Cassville state title teams headed for Hall

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

2008, 2009 Wildcats teams to be inducted into Missouri Sports Hall of Fame

The 2008 and 2009 Cassville state championship football teams will join some elite company this fall, as the teams will be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame along with the likes of Kansas City Chiefs pass rusher Tamba Hali and University of Missouri running back Devin West.

Hall CEO and Executive Director Jerald Andrews on Wednesday announced the upcoming inductees, who will be enshrined during the annual Football Luncheon presented by the Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company, which is set for 11 a.m. on Oct. 13 at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds in Springfield.

Along with the Cassville teams, Hali and West, Kickapoo High School and University of Central Missouri quarterback Scott Loveland, Salem High School coach Bill Schuchardt, Lebanon radio broadcaster Kevin Stubblefield and the Harrisonville High School Football Program will be inducted.

Additionally, the Hall of Fame will honor the Elite 11, which recognizes former high school and college standouts, or those who have made positive contributions to the game.

This year’s Elite 11 are: Brock Baker (Bolivar High School/Western Kentucky University), Blaise Bauer (Monett High School/Pittsburg State University), Joe Close (Parkview High School/University of Missouri), Lance Johnston (Branson High School/Northwest Missouri State University), Southwest Baptist University assistant coach Marcus Klund (Scott City and Cape Central High Schools/Lindenwood University), Drew Newhart (Cameron High School/Missouri Western State University), Jeff Portman (Buffalo High School/Drake University), Jack Randolph (Southwest Baptist University/Marshfield and West Plains head coach), Casey Shadel (Lebanon High School/University of Central Missouri), Nathan Stokes (Ozark High School/Missouri State University) and Mac Whitehead (Seneca High School/Southwest Baptist University/Missouri Southern State University).

A sponsorship table of eight is $400 and includes a print autographed by individual inductees as well as recognition in the printed program and at the table. A head table ticket is $100 and includes the same perks. A single ticket is $50, or $60 at the door. Numerous sponsorships are available, including congratulatory ads. For tickets, call 417-889-3100.

Cassville High School Football 2008 and 2009 State Champions

Coached by David Large, the Cassville Wildcats won Class 3 state championships in 2008 and 2009. The 2008 Wildcats beat Cardinal Ritter 31-6 in the final and finished 12-3. That team won its final seven games after back-to-back, mid-October losses. Among the late-season wins were 28-14 against Monett in a rematch of one of those losses, plus 26-15 against Logan-Rogersville and a 14-13 semifinal victory against Chillicothe. The 2009 team toppled Bowling Green 24-7 in the finals and finished 14-1. Its only loss was to Branson in the season-opener before the Wildcats won 13 of their next 14 games by an average of 25.6 points. Its closest win was 21-20 against No. 1 Logan-Rogersville in a battle of 11-1 teams. Cassville trailed 20-14 before authoring an 86-yard touchdown drive, scoring with less than two minutes to play. The coaching staff included defensive coordinator Lance Parnell, Jay Rogers, Rick Lawson, Kyle Wood and Clay Weldy – with Robbie Atherton joining the 2009 staff.

Tamba Hali – Kansas City Chiefs

Hali was among the best pass rushers in Kansas City Chiefs history, doing so years after escaping the war-torn West African country of Liberia at age 10 and making a new home in the United States. A first-round draft pick in 2006 out of Penn State University, he spent his entire National Football League career with the Chiefs, covering 12 seasons (2006-2017) and helping the team to six playoff berths. He is second only to the legendary Derrick Thomas (126.5) in career sacks (89.5) and ahead of Neil Smith’s 85.5 and Justin Houston’s 78.5. Thomas (MSHOF 2021) and Smith (MSHOF 2008) have been inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. A six-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro, Hali also forced 33 fumbles, second only to Thomas’ 45 and four more than Smith’s 29. Additionally, Hali started at least 15 games every season from 2006 to 2014 and started 14 in 2015. At Penn State, Hali was a consensus NCAA All-American in 2005 and was part of the Orange Bowl team that beat Florida State 26-23 in three overtimes. In 2006, he earned his U.S. citizenship.

