Sunday, August 27, 2023

#1 Worth County falls short against #4 Platte Valley in a Top 5 8-Man battle

by Jeremy Benson,

Sponsored by

#4 Platte Valley 38 #1 Worth County 34

Friday morning, MSHSAA announced the districts for fall sports.  For football, #1 Worth County and #4 Platte Valley were both slotted into District 7.  What was already a big game to start the season suddenly took on greater significance.  The winner of this game would have the inside road to the #1 seed and home-field advantage throughout district play.  

Last season, Worth County knocked off Platte Valley in the District Semifinals before falling to eventual state champion North Andrew.  While both teams had some talented players graduate like all-staters Dylan McIntyre and Levi Cassavaugh from Worth County, and Carter Luke and Trevor Weir from Platte Valley, they are returning very deep and talented teams.  Worth County is picked by the coaches to win the GRC West this season, and both teams are picked by the media as Top 4 teams with Worth County at #1 and Platte Valley at #4.

Worth County received the opening kick of the game and wasted no time scoring.  On the second play of the game, Tyler New ran it in from 30 yards out.  A New to Grant McIntyre conversion made it 8-0 with 11:17 left in the first quarter.  After the Tigers stopped Platte Valley (insert mascot here), the Tigers were driving into Platte Valley territory again.  This time though, Platte Valley was able to stop Worth County on 4th down and inches.

Platte Valley was able to put together a drive and it looked like they were going to even the score, but after consecutive touchdowns by Lucky Ferry and Aydan Blackford were wiped off the board with penalties, they were stopped at the 2-yard line with 1:52 left in the first quarter.  Worth County held an 8-0 lead after one quarter of play.

In the second quarter, both teams picked up their scoring.  The Tigers extended their lead when New connected with McIntyre again.  This time on a 4th and goal from the 14 with 5:36 left.  The conversion was no good making it 14-0 Tigers.  However, Platte Valley would answer immediately.  Mason Casner's 45-yard TD run with 5:03 left made it 14-8 after the conversion.  Then Blackford would connect with Brandon McQueen with 1:03 left.  After a penalty on the conversion, Blackford scored from 8 yards out to make it 16-14.

Worth County wouldn't let Platte Valley have the momentum going into halftime.  They struck fast.  A 21-yard New to Bo Collins pass play put the Tigers in Platte Valley territory.  Then New connected with McIntyre from 19 yards with 11 seconds left.  However, Worth County was unable to convert which left the halftime score at 20-16 with the Tigers holding a slim lead.

In the second half, Platte Valley was able to answer quickly.  Blackford scampered down the field for a 63-yard TD run to put them back on top 24-20 with 10:31 left.  Worth County answered at the 8:00 mark on a New 14-yard run to make it 28-24.  But the lead only lasted one play.  Casner had another long touchdown run.  This time it was from 41 yards out.  Platte Valley led 32-28 with 7:41 left.  Platte Valley later extended the lead with 30 seconds left in the quarter on a QB keeper from Blackford.  They would go into the final quarter up 38-28.

In the 4th quarter, Worth County got to the 1-yard line on a long run by New.  But a penalty backed them up to the 6-yard line.  Two plays later, New was intercepted by McQueen in the end zone.  The Tigers still trailed by 10 with 9:19 left.

Platte Valley started to melt some time off the clock at that point.  Their ball-control offense looked like it might be able to run out the clock, but a bad snap exchange gave the Tigers new life.  Lucas Frisch recovered the fumble with 4:10 left.

Worth County was able to take advantage and cut the lead to 38-34 when Landon Wilmes scored on a 14-yard run with 2:21 left.  However, Frisch had scored a touchdown with 3:07 left, but a penalty negated the score.  After the touchdown, the onside kick was unsuccessful.  Platte Valley was able to run out the clock and secure the victory.

After the game, Clifton Grooms and I discussed the game on the GRC Podcast:

We also discussed the game on Clifton's podcast, Cliff Notes:

Here is the story from Maryville Forum Sports:

Here is the story from Sheridan Express

Here are my photos from the game:

Here are Clifton's photos from the game:

Here are Maryville Forum's photos from the game:

Here are Worth County Tiger Club's Photos of the Game:

Full video of game, courtesy of Missouri 8-Man Football Facebook:

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Grand River Conference West 8-Man Football Preview

by Jeremy Benson,

Sponsored by

Coaches Pre-Season Poll

GRC West and Missouri State 8-Man defending champion North Andrew Cardinals look to defend their respective championships this year.  But if they are to do so, they will have a tough road.  According to the coaches, they are picked to finish second in the GRC West.  Worth County Tigers are the coaches' pick to win the GRC West in 2023.  The Tigers won the GRC in 2021 but finished 3rd in a very competitive race last season.  North Andrew is picked to finish 2nd.

