By Craig Hull
Globe Sports Writer
SENECA, Mo. - The 12-1 record, the Class 3 semifinal appearance and all the postseason honors that came with it, Skylar Wallace enjoyed his senior campaign with the Seneca football team.
On Thursday, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound defensive end received another bonus for his work and effort this past season: The opportunity to play four more years of football.
Wallace, the Indians' first team all-Big 8, first team all-district and second team Joplin Globe all-area end, signed a national letter of intent to play for William Jewell University in Liberty.
"This past season made a lot of difference in terms of just exposure," Wallace said. "The postseason gives college coaches an extra chance to see you perform against different opponents and teams you don't see every year.
"I know the success we had this year played a big factor to help me get this opportunity."
Skylar, the son of Ron and Susan Wallace, also grabbed the attention of Missouri Southern, Pittsburg State, Westminster, Evangel and Maryville College before he chose the Cardinals.
"I want to play this year, but I don't plan on starting. My goal is to work toward becoming a starter as a sophomore," Wallace said. "They run a different defense than we do. They run a 4-3, but the ends come hard off the end, where as in high school, we played more of a read."
Wallace recorded 66 tackles with six quarterback sacks. At tight end, he caught seven passes for 109 yards with three touchdowns.
He joins a William Jewell program coming off a 6-5 season, fifth place in the Heart of America Conference with a 6-4 record.
Second-year head coach Dave Bassore planned on signing 20-25 high school players this spring to join his squad of 85 returners.
"I'm excited to have a young man of Skylar's caliber both as student and as a football player," said Bassore, a Marionville native. "Coach (Chance) Wistrom spoke highly of him, we had a chance to evaluate him and he is a person who will compete very well in our program."
The Cardinals, along with a 11-game regular season, also have a six-game junior varsity schedule.
"Most incoming freshmen come in and compete right away, either on the varsity or JV," Bassore said. "In 20 years of coaching football, I've never had a kid tell me he wants to go to college to practice."
Wallace joins tight end Brian Lowry of Greenfield, and receiver/kicker Heath Newman and quarterback Micah Fritz, both of Pierce City, as area players on the Cardinals roster.
By Craig Hull