterback Logan Miller got a visit from an NFL Hall-of-Famer.
tdunhamusatodayPro Football Hall-of-Famer Aeneas Williams poses with Award for Excellence finalist Logan Miller at Cabool High School on Monday, March 27, 2017.Cabool High School senior Logan Miller (center) addresses the student body during an assembly in his honor featuring Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Aeneas Williams (right)
With a future so bright, it would be easy for Robbie Merced to look past his final season of high school baseball and think about playing for Missouri State University.
“A lot of people think that, but I’m just having fun in the moment right now,” Merced said.
The Kickapoo (4-0) senior shortstop with a fast glove and pop in his bat wants to help the Chiefs surpass his sophomore season of 2015, when they finished in third place in the Class 5 state tournament. He still recalls in detail a 5-2 loss to Nixa in the 2016 Class 5 District 11 championship that cut the Kickapoo season short at 24-8.
“We want to go far. Last year we were upset in the district finals, we definitely want to get back there,” Merced said.
Merced bats third in the Kickapoo order and leads the team in RBI. He is rated as the No. 38 baseball prospect in Missouri according to Prep Baseball Report. Merced signed a national letter of intent to play for Missouri State in November during the NCAA’s early signing window for baseball players.
Missouri State assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Nate Thompson likes Merced’s chances to prosper for the Bears.
“Obviously Robbie is a local product with great bloodlines. He has a great frame, and he’s been in our camps quite a bit, so we’ve seen him develop. He’s going to continue to grow into his frame and he has a bright future as a middle infielder,” Thompson said.
It’s hard to bring up Merced in a baseball conversation without mentioning his pedigree.
Merced’s father, Puerto Rican-born Orlando Merced, played 13 seasons of Major League Baseball for seven different teams from 1990 to 2003. Orlando Merced resides in Puerto Rico, where he is a coach, while Robbie Merced lives in Springfield with his mother.
Merced is also the great-grandson of Springfield resident Bill Virdon, who won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1955 with the St. Louis Cardinals. The 1962 Gold Glove-winning center fielder played 10 years in the majors with St. Louis and Pittsburgh. He immediately moved into coaching and worked his way up to spending 13 seasons as a Major League manager.
Merced showed off his range and quick fielding and throwing skills with six assists in a chilly 5-3, 11-inning marathon win over Ozark on Tuesday night at U.S. Baseball Park in Ozark.
Kickapoo coach Jason Howser commended Merced for his work ethic.
“Robbie is a tremendous athlete and a very good, obviously, shortstop. He’s really blossomed over the last year and a half and he just continues to get better and better,” Howser said.
Merced isn’t flashy or boisterous, he lets his play on the diamond speak for him. It adds up to some peace of mind for his coach.
“It’s nice when the ball is hit to the No. 6 hole that we know the majority of the time he’s got the range, the mobility and the arm to finish the play on the other end of it,” Howser said.
Ozark coach Mike Essick, who found himself on the losing end of Tuesday’s three and a half hour affair, also complimented Merced’s fielding. Essick is excited to see Merced move on to Missouri State, albeit for some pro-Ozark reasons.
“There’s no doubt about it, Robbie is a nice player,” Essick said. “He’s rangy, he’s quick. They’ve got a nice club, and they have had. Kickapoo, I don’t care, in all sports—they’re in a good run of talent right now. They have been for about three years now, so I hope the well goes dry after this year.”
Merced specialized in baseball for his first two years of high school, but made a return to football as a junior as a wide receiver. As a senior, he led the Chiefs in receiving with 47 receptions for 805 yards and seven touchdowns.
tdunhamusatodayKickapoo senior shortstop Robbie Merced jogs back to first base during a game against Ozark Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at U.S. Baseball Park in Ozark.
Southwest Missouri will be well represented in the 2017 class of the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Two high school coaches and one broadcaster with strong ties to the area will be inducted into the hall of fame, and longtime College of the Ozarks women’s basketball coach George Wilson will receive the organization’s top honor.