Here are the coaches' picks for the 2023 season for GRC West 8-Man:

Worth County

Worth County finished 9-3 and 4-2 in the GRC in 2022.  However, all 3 of their losses were by one score and went down to the final possession.  The season ended with a 40-38 thriller to eventual state champion North Andrew in the district championship game.  This season, the Tigers are the pick to dethrone the Cardinals in the GRC West and possibly for the state crown as well.

The Tigers lost some talented players including Levi Cassavaugh (1st Team All-Conference Running Back, Linebacker and Returner, 2nd Team All-State Linebacker), Dylan McIntyre (1st Team All-Conference Tight End and Kicker, 1st Team All-State Tight End), Jase Latham (1st Team All-Conference Defensive Lineman, 2nd Team All-State Defensive Lineman), Creed "Swampy" Wilcox (Hon Mention All-Conference Offensive Lineman), and Braxton Hightshoe.

Top players returning for Worth County include Tyler New (1st Team All-Conference Punter and Hon Mention All-Conference Quarterback & Defensive Back), Elias Alarcon (2nd Team All-Conference Offensive Lineman), and Grant McIntyre (2nd Team All-Conference Defensive Back)

They expect newcomers Bo Collins and Landon Wilmes to also contribute this season.

North Andrew

North Andrew won their 7th 8-man State Championship in 2022 and their 3rd GRC 8-man Championship.  They finished 13-0 and 6-0 in conference.  Last year's dream season will be a tough one to follow up for the Cardinals.  Coach Dwayne Williams is now retired, and his son, Dustin, has taken over.

The Cardinals will have to replace 10 seniors from last year's state champion.  Leading the seniors were two of the top players in the state in Hayden Ecker and Jacob Chittum.  Ecker was a 1st Team All-Conference Running Back and Defensive Back, 1st Team All-State Running Back and Defensive Back, and named MOFBCA Offensive Player of the Year in the State of Missouri.  Chittum was a 1st Team All-Conference Defensive End and Offensive Lineman, 1st Team All-State Defensive End and Offensive Lineman, 2nd Team All-Conference Kicker, and named MOFBCA Defensive Player of the Year in the State of Missouri.  Other top seniors include Aiden Miller (1st Team All-Conference Offensive Lineman, 1st Team All-State Offensive Lineman), Dawson Eychaner (1st Team All-Conference Linebacker, 1st Team All-State Linebacker, 2nd Team All-Conference Wide Receiver), Khizer Shunk (2nd Team All-Conference Offensive Lineman), Collin Patterson (1st Team All-State Defensive Lineman, 2nd Team All-Conference Defensive Lineman), Andrew Goff (1st Team All-State Hybrid, 2nd Team All-Conference DE/LB) and Gunner Lawrence (Hon Mention All-Conference Tight End).

However, at North Andrew, even when they lose ten seniors, they have talent behind them to reload.  They will be led by Quarterback Braxon Linville (1st-Team All-Conference All-Purpose Back, 1st-Team All-State Athlete).  Other players returning for the Cardinals include Payton Simmons (Hon Mention All-Conference Defensive Lineman), Avery Miller and Mathew Evans.

Top newcomers expecting to contribute are Blaise Patterson and Jaxon Richie.

New coach Dustin Williams expects the Cardinals "to stay healthy and work to compete for a conference title."


A young team and a difficult schedule meant a lot of growing pains for the Stanberry Bulldogs in 2022.  They finished 4-6 overall and 2-4 in conference.  The Bulldogs hope to improve on that this season.

Gone from Stanberry are Lance Wallace (All-District and 1st Team All-Conference DE/LB), Kaeden Showers (Hon. Mention All-Conference Offensive Lineman), and Gavin Cameron (Hon. Mention All-Conference Running Back and Defensive Lineman).

