Closer

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Every day in every way we get a little better. The boys have heard this over and over again, and the last two weeks were proof of it. Last week especially. Your Fighting Colonels were oh so close to tasting a well earned victory, but a late charge by Grandview team would keep them from a loss on their Homecoming night.

And to be honest, despite the final score of 29-22, it was one of the most fun games I have ever had the privilege to be around. It was everything that was great about high school football. Intensity, passion, brotherhood, emotion and good, clean hard hitting football.

MMA Got on the board first with a TD strike from emerging Junior Steven Prinster to Dillion Dawson.

After an answer by Grandview, Prinster struck again, this time to Senior WR TJ Daniels for a 40yd TD.   The Colonels led at half 14-8. With the Colonels Trailing 21-14 at the beginning of the 4th, Senior Jacob Priester intercepted a Grandview pass to and on their next drive, Ivan Quiroz Sacked the Grandview QB to bring his overall sack total to 6.

With 6:50 left in the game, MMA began a drive at its own 40 yard line. Tough running by Alex Wilson and Michael Maddox moved the ball down to the 20 yard line. On 4th and 1 and no choice but to go for it, Steven Prinster rushed for a 3 yard gain and a new set of downs.  With 1:20 on the clock Alex Wilson Punched in a 3yd run to bring the Colonels within 1, 21-20. Earlier in the drive I had decided, after conferring with our coaches, that we would indeed go for the lead instead of the tie. Running behind great blocking from Gerardo Guerrero, Jacob Priester, Marcelo Gomez, and Julio Romero, Alex Wilson pounded it in for a MMA 22-21 lead.

Unfortunately, Grandview rallied in the last minute and scored on a 1yd qb sneak. However there were untold positives that came out of this game.

  1. The boys were faced with adversity, did not wilt and converted under pressure multiple times.
  2. They had their first real taste of success, both with a lead and coming from behind.
  3. They played as a team, with great blocking and gang tackling.
  4. They celebrated, not just individually, but together as a team.
  5. They lead a group prayer after the game, with Grandview (something that several opposing players and coaches thanked us for).
  6. They played with class, respect and great sportsmanship.

It is easy to tell someone something, but if they don’t believe it, it can fall on deaf ears. I believe that after last week the boys are truly believing that they can be a good team. They know they can play defense, and now they believe they can score.  Better yet, they are starting to trust and believe in each other.

This week will be Homecoming week for your Fighting Colonels. The team will face a 3-1 Principia team fresh off a loss on Saturday. Expect Principia to blitz from anywhere and everywhere defensively and MMA to get a heavy dose of their QB, #7 running the ball. It should be a fairly evenly matched game and the boys are excited to show off infront of 300 friends, family and alumni.

ON ACADEMY!

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50/50

Alex Wilson '15 Has another productive carry vs. Van Var.

Alex Wilson ’15 Has another productive carry vs. Van Var.

Last week was excellent. Last week was very tough. Great performance of talent and great fight and effort. Poor execution and too many mistakes. It was very much a 50/50 game.  And as this game often does, it very much mirrored life.  We know mistakes will happen, but it is our reaction to those mistakes that defines the person that we are and how our character develops. 

Against Van Far, the coaches, the fans, the corps and most importantly; the players saw what happens when you “leave it all on the field.” They never quit, they fought valiantly, and in all honesty they played with more determination than I have seen to this date.  It was a tremendous lesson in what continued hard work and effort can do.  The way they practiced translated into the way they played. The greater effort as the game wore on led to a defensive shutout in the second half. Players begging to not come off the field so that they could fight one more play.  In a word, it was AWESOME. 

However, the players also saw how simply physical effort does not yield ultimate success. A forty yard run is no good without maintaining possession of the ball. A diving tackle shouldn’t be the positive when you were out of position and the result should have never happened.  Much like life, it simply does much less good to run into a wall over and over when all we had to do was use our mental strength and open the door.  If you continually have good and then equally as bad it will average out to a net gain of zero. I believe the players saw the difference last week, and based on this weeks practice I am excited to see the result. 

This week your Fighting Colonels will travel to the NE Missouri river town of Winfield. The Warriors come in with a 1-1 record and are anxious to recover from a 42-0 loss against local rival Bowling Green. Look for the Warriors to stack the box defensively with 7 and sometimes 8 players to stop the emerging ground game of MMA.  Expect many carries from the Colonels stable of RB’s including Alex Wilson ’15, Michael Maddox ’17, Austin Rexroad ’17 and Dillion Dawson ’14 following behind the strong OL led by Center Andrew Field ’15 and Guards Marcelo Gomez ’14 and Jesus Herrera ’14. 

