The evidence of improvement was glaring.
After the McDonald County Mustangs opened the 2012 season with an 0-5 record, they finished 3-2 in their final five games. Even though McDonald County lost several key players to graduation, the Mustangs want to take that momentum into this fall.
“We’re really hoping so,” McDonald County coach Chris Gwartney said. “The big thing for us is that we lost 12 senior starters last year. We won three of our last five games and we were close to winning all five of them. That’s going to help.”
McDonald County concluded a weeklong camp on Friday, scrimmaging against the Lamar Tigers on Thursday in Anderson and Friday in Lamar.
“These kids work hard,” Gwartney said. “There aren’t a whole lot of them. We have only a couple starters in camp on offense and a couple on defense, because we got some kids on vacation.
“It’s been going good. We had three days of camp at McDonald County this week and with Lamar the last two days. So it’s been good.
“It was good to come down here and go against somebody else besides ourselves. The kids enjoyed it, and it was good for us.”
Among the key players lost to graduation are running back Jantsen Lynn and lineman Drey Fickle. Lynn rushed for 1,523 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior.
The Mustangs do return junior Jake Wood as their starting quarterback. He completed 40 of 117 passes for 698 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for 238 yards and eight touchdowns last year.
Returning starters are sprinkled through the lineup on offense and defense, but Gwartney said many spots are up for grabs.
“We don’t have a lot of starters back, so there are a lot of positions open and a lot of kids battling for it,” he said.
Scrimmaging Lamar was good for the Mustangs for a couple of reasons. McDonald County travels to face the Tigers for the season opener on Aug. 30. The Mustangs also use Lamar — the two-time defending Class 2 state champions — as a model.
“That’s what everybody wants,” Gwartney said. “Everybody wants to win that state championship and you want to pattern yourself after those kind of schools, those kind of programs like Lamar and Webb City. That’s what everyone wants to be, and that’s what we want to be, too.”
The evidence of improvement was glaring.
- High School Sports
Webb City relies on treys to wrap up district laurels
The 3-point shots continued to rain down for the Webb City Cardinals.
Two days after making 18 treys in a semifinal victory against Carl Junction, Webb City knocked down 11 during a 63-37 win over Nevada in the Class 4 District 12 girls championship on Saturday.
Second-quarter surge fuels Carl Junction to district title
A 16-4 surge to close out the first half provided the impetus for the Carl Junction boys to beat McDonald County 69-48 in the championship game of the Class 4 District 12 Tournament on Saturday.
Frontenac's defense stymies Columbus
Frontenac shut down Columbus after the first quarter and defeated the Titans 49-29 Saturday night for the championship of the girls Class 4A Division II Sub-State Tournament.
Riverton, Colgan earn sub-state hoops titles
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District titles on the line today at Carl Junction
The Class 4 District 12 boys and girls basketball championship games will be today at Carl Junction High School.
Seneca basketball sets several school records
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Columbus, Frontenac girls to play with state berth on line
After splitting their first two meetings, the Columbus Titans and Frontenac Raiders girls basketball teams are set to play the one that really matters.
Nelson provides punch for Bulldogs
Aaron Nelson scored 26 points as Carl Junction defeated Webb City 71-46 and advanced to the championship game of the Class 4, District 12 tournament.
Webb City makes 18 treys in semifinal win against Carl Junction
Favored Webb City rained 18 treys on Carl Junction.
Pressure defense carries Crane girls by Pierce City
The Crane Pirates set the tone from the opening minutes.
Crane jumped out to a 10-0 lead, forcing the Pierce City Eagles to commit turnovers on their first five possessions.
- More High School Sports Headlines
- Webb City relies on treys to wrap up district laurels