By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer
Joplin senior Jarad Bader spoke for himself and two classmates on Wednesday afternoon, just after they put pen to paper on their college football decisions.
“It’s the day we’ve been waiting for our whole lives,” he said. “From the first snap of football we’ve played, we’ve dreamed about playing college football. Today is just a dream come true.”
Bader (MidAmerica Nazarene), Adam St. Peter (Missouri State) and Gabe Sachetta (Missouri Southern) all signed national letters of intent to play football at the collegiate level.
Adam St. Peter
St. Peter, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound tight end and linebacker, was the lone Eagle to go NCAA Division I. He said his visit to Missouri State, which competes in the Football Championship Series, simply felt right.
“The coaches and the facilities. The whole campus in general felt right,” he said. “With football and academics and everything, it was the perfect fit for me.”
St. Peter was an All-Ozarks honorable mention pick for the Eagles this season, compiling 56 tackles and two sacks on defense and scoring six touchdowns on offense.
He said the Missouri State coaches plan on using him at tight end, but Joplin coach Chris Shields said St. Peter could fill many roles for the Bears.
“His size and athleticism, he’s really flexible,” Shields said. “I think you have a lot of options with him. I know they’re going to start him at tight end but I think you could just as easily put him a defensive end or linebacker. You can’t have enough of those kids.”
Bader, a standout defensive lineman for the Eagles, said he’ll have the chance to play as a true freshman for MidAmerica Nazarene.
“They told me if I work hard enough I can play as a freshman,” he said. “I talked to a lot of other players from a lot of schools and none of them gave me the feel that I was at home and that I could excel at my position.”
Bader led Joplin in tackles for loss and was the team’s second-leading tackler. Shields said he was confident in Bader’s ability to be an impact player for the Pioneers, who compete in NAIA.
“I think they got a steal,” he said. “That’s not taking anything away from MidAmerica, they’re a great football program. But they’re getting a great football player and I think he has chance to have a lot of success over there.”
Sachetta, a 6-foot, 185-pound quarterback, said his courtship with Missouri Southern was quick.
“It kind of came in late and just sort of clicked,” he said of his offer from Missouri Southern. “I decided this is the place for me. I’m excited. The coaches are great and I’m excited to see where the program goes.”
Sachetta threw for 2,868 yards in his two seasons at the helm of the Joplin offense. He helped the Eagles build to a .500 record this season and said he hopes to be a part of Missouri Southern’s resurgence under second-year coach Daryl Daye.
“I just felt like I wasn’t really done in Joplin,” he said. “I figured I could stick around a little while longer and see where it takes me.”