Prater inks with Benedictine

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Cassville senior linebacker Hayden Prater recently signed a national letter of intent to play football with Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. Pictured with Hayden, in the front row, are his parents, Darren and Shelly Prater. Pictured in the back row is Cassville football coach Lance Parnell. Jared Lankford/

Coach: Prater one of best linebackers he's coached

Lance Parnell, Cassville football coach, did not hesitate when asked what he thought about his senior linebacker, Hayden Prater.

"In my 17 years of coaching at Cassville, I have been blessed to coach several fine football players," Parnell said. "Hayden is ranked at the top. Look at him; he is built for the game. Hayden was a game changer for us on defense."

Prater recently announced that he would be playing for Benedictine College, in Atchison, Kan., in the Heart of America Conference.

Prater, who admitted that he got a late jump in the recruiting process, chose the Ravens over Missouri Southern State University and Pittsburg State University.

"Benedictine offered the right combination for me," Prater said. "A good education and the possibility of immediate playing time."

Prater was no slouch on the field, as he was selected as a first team all-state, all-district and all-conference player, and named the Big 8 Conference defensive Player of the Year.

"He brought so much intensity to our team," Parnell said. "He has that rare combination of size, speed and strength that allows him to run sideline to sideline and make plays."

Prater does not just excel on the gird iron, he also is accomplished in the classroom, routinely earning spots on the honor roll.

"If you want to go to college and play football you have to make the grades first," Prater said. "You have to give 100 percent in the weight room, practice and on the field."

Prater plans to major in nursing or pre-med. He is the son of Darren and Shelly Prater, of Cassville.

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