Devin West – University of Missouri

West earned Second Team All-State honors in Class 4 in 1994, his senior season at Moberly High School, before going on to a phenomenal career at the University of Missouri from 1995 to 1998. Known as a silky smooth and deceptively fast tailback, he ended his career as Mizzou’s No. 2 all-time rusher (2,954 yards) and earned First Team All-American honors from Football News and The Sporting News in 1998. That year, Mizzou won the Insight.com Bowl, its first bowl win since 1981, and West was Mizzou’s first All-American since John Clay in 1986 – and the Tigers’ first running back All-American since 1942. If bowl stats were counted in career totals when he played, he would have left as Mizzou’s career leader in that category (229 yards combined in two bowl games). His 1,578 yards in 1998 remain the best in a single season, and his 319 yards against Kansas in 1998 are still the best in a single game in school history. Additionally, at one point, his 108 points in 1998 and 174 career points ranked third and eighth in school history, respectively.

Scott Loveland – Kickapoo High School/University of Central Missouri

Loveland was a three-sport letterman at Kickapoo High School, where he quarterbacked the 1979 and 1980 teams to 8-2 and 9-1 records – with the 1980 team being the first nine-win team in Kickapoo history. He earned All-Central Ozark Conference and All-District, was the starting point guard on Kickapoo’s 1980 and 1981 basketball teams, and played second base in baseball. At Central Missouri (1981-1984), he took over the starting quarterback job in the fourth game of his freshman season. He became first Mule to throw for 5,000 career passing yards, finishing with 6,547 yards. That broke the school record by more than 1,500 yards and remained No. 1 until 1997 (and is still third all-time). He still holds the UCM record for all-time attempts (1,169), and he held the completions record (557) for 26 years. His 32 touchdown passes are still among the UCM top five almost 40 years after his final game. In 1983, Loveland guided the Mules to their first MIAA championship in 13 years, and a year later he became the fifth MIAA Most Valuable Player in program history. That year, he set 13 school and seven MIAA records, plus earned his third All-MIAA selection. Overall, the Mules were 21-16-2 with Loveland, who was the first four-year starter at UCM since 1966 when complete records became available. These days, he is the Managing Partner of Scott Loveland Insurance, LLC and the Missouri Partner for Agent Support Network of America.

Bill Schuchardt — Salem High School Football Coach

Schuchardt (pronounced Shoe-cart) coached Salem High School for 32 seasons (1981 to 2012). He finished with an incredible record of 255-91, which ranks among the Top 20 all-time in state history. His Tigers twice played for Class 3 state championships, in 2000 and 2002, and won 14 South Central Association championships, 16 district titles and made five state semifinal appearances. Along the way, Salem saw 34 players earn All-State honors between 1988 and 2008. Schuchardt is an inductee of the Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Missouri Valley College Athletics Hall of Fame. He graduated from St. Mary’s High School in St. Louis in 1968 (he was All-CAC and All-City) before going on to be a four-year starter at Missouri Valley College from 1968 to 1971, earning All-HAAC and NAIA District 16. These days, he is assisting the Rolla High School football team after a few years of living in Florida.

Kevin Stubblefield – Lebanon Radio

This football season marks the 41st for Stubblefield, a sports radio broadcaster in Lebanon who has covered nearly 4,000 games, including for football, basketball, baseball and softball. He is a 1977 graduate of Stoutland High School and a 1981 graduate of Missouri State University who got his start on KLWT in Lebanon and has been with KJEL the past 25½ years. Stubblefield has been a Friday night football fixture for the Yellowjackets since 1981 and has been on the call for Lebanon boys and girls basketball games in the winters, plus the Yellowjackets baseball and softball games for years. Among his highlights are covering Lebanon baseball’s 1982 and 2002 state semifinal teams, Lebanon softball’s state semifinal in 1998, as well as Camdenton football’s 1996, 1999 and 2005 state championship games for KJEL. He also was on the call for Hartville boys basketball winning the Greenwood Blue and Gold Tournament and recent Skyline girls basketball Final Fours. Stubblefield was inducted into the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2016.