Offensively, expect a no-huddle, hurry up spread offense from Winfield. They will look to challenge the conditioning of MMA using 4 WR sets and a fast pace. Your Colonels Defense will try to keep up with great athletes like LB Hugh Harris ’15, LB Julio Romero ’15 and DB Jon Johnston ’14.

 

Last Weeks Standouts:

#55 Nathan Field ’15 Center/MLB-13 tackles, 1 sack and was the highest graded player on the team. Excellent effort and execution. 

#15 Alex Wilson ’15 RB/SS-6 Tackles, 82 yds rushing (another 60 negated by penalties).

#52 Ivan Quiroz ’14 DE-5 tackles, 3 sacks. Tremendous effort and leadership.

#42 Jacob Priester ’14 TE/DE-Overwhelming blocking and leadership throughout game.

#75 Gerardo Guerrero ’14 LT/DT-Graded out 2nd highest on team, was a dominating force on the OL and continually created havoc on defense.

 

ON ACADEMY!

#NoWhiteFlags!

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Friday Night Lights

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Friday nights. The start of fall. Excitement in the air. Nervousness. Anxiousness. The sounds of whistles and the announcer and hitting. Traditions. Lacing up your shoes just right. The walk to the field. The National Anthem. The cheer of the crowd. Game time.

There is nothing quite like high school football. Boys acting like young men. Young men acting like boys.  The energy they display and the passion they have. The Band of Brothers they play for.  There is nothing quite like it.  For most of these young men, they will be lucky to play 20 games of high school ball in their life. For a selected few, maybe 35 games. And for the very rare, 4 or 5 will get to play in college. But for all, these Friday night games are something special. Something they dream about. Something that they remember when they are 80 years old.

Tomorrow night before the game, we will speak to our boys about the Traditions of 125 years here. The thousands of men that came before them, who represented this Academy and who they now play for. We will speak to them about playing with passion and courage and joy.  We will encourage them to play with their hearts and for their brothers and for all those who cannot play this special game.  And they will. It will be a great day and night at MMA.

This weeks opponent will be the Van-Far Indians. They are from 30 miles east of us and a collective of the rural towns of Vandalia and Farber. Several young men from the Community R-III school outside of Laddonia will suit up for them due to a cooperative agreement as well.  Van-Far is coming off a loss against a very strong Christian High team. However, the Indians have several playmakers and will prove to be a very formidable opponent. Offensively their spread offense will be led by their QB #2 Lucas Robinson. The Junior will pass and run and will carry a large part of the load for them. He  will look to get the ball to speedster RB #1 Sharrod Connor and Senior FB #33 Logan Boyd in the running game and look for tall WR #5 Brett Hubert to try to make a play downfield in the passing game.

Defensively they are led by Robinson at OLB and Senior Defensive End #55 Kyle Decker, a 215lb one man wrecking crew. Containing those two will be the immediate focus of the Colonels.

For your MMA Fighting Colonels, expect to see a heavy dose of the ground game out of the pro set. RB’s Alex Wilson, Michael Maddox, Corry Tega, Austin Rexroad and Adam Schmitz should have plenty of carries and chances to break out into the open running behind the big and strong line of Gerardo Guerrero, Jesus Herrera, Andrew Field, Marcelo Gomez and Aubrey Davidson. The strong ground attack should set up the passing game and some big plays for receivers TJ Daniels, Dillion Dawson, Jacob Priester and Hugh Harris. Dawson will be the shortest at 5’11, but he pairs it with tremendous athletic ability. The other three are all above 6’1 and make excellent targets for our quarterbacks.

Defensively, I expect a great game our of our defensive line. With our 4 down lineman in our 4-2-5 base defense, it is their responsibility to create pressure and contain on the outside. Ends Quiroz and Priester along with Tackles Gomez, Wei, Guerrero, Herrera, and Lazcano should be up to the task and allow the secondary and linebackers to make plays in the cover 3 scheme.

This should be a great game Friday, with the Colonels looking to exact revenge for last years loss to the Indians, plus the excitement of the beginning of the season.  We are excited to finally get going!

ON Academy!