The Bulldogs will return star running back Tucker Schieber (2nd Team All-State, All-District, and 2nd Team All-Conference Running Back, 2nd Team All-Conference Defensive End), who rushed for over 1,300 yards last season.  In addition, Colby McQuinn will be back at quarterback.  Decker Heyde will also return.  

Newcomers that expect to contribute are Calvin Smithson, Reagan Heyde, and Colby McQueen.

Coach Shane Hilton expects the Bulldogs to be competitive within the conference and most likely to finish somewhere between the middle and the top half.


Albany's dream season last year fell victim to one of the toughest districts in 8-man state history.  After finishing the season 8-1 in the regular season and 5-1 in conference, they were seeded #5 in District 4 and had to play their first game on the road.  To add injury to insult, it was a rainy and sloppy night, and they were not able to overcome their mistakes falling to East Atchison 28-20.

It will be tough to duplicate this season with Kemper Cline (2nd Team All-State, 1st Team All-District, and 1st Team All-Conference Quarterback, 1st Team All-Conference Defensive Back) moving on to play at Upper Iowa.  Cline is not the only key player that Albany will have to replace.  Also gone from the Warriors are Truman Runnels (1st Team All-State, 1st Team All-District and 2nd Team All-Conference Linebacker, 2nd Team All-Conference Offensive Lineman), Porter Davis (1st Team All-Conference Wide Receiver, 2nd Team All-Conference Defensive Back, 2nd Team All-District Returner), Kyle Burke (2nd Team All-District and 2nd Team All-Conference Tight End, 2nd Team All-Conference Linebacker), Jerrid Bunten (2nd Team All-District and 1st Team All-Conference Defensive End, 2nd Team All-Conference Running Back), Cody Peery, Sam Miller, Troy Popplewell, and Alex Wilson.

Seth Miller earned 2nd Team All-Conference Defensive Linebacker last year and had 63 tackles with 7 for loss.  He is returning at OL/DL along with Kole Emerson at WR/DB, Quentin Hurkman at RB/DL and Bryce Martin at OL/DL.  Key newcomers include Kemper's brother, Chase, who will take over the quarterback duties, along with Andrew Wiles at OL/LB and Zane Rippy at TE/LB.

Coach Doug Fountain said, "We have a good group of players with experience in our system and who have worked hard to develop their talents.  Our success will hinge on our ability to grow into varsity roles and continue to develop as the season progresses."

King City

King City finished 7-4 overall and 3-3 in conference in 2022.  Their 4 losses were to 3 of the top 5 ranked teams in the state and the eventual State runner-up Bishop LeBlond.  However, they have a tall task of replacing 17 seniors from last year's team.

Key players that the Wildkats will miss include Chase Moss (1st Team All-Conference Offensive Lineman and Defensive Lineman, 1st Team All-State Offensive Lineman and Defensive Lineman), Ty Mooney (1st Team All-Conference Linebacker and 2nd Team All-Conference All-Purpose Back), Ron Pulliam (2nd Team All-Conference Returner and Hon Mention All-Conference Ron Pulliam), Landan Jackson (1st Team All-Conference Defensive End), Levi Hittle, and Jacob Boone (2nd Team All-Conference Defensive End).  

King City will have no returning starters from a year ago, so will be relying on almost entirely newcomers including Sophomore Graham Medsker RB/LB, Sophomore Ryder Sample RB/DB, Junior Darwin Bowden QB/DB, Junior Jaxzen Johnston OL/DL, and Sophomore Tucker Mollus TE/DE.  Only Johnston has varsity experience.  

Coach Micah Breckenridge said, "With no returning starters, we are looking to see how our young players develop throughout the season. We have a talented group of players, but their inexperience and youth at the varsity level will be in question.  We have a young, but talented group. We lost 17 seniors and only return 2 seniors this year. We will have all new faces on both sides of the ball who have
been working hard during the offseason to have a successful season."


Princeton finished 7th in GRC 11-man last season with a record of 1-7 overall and 1-5 in conference.  However, they were unable to finish the season due to a lack of available players.  This season, the Tigers are moving to 8-man with the hopes that they will be able to have the numbers to compete.  They begin their first season in the GRC West picked 6th by the coaches.

Andrew Rhoades leads the senior class that graduated last season.  Rhoades led the team in rushing yards and tackles and earned 2nd Team All-Conference honors at linebacker, Honorable Mention All-Conference at Athlete, and All-District at running back.  Other key players that the Tigers will miss include RB/LB Tyler Brown, and 3-starters on the offensive and defensive line - Jaden Finney, Hunter Foster, and Johannes Oaks. 