Harrisonville High School Football Program

The Harrisonville Wildcats are among the elite of Missouri high school football programs, having played in eight state championship games. They won five of them in Class 3 – in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2016. They were Class 3 state runners-up in 1970, 1983 and 2004. Overall, it’s a program that has carved out a record of 631-326-40 since 1906 (through Sept. 3, 2021). Much of the success has come since 1968, as Harrisonville has compiled a 422-149-2 record through seven head coaches: Hugh Cobb, Bob Barrett, Tim Dade, Fred Bouchard, Chuck Lliteras, Brent Maxwell and Kyle Schenker. Barrett’s teams had 113 wins from 1976 to 1989, while Bouchard’s teams were 75-6 from 2002 to 2007. Maxwelll led the 2016 team. The program also counts nine undefeated seasons (1907, 1928, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1971, 2003, 2006 and 2007) and an enjoyed a 41-game win streak (Sept. 9, 2005 to Nov. 24, 2007), which is fifth-best in state history, and a 40-game win streak (Oct. 20, 1950 to Oct. 29, 1954). The Wildcats also enjoyed a 48-game conference win streak from Nov. 1, 2002 to Sept. 28, 2012. Along the way, Harrisonville has won 18 district titles and 34 conference championships.

Elite 11 Honorees

Blaise Bauer – Monett High School/Pittsburg State University

At Monett, Bauer played tight end, slot and some quarterback for the Cubs, earning three varsity letters as well as all-conference and all-district his senior season in 1983. He also was a three-year letterman and all-conference and All-District in basketball, plus a state qualifier and four-year letterman in track and field. At Pittsburg State, Bauer was twice an NAIA All-America tight end (1987, 1988). He was a team captain and the team MVP in 1988, a three-time all-conference selection and All-District twice. He ended his career with 1,248 yards receiving on 44 catches and a then-school record 18 touchdowns. Two averages on yards per catch – 29.2 for his career and 31.4 in a single season – still stand as the highest at Pitt State. He later coached football for Galena and Girard high schools, earning 48 wins and three conference Coach of the Year honors (1994, 1997, 2006). An inductee of the Pitt State Athletics Hall of Fame, Bauer is now the Superintendent of Girard Public Schools in Kansas.

Brock Baker – Bolivar High School/Western Kentucky University

At Bolivar from 1994 to 1997, Baker was a running back and three-year starter for coach Doug Potts (MSHOF 2007). He earned All-Central Ozark Conference honors in his final three seasons, plus was a two-time All-Region and All-District selection. Addtionally, he earned was a four-time letterman in baseball and earned a letter in basketball for the Liberators. At Western Kentucky, he played for then-coach Jack Harbaugh, playing in 49 games as a running back and kick returner (1998-2000, 2002). Granted a medical redshirt season for 2002 after missing a season due to a knee injruy, he returned for what became a memorable year on campus, as the Hilltoppers won the national championship in I-AA (now Football Championship Series). Baker saw time in all 14 games that season. In his first two seasons, he appeared in all 22 games, starting eight games as a sophomore, when he had 254 yards rushing and scored two TDs. As a true freshman, played in all 11 games on special teams and as a back-up running back. He returned a punt for 15 yards, and also had five stops and blocked a kick. He now lives in Bolivar.