#NoWhiteFlags

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MMA Football Positional Preview

 

IMG_0917This has been a long grind of an off-season and pre-season, and these young men are chomping at the bit to finally quit hitting each other, and compete against someone else.

This years squad will have quite a few familiar faces with over 20 returning players, including many returning varsity starters. Along with them, there are another 30 young men suiting up bringing the eligible number of players to 52 total for this season. This bodes well for MMA as we have greater depth AND experience than we have had in several years. Below is a quick synopsis of what to expect at each position for MMA on the gridiron this year.

QB-Returning Starter Connor Wilkinson returns for his senior year to help lead the Colonels. After establishing a connection last year with Nick Vanatta (Currently playing football for Northwestern Oklahoma State University), Connor will look to spread the ball around to a much improved WR corps. Eddie Geernaert is another returning senior with a very capable skill set who will not only back up Connor, but will most likely see the field a fair amount based on his performance throughout camp. Junior Steven Prinster will lead the JV as he is being groomed to be the starter in 2014.

RB-The Colones have added quite a bit of talent and explosiveness in the back field. Newcomers Alex Wilson (JR) and Michael Maddox (FR) run violently and very hard and will most likely see the bulk of the carries. Maddox is an accomplished player and a bruiser at 6’1, 220 lbs. While Wilson will dazzle more with his speed and agility. But the stable is deep and several others will vie for touches and will see playing time including Josh Pearson (SR), Julio Romero (JR), Shane Finney (12),  Derek Ryan (JR), Corry Tega (SO), Adam Schmitz (JR), Cody Allen (SO) and the young but talented Austin Rexroad (FR). Keep your eye open for returning starter D’Cherion Owens (JR) as well, as he can line up at any skill position on offense and is a great weapon to have.

WR/TE-Returning Starter and Captain Jacob Priester (Sr) will once again help lead the the passing attack. The 6’2, 200lb TE will be a beast on the line, and create match-up problems when flexed out. Along side at TE will be the versatile D’Cherion Owens (So).  The receiving corps received a boost with the addition of 6’3 TJ Daniels (SR) and the return of talented and speedy Dillion Dawson (SR) and Hugh Harris (JR).  Others expected to push for playing time and who have the ability to produce are Vincent Burke (JR), Max Broughton (JR), Carlos Nieves (SR), and Austin Rexroad (FR).

OL-Size AND Experience will be the hallmark of this years offensive line. Two newcomers with several years of experience will join three returning starters. Aubrey Davidson (SR) returns and can play any position on the line, along with two 250 pounders, Jesus Herrera (SR) and Marcelo Gomez (SR). Joining them will be Newboy Andrew Field (JR) and Gerardo “Big G” Guerrero (SR), a 6’5, 280LB tackle who will most likely draw a ton of recruiting interest this fall.  Backing them up will be versatile Ivan Quiroz (SR), Austin “Bobo” Bohannon (JR), Colotn Helvie (SO), David Lazcano (SO) and Guanging Wei (JR).

DL-The D-Line will see many faces this year as we look use our depth to our advantage. Returning Starter and MFCA 1st Team All District player Ivan Quiroz (SR) will lead a unit full of speed and experience including returning starters Jacob Priester (SR), D’Cherion Owens (Jr), Marcelo Gomez (SR), and buoyed with other rotation guys including David Lazcano (SO), Guanging Wei (JR), Remington Zhang (JR), Jesus Herrera (SR), Josh Paley (JR), Kane Anderson (JR) and Juan Ramon Flores (JR).

LB-The Linebacking Corps should be a significant strength for this years Colonels.  Led by 3 Juniors and a Freshman, all with formidable football experience and a bit of a collective bad temperament.  Michael Maddox (FR) and Andrew Field (JR) will police the middle of the field from while rangy OLB’s Hugh Harris (JR) and Alex Wilson (JR) look to keep the edges on lockdown. Those talented athletes will be backed up by some green, but very talented players including Julio Romero (JR), Corry Tega (SO), Vincent Burke (JR), Derek Ryan (JR), Adam Schmitz (JR), and led by the steady Aubrey Davidson (SR).

DB-Under the direction of Dr. “Doc” McDonald, the secondary had a great off-season and camp. It returns two starters, Dillion Dawson (SR) and Jon Johnston (SR) who will take charge of the back end of the defense. FS Max Broughton is a new comer who earned the starting spot with his smart and savvy play. Quinton Heasler (SO) also has earned his reps with his “bulldog” temperament and commitment to improvement. Others who figure to see plays contributing are Cody Allen (SO), Josh Pearson (SR), Austin Rexroad (FR), and probably the hardest working player we have, Yun il Jeon (SO).