Princeton will have a lot of talent back this year that will give them a shot at competing against their new conference foes.  They will be led by WR/DL Talan Holt (All-District & 1st Team All-Conference Wide Receiver and All-District & Hon Mention All-Conference Punter), OL/DL Evan Houck (Hon Mention All-Conference Offensive Lineman) and WR/DB Kelby Thomas (All-District Wide Receiver).  Clay Evans returns as the quarterback in addition to linebacker.  Other returning players include OL/DL Nicholas Rubio, RB/DB Cooper Boxley, RB/DB Ethan Rhoades, and RB/LB Tyler Coffman.  

Newcomers for the Tigers this year are Navari Payton (from Mercer) and Payton Miller (from Newtown-Harris)

Coach Nathan Powell said, "Stepping into the premier 8-man league in the state and knowing the level of competition we will see from week to week is exciting for us.  There is definitely more enthusiasm from our athletes and a lot of anticipation from the community.  We've spent the summer trying to find ourselves so to speak and now that the season is upon us, we feel pretty confident in what we have settled into.  For the first time in several seasons, we have actual depth at each position which will help keep kids fresh and most importantly play a JV schedule to build experience and confidence in our younger kids.  We're going to work week to week to build confidence in our kids and get better at what we're doing.  We have yet to play an actual 8-man game, and we all still have plenty to improve on."


Pattonsburg was able to put up points on the board in 2022, but its inability to stop opposing teams was its downfall.  The allowed a conference-high 63.6 points per game en route to a 3-7 season and 1-6 in the conference.  The Panthers return a lot of talent this year in hopes to improve.

Gone from the team are Brody Langfitt (1st Team All-State, All-District, and 1st Team All-Conference Wide Receiver, 2nd Team All-Conference Defensive Back, KKWK All-Star Team) and Sam Coin (All-District and 2nd Team All-Conference Wide Receiver, All-State Academic Team).

Gage Iddings (All-District and 2nd Team All-Conference Quarterback, All-District and 2nd Team All-Conference Linebacker) hopes to have another strong campaign at quarterback this season.  Last year he threw for almost 3,000 yards (2,921).  In addition, he had 42 touchdown passes.  When you add in his rushing, he totaled 3,340 yards.  Pattonsburg also returns talented wide receivers Landon Preston, who had 388 yards receiving and 6 TD, and Daltyn Sperry with 156 yards.  Wyatt Maize will join the receiving core this year to give Iddings another target.  

Parker Virtue had a season-ending injury last season but will return for the Panthers this year.  Iddings and Preston were also key players on the Panther's defense as well.  


St. Joseph Christian started the 2022 season with a 25-game losing streak, so their first goal was to win a game to end that streak.  They were able to do that big when they defeated Northland Christian 68-0 in game 7 ending the streak at 31 games.  They finished the season 1-9 overall and 0-7 in conference.  The Lions will still be young again this year, but they gained a lot of experience with freshmen and sophomores getting a chunk of the playing time last season.

Jacob Clabaugh (2nd Team All-Conference Linebacker) is gone along with Kellen Dunn.  Returning for St. Joseph Christian will be Jaren Padgett (Hon. Mention All-Conference Defensive Lineman), Judson Smith, Vail Fruechting, Cy Carlson, Levi Miller, Logan Hubble, Peyton Hausman, Conner Wagers, and Aiden Martindell.  A top newcomer for the Lions will be Shaden Morris.

Coach Troy Schenk said he expects the team to take the next step at getting better and competing in the GRC.  He is excited for another season and continuing to build the SJCS football program.

Grand River Conference 11-Man Football Preview

by Jeremy Benson,

Sponsored by

Coaches Pre-Season Poll

Two-time defending GRC 11-Man Champion Gallatin Bulldogs look to make it three straight championships this year.  According to the coaches, they are the favorites to become the first GRC football team to capture back-to-back outright titles since Hamilton won four straight from 2008 to 2011.

Here are the coaches' picks for the 2023 season for GRC 11-Man:


Gallatin finished 10-1 in 2022, winning their 13th Grand River Conference football championship finishing 7-0.  It was their second consecutive championship.  They became the first team to win back-to-back outright titles since South Harrison in 2012 and 2013.  The Bulldogs defeated Putnam County in the district championship game before falling to eventual state champion East Buchanan 14-6 in the state quarterfinals.