Joe Close – Parkview High School/University of Missouri

At Parkview High School, Close played for coach Benny Lawson in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Utlimately, he was a Class 4 All-State selection in 1981 and the Springfield Quarterback Club’s All-City Back after his senior season. That season, Parkview finished 6-3, with wins against Bartlesville, Okla., Central, Lebanon, Sedalia Smith-Cotton, Joplin Memorial and Hillcrest. He also was a three-year letterman in basketball and part of Parkview’s state third-place team in 1981, plus was a three-year letterman in track and field, where he still holds the shot put record. He held the discus record until a couple of years ago. At Mizzou, Close earned varsity letters in 1983, 1985 and 1986 as a tight end. In his first game in 1983, he caught a touchdown pass in a win against Illinois, which went on to win the Big 10 Conference and play in the Rose Bowl. Close has spent the past 19 years working for Country Club Bank in Kansas City, with Close named President in 2019.

Lance Johnston – Branson High School/Northwest Missouri State University

Johnston emerged as one of the top linemen for Branson High School in the early years of the Coach Steve Hancock era (MSHOF 2009). He earned First Team Class 4 All-State honors as a 6-foot-3, 240-pound senior in 1988, a year after being a part of Branson’s 1987 state runner-up team that finished 12-2. He also was a First Team All-Central Ozark Conference selection on both sides of the ball. At Northwest Missouri State, he was a four-year letterman and then a First Team All-MIAA in 1992. After he college, he has been a coach. He was the head coach at North Platte (Mo.), Polo, Lexington and California high schools between 1995 and 2009. He coached North Platte from 1995 to 2001, with the 1998 team winning the Class 1 state championship. His Polo and Lexington teams won at least a district title. Since then, he has taught in the Jefferson City school district, and now is an assistant coach for Capital City High School.

Marcus Klund – Scott City and Cape Central High Schools/Lindenwood University

At Scott City, Klund was a multiple all-conference, all-district and all-region selection at running back and defensive back, and earned All-State as a junior. In his time there, the team won two conference championships, two district titles and reached the state quarterfinals twice. At Central in Cape Girardeau, he was all-conference and all-district at both positions, and all-region at running back. He was the team captain his senior year, when the Tigers reached the state quarterfinals. At Lindenwood University, he was a two-time team captain, four-year starter at safety, four-time all-conference, two-time All-Region, and a two-time NAIA All-American. In 2004, he helped the Lions to an 11-0 regular-season record (the program’s first undefeated regular season) and a conference championship. He is now in his eighth season as an assistant coach at Southwest Baptist University, after coaching at Lindenwood, where the team was 30-6 in his three years, reaching the 2009 NAIA national championship game.

Drew Newhart – Cameron High School/Missouri Western State University

Newhart was among the top quarterbacks in the state, at any level, in the mid-2000s. He earned three First Team All-State selections for Cameron (2003, 2004, 2005), and for good reason. In state history, he ranks sixth all-time in both yards passing (8,993) and touchdowns (107), and fifth all-time in both attemps (647) and completions (1,006). Newhart led the Dragons to a Class 2 state championship in 2005, a year after leading them to a state runner-up. At Missouri Western, he still ranks first in passing yards (10,691), pass completions (817), completion percentage (60.6), total offense (10,594) and is No. 2 with 95 touchdowns. He was named to Missouri Western’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s and earned All-MIAA all four years. These days, Newhart is a physical education/health teacher at Smithville Middle School.

Jeff Portman – Buffalo High School/Drake University

Portman certainly opened eyes as a lineman the Buffalo Bison in the early 1990s and credits high school and college teammates and coaches for his success. He earned All-State honors in 1991, when the Bison enjoyed their first non-losing season since 1985. That year, they beat Class 4 No. 2 Willard and lost to Ozark in three overtimes. He also was All-Central Ozark Conference and All-District on the offensive and defensive lines while playing for coach Verlin Tyler. It was a strong finish for Portman, who missed most of his sophomore season (ankle injury) just as he was drawing interest from Power 5 schools such as Mizzou, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Nebraska. At Drake, he lettered in 1993, 1994 and 1995, and started every game his final two seasons. While there, he helped Drake win its first conference title in the Pioneer Football League in 1995. Portman is now the general manager of several Elliott Lodging hotels in Springfield, including VIB.

