FAIR GROVE, MO - Winning has been a way of life for Fair Grove the past few years. In 2011, the Eagles bounced back from a rare down year to produce an 11-1 season, ending in a sectional loss to MV-BT/Liberty.
HEAD COACH - Jason O'Neal, 5th year (Fair Grove alum)
2011 RECORD - 11-1, lost 61-26 to MV-BT/Liberty in class 2 sectionals
PLAYERS TO WATCH - Michael Thomas (Sr. QB/DB), Sawyer Padgett (Sr. OL/DL), Brian Long (Sr. TE/DL), Dustin Mayfield (Sr. LB)
This fall, the Eagles will call on a slew of youngsters. While coach O'Neal's 4 seniors are all very talented, he will need a big contribution from 25 sophomores and even 15 freshman.
"We're going to have to call on them to step up and play at the varsity level this year," said O'Neal. "But we have some kids that have worked hard for it."
Among those seniors is returning starting quarterback Michael Thomas, a versatile player who also plays in the defensive backfield. 6'4" Sawyer Padgett enters his 4th year of varsity action on the lines. Brian Long earned postseason recognition last year as a Tight End, and also plays on the defensive line. And the 4th senior, Dustin Mayfield is considered the leader of the defense at linebacker.
While it's a young team, O'Neal believes those players have the ability to compete at a high level each night.
"These kids are used to winning, but it's a new year. We're just going to do what we can to have success, and I think our kids are hungry this year."
Fair Grove opens the season with 3 home games against Buffalo (Aug. 24), Skyline (Aug. 24), and Pleasant Hope (Sep. 7). Then it's on the road for 5 of the next 6 games, and possibly 7, depending on whether they host or go on the road for week 10's opening round of districts.