Gallatin graduated a lot of talent, including Payton Feiden (1st Team All-Conference Athlete and Defensive Back), Draven Wright (1st Team All-Conference Running Back, Defensive Back, and Returner), Brett Hemry (1st Team All-Conference Defensive End, 2nd Team All-Conference Offensive Line), Isaac Bird (2nd Team All-Conference Wide Receiver and Defensive Back), Colt Baker (1st Team All-Conference Offensive Lineman and Hon Mention All-Conference Defensive Lineman), Logan Bottcher (1st Team All-Conference Linebacker and 2nd Team All-Conference Running Back), Gabe Parker (1st Team All-Conference Defensive Lineman), and Ethan Adkison (Hon Mention All-Conference Defensive End).

Despite the loss of talent, the coaches still believe the Bulldogs have enough talent to take home another title.  That starts at quarterback, where Peyton Baker (All-District and 1st Team All-Conference) will again be the signal caller for his senior season.  Offensive Lineman Keegan McBroom (All-District and 1st Team All-Conference) and Owen Waterbury (1st Team All-Conference Tight End) are the other returning starters on offense from last season.  Waterbury played tight end last season but will move to the offensive line in 2023.

Baker (Defensive Back) and McBroom (All-State and 1st Team All-Conference Defensive Lineman) also return as starters on defense in addition to offense.  Boston Bell (Hon Mention All-Conference Linebacker) and Jaden Wilson round out the returning starters on defense.

Newcomers that expect to contribute this year include Brody Bird (Running Back and Defensive Back), Stanley Hanson (Fullback and Defensive End), Magnum Fenimore (Offensive Lineman and Defensive End), and Marquise Nielsen (Defensive Back).  Waterbury will also be a first-time starter on defense at linebacker, and Wilson will be a first-time starter on offense at tight end.

Coach Chris Holt said, "We will need to stay healthy as our depth is not what it was a year ago.  We feel like we can have a very successful season."

Putnam County

Last year, Putnam County was picked to finish #7 in the preseason poll.  However, they surprised everyone (except probably Midget fans, players, and coaches) by finishing third with a 5-2 conference record.  Overall the Midgets finished 9-3 falling to Gallatin in the district championship game by the score of 21-7.  It was a game with a lot of missed opportunities by Putnam County.  

The Midgets will not sneak up on anyone this year, with the coaches selecting them to finish second in the preseason poll.  But like many in the conference, they will have to replace many talented players to challenge for the conference title.

Key Players that Putnam will need to replace include Blaine Perkins (2nd Team All-Conference Athlete and Linebacker, 1st-Team All-District Running Back, KRES All-Star Running Back, 3rd-Team All-State Running Back, and KMZU Dream Team), Jake Rouse (1st Team All-Conference Wide Receiver and Defensive Back, Hon Mention All-Conference Kicker, and All-District Defensive Back), Chase Tomlin (1st Team All-Conference and 2ndTeam All-District Running Back), Brayden Walter (1st Team All-Conference and 1st Team All-District Offensive Lineman, Community Service All-State Team, and KMZU Dream Team), Vincent Jones (1st Team All-Conference Tight End and 2nd Team All-Conference Defensive End), Chase Simmons (2nd Team All-Conference Linebacker), Hunter Grabill (2nd Team All-Conference Offensive Lineman), and Josh Myers (Hon Mention All-Conference Offensive Lineman).

Quarterback Trace Riediger (2nd Team All-Conference) will return as the signal caller for the Midgets for his senior season.  Riediger threw for over 1,000 yards and 10 TDs in 2022.  Jude Watt (Fullback) and Tristen Hendee (Running Back) will return with Riediger in the backfield this season.  Joining them as returners on offense will be Offensive Lineman Reed Valentine and Mason Robinson, Tight End Kollin Huse, and Fullback Cole Moss.  Watt was also an all-district and honorable mention all-conference returner last season.

All but Riediger will also play key roles on defense, with Valentine, Robinson and Hendee (2nd Team All-Conference) at defensive line, Watt (2nd Team All-Conference) at defensive back, and Huse and Moss at linebacker.  Watt also earned Honorable Mention All-Conference at Returner.