Jack Randolph – Football Coach

Randolph coached Marshfield High School from 1997 to 2009, earning 61 wins. The 2000 team earned the Blue Jays’ first-ever playoff victory and reached the state quarterfinals. In the next three seasons, Marshfield won the Central Ozark Conference – quite an accomplishment, considering it had not won a conference title since 1977 — with the 2003 team sharing the crown with two other teams. All of the success began with the 1998 team finishing 7-3, the Blue Jays’ best record in 21 years. Randolph coached two more seasons, both at West Plains, with the 2010 Zizzers finishing as the district runner-up. A graduate of Lake Dallas High School in Texas and Southwest Baptist University (three-year letterman), he was an assistant on Stockton High School from 1991 to 1996, with the Tigers’ 1992, 1993 and 1994 teams winning the Mid-Lakes Conference. Stockton’s 1993 team (10-0 regular season) and 1994 team both won districts. Having recently retired after 30 years in public education, including nine years as principal at West Plains High School, Randolph now works for Jobs for Americas Graduates and for West Plains Bank and Trust.

Casey Shadel – Lebanon High School/University of Central Missouri

Shadel was among the top players for Lebanon High School in the late 1990s, as he helped the Yellowjackets to three district championships for then-coach Chuck Blair. He played primarily on the defensive line as a sophomore, but then was a two-way player as a junior and as a senior. In fact, he finished his senior year by playing after breaking a foot earlier that fall. Shadel went on to play for the University of Central Missouri. From 2001 to 2005, he was the starting long snapper, missing only one snap his entire career. He lettered all four years and was a part of two teams that have been inducted into the UCM Athletics Hall of Fame. The 2001 team was the first with 10 wins in a season – and won the Mineral Water Bowl – and the 2002 team was the first to qualify for the NCAA Division II playoffs. The 2003 team shared the MIAA championship. These days, Shadel is a funeral director at Shadel’s Colonial Chapel in Lebanon.

Nathan Stokes – Ozark High School/Missouri State University

At Ozark, Stokes was a three-time All-State punter and, as a kicker and punter, was an All-Central Ozark Conference, All-District and All-Ozarks selection four times in each. In 2002, his senior year, ProKicker.com and Ray Guy’s Kicking Academy named him one of the top prep kickers nationally, and he was a Sprint Magazine Preseason All-American. At Missouri State, Stokes was an all-conference selection both as a punter and place kicker (2006, 2007). His career 42.3 yards punting average and his 72 extra point kicks rank first and 10th, respectively, in school history. Additionally, his 49 extra points in 2007 are tied for the most in program history. As a junior, his conference-leading 42.8 punting average remains No. 2 in an MSU season. Stokes, who still holds three of the longest punts in school history (75, 73, 70 yards), was the MSU Special Teams Player of the Year in 2007. His pro career ended with the Arena 2 Football League’s Wichita Wild in 2009.

Mac Whitehead – Seneca High School/Southwest Baptist University/Missouri Southern State University

At Seneca High School, Whitehead put put video-game like stats as an All-State running back in 1992 and 1993. He finished with 4,947 yards rushing on 598 carries (8.2 yards per carry) and scored 46 touchdowns. All but 371 yards came in his final two seasons, and he likely would have rushed for more more than 5,000 yards had then-Seneca coach Tom Hodge (MSHOF 2016) not sat starters during blowouts. Whitehead played two seasons at Southwest Baptist and then finished as a two-year letterman at Missouri Southern. There, he was a 1997 All-MIAA kick returner as he averaged 14.7 yards per return – which ranks sixth-best in school history and is the second-best mark for a Lions player since that season. Whitehead was the head coach at pierce City for two seasons, in 2010 and 2011, and he is currently the head football coach at Diamond High School.

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