K/P-Punting duties will once again be covered by three sport standout Jacob Priester (SR). Kickoff duties will be handled by strong legged soccer player Byron Amidon (SO), while the FG and PAT role will fall to the accurate David Lazcano (SO).

Ret- Returning duties will be handled by a mix of players, all of whom have good hands and the ability to break for a big gain at any time. These game changers should be exciting to watch: Dillion Dawson (SR), Josh Pearson (SR), Jon Johnston (SR), Alex Wilson (JR) and Austin Rexroad (FR).

 

Tomorrow-A Preview of the MMA vs. Van Far Indians

 

 

 

 

 

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And So It Begins

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What a phenomenal off-season for the MMA Fighting Colonels football team. A very brief recap:

  • Nick Vanatta received a scholarship and committed to play football from Northwestern Oklahoma State University. He will report Sunday, Aug 12.
  • Leo Lozano was selected to play in the DownUnder Bowl in Australia and he represented MMA very well there in July.
  • 12 Senior Cadets graduated and will be attending the following colleges:
  1. Blake Bibles-University of Oklahoma
  2. Jason Boisseau-Texas Tech University
  3. Emeterio Gomez-Universidad de Monterrey
  4. Oscar Gutierrez-South Texas College
  5. Patricio Herrera-Universidad de Monterrey
  6. Leonardo Lozano-Universidad de Monterrey
  7. Kurtis Mennemeier-Westminster College
  8. Christopher Nguyen-The Citadel
  9. John O’Leary-Spring Hill College
  10. Ethan Rachell-United States Marine Corps
  11. Nicholas Vanatta-Northwestern Oklahoma State University
  12. Gilberto Villarreal-Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey
  • As a group, those young men earned $109,400 dollars in academic and athletic scholarships.

May of our cadets excelled in the class room and on the field this past spring as well. A few notable accomplishments:

  • Connor Wilkinson ’14 represented MMA at the 2013 National Future Business Leaders of America National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Ca.
  • Jacob Priester qualified for the State Wrestling Tournament.
  • Track MVP honors and Most Outstanding Awards went to Hugh Harris ’14, DC Owens ’15 and Leo Lozano, respectively.
  • Cadet Leaders for the 2013-2104 academic year were announced. An impressive amount of football players on the list: Battalion Sargent Major-Jacob Priester ’14, Battalion S1-Nicholas Mabbs ’14, Battalion S2-Jesus Herrera ’14, Battalion S5-Dillon Dawson, Charlie Company Commander-Emilio Cueto ’14, Delta Company Commander-Brennan Darnall ’14, and Drum Major, DC Owens ’15.
  • Three our of the five cadets inducted into the National Honor Society were football players; Jacob Priester ’14, Nicholas Mabbs ’14 and Jesus Herrera.
  • Cadet Awards were presented with the following players earning achievements:
  1. William S. Lowe Trophy, presented to the senior showing the greatest all-around development-Ethan Rachell ’13
  2. Senator Christopher F. Bond Award for Most Effective Cadet Council Member-Nocholas Mabbs ’14
  3. LT Governor Joe Maxwell Community Service Award, presented to the cadet who has given of his personal time to help others-Blake Bibles ’13
  4. Fritsch Plaque for the 11th grade cadet who exemplifies honor, good discipline, academic excellence and service to MMA-Jacob Priester ’14
  5. Don Hooton Fellowship Cup, presented to the student voted by the high school corps to be the most valuable to the instituition-Emeterio Gomez ’13
  6. Eugene Lamm Memorial Award, presented to the most improved ESL student-Guaning Wei ’15
  7. Lyle C. Wilson Journalism Award-Dillion Dawson
  8. 2013 Superior Military Cadet-Jacob Priester ’14
  9. United States Army Recruiting Command Award for JROTC-Jacob Priester ’14
  10. Daedalian JROTC Medal-Ethan Rachell ’13
  11. National Sojourners Award, Presented for encouragement and demonstration of Americanism within the Corps of Cadets and on campus-Jon Johnston ’14
  12. Daughters of the American Revolution History Medal-Aubrey Davidson ’14
  13. Daughters of the American Revolution Medal-Blake Bibles ’13
  14. Plaque for Outstanding MMA Athlete-Nicholas Vanatta ’13
  15. Babe Ruth Sportsmanship Award-Gilberto Villarreal ’13
  16. Joe D. Bailey Award for Most Dedicated Varsity Athlete-Patricio Herrera
  17. Red Ireland Trophy for a Fighting Heart, presented to the varsity athlete who never gives up-Emeterio Gomez ’13
  18. Class of 1968 Freshman Leadership Award-Byron Amidon ’16
  19. Jon Johnston ’14 won the Annual Wallace-Frye public speaking competition.