Newcomers that expect to contribute for Putnam are sophomores Treven Riediger (RB/LB), Angstrom Watt (RB/LB), Bentley McCormack (OL/DL), Logan Jones (TE/DL), Riley Ayers (WR/DB), and Trace Hailey (RB/DB)

Coach Adam Huse said, "Our seniors from last year help to set the standard of what we want Putnam County Midgets football to be doing forward. Every Friday night we hope to play a physical smash-mouth style of football game that relies on running the football and playing great defense. If we are able to achieve this we should be competitive in every game we play this year.  Our goal is as always to compete for Conference Championships and District Championships and to be playing meaningful football in November."


Milan started off last year losing 4 of their first 6 games but ended with 4 straight wins before falling to Putnam County in the district semifinals.  They were 6-5 overall and 4-3 in the GRC finishing in 4th place.  The coaches have picked them to finish one spot higher in 2023.

Milan graduated Daren Doporto (2nd Team All-Conference Defensive Line and Hon Mention All-Conference Running Back), Jeremy Bennett (All-State and 1st Team All-Conference Defensive Back and Hon Mention All-Conference Wide Receiver), Garrett Mosely (2nd Team All-Conference Offensive Lineman), Chase Jacobs (Hon Mention All-Conference Defensive Line), and Christian Chaparro (1st Team All-Conference Kicker)

Just like the first two teams, Milan also returns their signal caller with Ahmet Niasse coming back at quarterback for his senior campaign.  In addition to playing quarterback, Niasse is a talented linebacker, having earned All-State and 1st-Team All-Conference honors at that position.  He contributed over 1,000 total yards of offense and 13 touchdowns at quarterback while recording over 100 tackles on defense.

Also, returning for the Wildcats are LB/RB Carlos Cotto (2nd-Team All-Conference Running Back), Kamden DeRyke at LB/TE, Jose Garcia at OLB/FB, Keaton Weter at safety, and four different linemen who all saw starting time at some point in Caleb Pearce, Troy Aldridge, Santiago Osorio, and Tony Linhart.  Eddy Garcia will return in the secondary, but also saw time as kick returner as well.  He will see a larger role in the running and receiving game this year with the departures of Doporto and Bennett.

Coach Mark Cole said, "Our expectation is to compete with the upper echelon, improve every week in preparation for a postseason play, and hopefully deeper into November."


Trenton had their best season since joining the GRC in 2016.  Their 2022 campaign ended with a record of 8-2 and 6-1 in conference finishing in 2nd place.  With the loss of a talented senior class, the coaches expect a drop-off this season.  The Bulldogs are picked to finish 4th in the preseason poll.

Sam Gibson (1st Team All-Conference Running Back and 1st Team All-Conference Linebacker) leads the group of seniors that will be difficult to replace.  He is joined by Dylan Spencer (2nd Team All-Conference Offensive Lineman), Tim Kempton (2nd Team All-Conference Defensive End), Ian Elbert (2nd Team All-Conference Linebacker), Tucker Otto (2nd Team All-Conference Defensive Back and Hon Mention All-Conference Wide Receiver), Coleman Griffin (2nd Team All-Conference Punter and Hon Mention All-Conference Quarterback) as players that will be difficult to replace.

Key players returning for the Bulldogs are Gave Novak (2nd Team All-Conference Running Back, Defensive Back, and Returner) and four players on the offensive line - Riley Gott, Gabe Stark (Hon Mention All-Conference Offensive Lineman and 1st Team All-Conference Defensive Lineman), Collin Taylor, and Gavin Cagle (1st Team All-Conference Offensive Lineman and Defensive End)

Coach Kevin Hixson said, "We lost a good group to graduation but have high expectations for this year's squad. I think we had a great offseason and just need to go out and compete."


Maysville got off to a good start in 2022 winning 4 of their first 6 games.  However, a tough schedule down the stretch led to a 4-game losing streak culminating in back-to-back losses to Milan to end the season.  They finished 4-6 with a 3-4 record in conference.  The coaches expect them to finish in 4th place this year which matches their position from a year ago.

If the Wolverines hope to improve on those expectations, they will need to replace talented players in Konnor Watkins (1st Team All-Conference Offensive Lineman and All-District & 2nd Team All-Conference Defensive Lineman), Kaleb Jestes (All-District and 2nd Team All-Conference Linebacker), Spencer Pliley (Hon Mention All-Conference Running Back), and Emmett Wade.

