The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

February 13, 2014

8 members from Lamar's championship team to continue football careers

LAMAR, Mo. — Lamar’s seniors finished their football careers with three Class 2 state championships, a 51-8 record and loads of individual accomplishments.

As an extension of that success, seven members of the Lamar football team — Ben Bailey, Sam Bailey, Mark Bartlett, Jared Beshore, Landon Compton, Levi Petersen and J.T. Tucker — went through formal signing ceremonies in front of fellow students, family and members of the community on Wednesday at the high school. An eighth, Jimmy Keutzer, will have his formal signing today as he was unable to attend because of a school activity.

“I think it’s a pretty big deal,” said Mark Bartlett, who signed to play defensive back and return kicks for Central Missouri. “I think we all just love the game and wanted to play at the next level. I think we were all lucky to have that chance.”

All eight players selected different colleges. Ben Bailey will play offensive line and throw the discus and shot put for Southern Illinois, while Sam Bailey will play on the offensive line for the Missouri Tigers. Beshore will play defensive back for Missouri State. Compton was recruited as a safety for Missouri S&T. Petersen will go to Pittsburg State as a quarterback. Tucker will play inside linebacker for Baker, and Keutzer will be an offensive lineman at Fort Scott Community College.

Lamar’s football team has referred to itself as the Brotherhood for the past several seasons, and Compton said the team takes that to heart.

“I think it means everything,” Compton said. “It’s a lot more than just a slogan. It’s more of words that we live by. It’s awesome to be able to sign with everybody. That’s living the Brotherhood out.”

With Ben Bailey (6-7, 232), Sam Bailey (6-6, 252) and Jimmy Keutzer (6-5, 276) up front, the Tigers rushed for 6,828 yards (455.2 ypg) this past fall.

Twin brothers, Ben and Sam Bailey, each earned all-state honors on both sides of the ball throughout their careers. As defensive linemen, Ben Bailey recorded 67 tackles and 9.5 sacks and Sam Bailey had 53 tackles and 3.5 sacks for their senior season.

It was a big day for the Bailey family. Their uncle Scott Bailey is Lamar’s head coach, while their uncle Steven Bailey is an assistant.

Ben and Sam’s mother, Noelle, brought shirts for SIU and Missouri to support both her sons.

“This is very special for all of us,” Ben said. “Unfortunately, not every member of our family was able to be here to watch us sign. Most of them are. It just means a lot and to be able to have the success we have had with our uncle as the coach and our other uncle as an assistant coach. It was just great.”

Sam Bailey said picking Missouri was a pretty simple choice.

“Well, it’s Mizzou,” he said while addressing the audience. “I was lucky enough that they wanted me to play for them. I’m not going to say no.”

Keutzer received all-conference honors on the offensive line. He is the son of Chad and Tracy Keutzer.

Bartlett (5-10, 161) was an all-state return man and had four interceptions his senior season. He said he picked the MIAA’s Mules over Benedictine and Baker. He is the son of Jason and Christy Bartlett.

Beshore (6-0, 194) was a standout on both sides of the ball for Lamar, rushing for 1,458 yards and 26 touchdowns on only 106 carries his senior year. The all-state running back will play safety for Missouri State.

He said he hopes to help return a winning tradition to Terry Allen’s Bears.

“Lamar hasn’t always been on top,” he said. “When we were coming through as fifth and sixth graders, we remember the 0-fer seasons. We wanted to be the ones who establish something. I kind of see that same opportunity at Missouri State, so I feel like I can help do that and I want to be a part of that.”

Beshore said he picked Missouri State over Central Missouri and Pittsburg State. He is the son of Jeff and Kerry Beshore.

Compton (6-3, 200) led Lamar in tackles this past season with 105 and earned all-state honors. He said he picked Missouri S&T because of its engineering program. He is the son of Larry and JoJo Compton.

Petersen (6-1, 212) earned all-state honors, rushing for 2,334 yards and 38 touchdowns on 231 attempts his senior season.

He said he is excited to be a part of the Pittsburg State tradition.

“I really figured out once I went to a game there and experienced the atmosphere there that they are one of the top D-II programs in the nation,” Petersen said. “It’s really a blessing to be this close.”

He is the son of Bob and Julie Petersen.

Tucker (5-10, 220) posted 82 tackles and earned all-state honors his senior year.

Tucker said he knew he liked Baker right away.

“I went down there on that visit and fell in love with it,” Tucker said. “As soon as I got out there, I knew it was going to be hard not to go there. I liked the coaches and the way they played defense. They were No. 5 in the NAIA and pride themselves on defense.”

He is the son of Jeff and Jenny Tucker.

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