The Missouri Basketball Coaches Association will induct 2017 Hall of Fame class at a ceremony on Saturday, April 22, at 12 p.m. at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in Springfield. Tickets for the event may be purchased from the MBCA for $20 at the door. The Hall of Fame will open at 11 a.m. and lunch will be served at noon with the ceremony to follow.
C of O’s Wilson to receive lifetime achievement award
The highest honor given by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association, the Gary Filbert Lifetime Achievement Award, will be presented to former College of the Ozarks coach George Wilson.
Wilson was the women’s basketball coach for 16 years at College of the Ozarks, where his teams recorded 447 wins and 89 losses. In 2013, he reached the 1,000 win mark with his high school and collegiate records combined. Wilson was the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference (MCAC) Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year 10 times.
Wilson has won 13 MCAC women’s basketball regular-season titles and 15 women’s basketball conference tournaments titles. Prior to coaching at College of the Ozarks, Wilson coached high school boys’ basketball for 31 years. The College of Ozarks women’s basketball team has been the NAIA National Championship runner-up four times.
Hall of Fame inductees Shaw, Parrack and McClure
Ryan Shaw—Shaw was an all-state player for Clopton High School. He team lost the 1989 Class 1A state championship game to Scott County Central. He went on to play for Central College in Iowa, but a career-ending knee injury forced his move from player to coach.
Shaw coached at Bowling Green, Wright City and Warrenton until he moved to Springfield. Shaw spent time as an assistant at Parkview and the head boys basketball coach at Hillcrest. Shaw went on to have coaching stints at Potosi and Fulton.
Shaw died unexpectedly Aug. 21, 2015 of an aneurism. He was 43. Shaw was involved in the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association throughout his career and eventually served as its president. His wife, Lori, daughter, Kenzie, and son Jordan are honored by this tribute.
Craig Parrack—Parrack has coached boys and girls basketball at Wheatland, Climax Springs and Macks Creek. He spent 20 years at Climax Springs, where his teams made back-to-back state final appearances in 2000 and 2001, and Parrack won Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Class 1 Coach of the Year in 2001. He left coaching for three years to become the principal at Macks Creek, his alma mater.
Three seasons away from basketball proved three seasons too many for Parrack. He resigned as principal and was rehired to teach and coach girls basketball at Macks Creek in 2011. He continues to serve in that capacity.
Mike McClure (media)—A radio and television play-by-play announcer in southwest Missouri since 1985, Mike McClure has broadcast more than 3,300 sporting events. He is the president of McClure Broadcasting, LLC. He has broadcast 16 MSHSAA Championship events.
In addition to being the radio voice of the Missouri Southern State University Lions football and basketball games, McClure also works games for Mediacom in Springfield, the NAIA Men’s Division II National Basketball Tournament, Sirius Satellite Radio, Fox Sports Midwest.com and for the Missouri Valley Conference calling sporting events on ESPN3.
Additional MBCA 2017 Hall of Fame inductees:
Craig Engelbrecht, Eugene High School boys
Preston Thomas, Cardinal Ritter, Harlem Globetrotters, St. Louis Community College, New Orleans Pelicans
Dan Rolfes, Incarnate Word Academy
Mike Elliott, Macon, Kirksville, Clinton, Maysville, Lakeland, Odessa
Donnie Middleton (media), KNEM, Memphis
tdunhamusatodayCollege of the Ozarks women’s basketball coach George Wilson was a longtime high school coach in the area before taking the C of O job.Former Hillcrest Coach Ryan Shaw, right, died unexpectedly Aug. 21, 2015 at the age of 43. Shaw coached boys basketball at Hillcrest from 2003 to 2006.
The man who coached the Bolivar Liberators for 35 years has died.
tdunhamusatodayBolivar football coach Doug Potts gives instructions during a drill in a photograph from the 2000 season.Bolivar football coach Doug Potts coached the Liberators from 1966 to 2000.