Maysville will welcome back a lot of players from last season starting with their quarterback.  Kris Gabbard returns as behind center for the Wolverines.  He threw for 470 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2022.  He will be joined by Coy Sobotka (All-District and 1st Team All-Conference Linebacker) who had 84 tackles with 23 tackles for loss, and Dillon Willis (All-District & 2nd Team All-Conference Defensive End and Hon Mention All-Conference Tight End) with 14 TFL with 5 sacks.  Other returners include Max Heintz (2nd Team All-Conference Kicker), Kobyn Metzger (Hon Mention All-Conference Wide Receiver), Tanner Evans, Kendrick Gabbard, Brock Windham, and Draken Bennett.

Isaac Perkins is a newcomer that is expected to get playing time at wide receiver, running back and defensive back.

Coach Chris McMillen said, "We have several players returning with game-time experience and a firm grasp of our expectations. We hope to continue to grow and develop as a team. The GRC is a tough, tough conference and we want to be in the mix at the top."


Polo started the season with two non-conference wins, and things were looking up.  They then ran into Maysville in their GRC opener and fell 30-6.  Polo would lose all seven conference games scoring a single touchdown in every game.  They finished the season 2-8 and 0-7 in conference.  

This season, the coaches expect them to improve on the standings a bit by picking them 6th in a (now) 7-team conference.  The Panthers will have plenty of returning players this season to try to move up in the standings.  They lose Ty Claypole (Hon Mention All-Conference Linebacker, KMZU Dream Team), who led the team in tackles, and Lucas Curp, who provided a steady hand in the backfield.  

Like most of the GRC, the Panthers return their quarterback this season.  Maverick Gentry will return for his junior campaign.  Last year, he passed for over 1,200 yards and 9 touchdowns while rushing for over 500 yards.  Gentry is a versatile player that also earned All-Conference honors at punter (1st Team) and defensive back (Hon Mention).  Other honors for Gentry last year include All-District Quarterback and Punter, 2nd Team All-State Punter, KMZU Dream Team and KKWK top 50 area team.

Other top players returning this season for Polo are WR/DB Ayden Baker (All-District & 2nd Team All-Conference Wide Receiver and Defensive Back), TE/LB Gage Gilbert (All-District & 2nd Team All-Conference Tight End), OL/DL Hunter Harris (Hon Mention All-Conference Offensive Lineman), and RB/LB Tommy Ross (All-District Linebacker)

Sophomores Dalton Gatrel RB/LB, Owen Horner RB/DB, and Cody Zeigler OL/DL will be new starters that will have an opportunity to have an impact for the Panthers.

Coach Kyle Ross said, "We were extremely young last year and it reared its ugly head in a couple of our games that came down to the last series or two.  Hopefully, those situations will help us be more prepared this year to win close games.  Our last game of the season was arguably our best game last year, and we need to build off of that experience.  We will still be a small team, but I think we are going to get back to playing as hard as we possibly can and that will keep us competitive.  I think that our passing game will continue to improve and that will also create more running lanes for our rushing attack.  Defensively we are going to try and compensate for our lack of size with tenacity to the football."

Coach Ross also wanted Panther fans to know that they are currently working to establish new handicap-accessible restroom facilities within their athletic facility.

South Harrison

South Harrison football is not used to losing seasons.  Last year's 2-8 season, including 2-5 in conference, was their first losing record overall in five years and the first time they finished below. 500 in conference since 2016.  The Bulldogs are trying to avoid a second consecutive losing campaign this year, but the coaches are not expecting them to improve on last season's record.

They will be only one of two GRC teams that will have to replace their quarterback this season with the graduation of Jad Cornett.  Other key players that they will have to replace are Grant Williams (2nd Team All-Conference Linebacker) and Beau Rainey (1st Team All-Conference Defensive End and 2nd Team All-Conference Offensive End).

Top returning players for South Harrison include Braxton Booth, Briar Hudlemeyer, Jarrett Eivins, Cooper Johnson, Crae Coffey, and Ruger Johnson.  

Some newcomers will get the opportunity to play under the lights this year including Joel McCall, who was a very good two-way player in 2022, and Mason Galloway, who has the potential to be the go-to guy at running back.

Coach Chris Schoning said, "My expectations this season are for us to get better each game. We will have a young group but it’s a group that loves football and loves working to get better."