The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


April 2, 2014

Webb City assistant takes Riverton football job

McFarland was guided to coaching at early age

As a player and assistant coach, Ryan McFarland has learned from Webb City head coach John Roderique for 14 seasons.

During that time, he’s witnessed Roderique mold the Cardinals into a perennial powerhouse that has won four consecutive Class 4 state championships.

Now, McFarland is ready to apply what he’s learned to his own program.

Riverton High School recently hired McFarland to be its head football coach. McFarland replaces Derrick Rider, who served as Riverton’s head coach for the past four seasons.

“The biggest thing I learned the last few years is how to run a program,” McFarland said. “There are so many little things you have to do that aren’t necessarily offense or defense, but they’re the things that keep Webb City going. You have to deal with the kids, deal with parents and you have to balance everything.”

McFarland was a freshman at Webb City when Roderique became the head coach. McFarland started at wide receiver and outside linebacker his junior year before suffering a fractured vertebrae in his neck.

The injury ended McFarland’s playing career but started his education in coaching.

“Coach Roderique came to me when I was in the hospital and wanted me to be a part of the program the next year,” McFarland said. “He kind of made a spot to where I wasn’t just a kid hanging out at practice. I was actually helping him out and coaching. That kind of made me know that’s what I wanted to do when I got out of college.”

Roderique said that even back then he believed McFarland could be a good coach.

“The injury he had was pretty devastating to a kid like Ryan,” Roderique said. “He was a very dedicated athlete. He had a great attitude. It’s hard on a coach when a player is in a situation when you tell him he can’t play anymore. I really thought he could be a good coach, and I wanted him to be involved in the program. I told him that his coaching career would just start a little sooner than it would have.”

While attending college at Missouri Southern, McFarland served as an assistant at Webb City and for one season under Leon Miller at Frontenac. He’s coached at Webb City for the past eight seasons and has directed the junior varsity offense for several years.

“He’s been a very good and hard working assistant coach,” Roderique said. “He’s everything you want in a coach. He’s done a lot for us at Webb. What he’s done will take a couple people to step up and fill his role.”

McFarland said he will use a lot of Webb City’s offensive and defensive schemes at Riverton.

“Offensively we’ll be very similar,” McFarland said. “We might do more shotgun sets, but we’re still going be an option football team and run the football. Defensively we’re going to be very multiple. We might not have a set defense, but we will be able to adjust to whatever the offense is trying to do.”

Riverton finished 3-6 last year but traditionally has been a strong program. The Rams enjoyed winning records in each of the previous three seasons under Rider, and Riverton was 12-1 in 2008 when it advanced to the Class 3A state semifinals and won the CNC championship.

Riverton athletics director Chris Swartz said he believes McFarland will be a good fit.

“There are a lot of good aspects about Ryan,” Swartz said. “He brings a lot of maturity and enthusiasm and comes from a program like Webb City. He’s extremely motivated and hungry to be a head coach. He will do a good job of building relationships with the kids.”

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