We are continually proud and impressed by the growth and excellence of the young men here, football boys included.

I will include another post prior to this weekend regarding the 2013 squad, the new players, the returning players and a season outlook.

Till then…

On Academy!

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Protecting what is valuable

Why is it that so often we take for granted the most valuable aspects of our lives? Relationships, families, our health, our employment, our time? It seems so easy to gloss over these important aspects of our lives sometimes.  And it is not that we necessarily intend to minimize their importance all of the time. However, sometimes conscious decisions are made to put more emphasis on the trivial, the fleeting, the self gratifying.  When this is done it devalues what is important.

In football there are three basic tenets. Block well, tackle well and above all else secure the football.  To be successful at this game those three must have the greatest value.  They are the core of success. Other important aspects have a factor in being successful; throwing, catching, camaraderie  but in the “hierarchic of value”  of football, those three rein supreme especially protecting the football.   And I can hear the argument now..”but Coach, shouldn’t effort be the most important?” My response would simply be that effort without direction is mostly pointless.  One could be the best snow shoveler in Florida but what purpose does that really serve.

Last week your Colonels faced a very solid St. Paul Lutheran squad out of Concordia, Mo. While our boys played most of the game with great effort, we did not value the football and ended up with far-far too many turnovers. A young team such as ours cannot expect to have success without retaining the ball against such a good opponent. 

This week we will face an undefeated California, Mo team that is ranked #1 in our district. It should pose a formidable challenge but it also a tremendous opportunity  This will be the first playoff game, on the road, and with it being against a #1 seed, will truly be a test of our character. I am anxious to see our boys approach the game with focus, confidence and knowing what to value. Thursday nights game can be another positive step in the direction of this program.

Lastly, I wanted to share some thoughts that were shared with your boys this week from MMA Alumnus Paul Petit ’85:

“At the end of the day, when you are about to close your eyes, ask yourself, these two simple questions:

·        Did I do my best….. ?   

·        Could I have done it better…. ?”  

If we can answer that in the affirmative then we will know we have been a success.

ON ACADEMY!

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Embracing Adversity

Challenging, difficult, tough.  The conditioning, changes in weather, injuries large and small, eligibility issues and losses all take a toll. That is a normal football season for most teams, coaches, and players. For your young men at MMA it generally is even tougher than most. The early wake ups, the inspections, leadership opportunities, being led by your peers, the multiple-multiple time demands, the rigid academics, being away from home, shortened and condensed practice schedules. All of these contribute to a difficult environment.

AND THAT IS NOT A BAD THING!

That is what we want. What we desire for these young men. We want them put in challenging situations so that they can learn to excel. We want them to do tasks faster, better, cleaner and more correct than their peers. We expect them to achieve a higher standard in what they do. This is why high school Academies such as MMA exist. It is why the service academies and military colleges have continually produced leaders over the past 150 years. Because we not only demand excellence, but we teach our cadets how to embrace adversity.

Adversity is not something to shy away from. When presented it should be ran at full throttle, given a bear hug and thrown to the ground with confidence!  Flinching and floundering when the task at hand is difficult is commonplace. Any soul can do that. What we want is our young men to attack the challenge, knowing full well that each challenge defeated brings growth. That growth defeats discouragement as well as increases learning, confidence and future success.

So far this season has not been easy, and at times we collectively have withered in the face of adversity, preferring the easy task over the hard one.  But that is changing. Those that have attended the games have seen the resiliency of these young men displayed. Perhaps not as often as desired, but they continue to fight strongly throughout the duration of each game. With youngsters contributing and thriving during difficult times,  as well as a solid core of juniors and seniors providing leadership and beginning to attack and thrive on adversity, we are pleased with the “process” of the season so far. We, as a school and as a coaching staff, are asking a tremendous amount from your boys, and our expectations are very high. I know they will continue to rise to meet them as the leadership matures and as they grow in strength as a team to approach adversity with excitement and vigor, anticipating the next challenge overcome.

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