Last week here at the Chart my fellow sports writer Trey Vaughan had a strong opinion on the Missouri Southern fall sport programs. If you didn’t get to read his column I would strongly recommend it because Trey makes some very good points. I would agree with what Trey says in MSSU fall sports are forlorn, it makes since, Southern fall sports are not good. I will say that things are getting better for all programs here though and that maybe in a couple years we aren’t considered a joke in the MIAA.
I would like to start off with my favorite sport, football. The Lions’ football team has finished the season 1-10 which is one game better from the year prior. I know that isn’t something to be proud of, but you can at least say the team broke a 20 game losing streak all while going through their former head coach Denver Johnson’s step down in the middle of the season. The Lions beat Northeastern State University in a very close game, although NSU did not win a game this year, at least MSSU isn’t at the bottom of the MIAA thanks to an effort from our interim head coach Joe Bettasso. The team honestly is looking bright in my opinion. They have hired a winning coach in Jeff Sims from Garden City, who has won the Junior College Championship. Sims’ team is currently undefeated and has a chance to win another championship, which is exactly what Southern needs in its football program, a coach who knows how to win.
Just like Trey said this defensive unit is the best we have seen in a while we had some freshmen this year in Alan Glanville and Richard Jordan Jr. who were big for us this year who are only going to get better. Glanville is especially one reason why I am excited for this defense going forward because he was second on the team in tackles behind Justin Legier. I mean how much more can you ask from a player in his first year of collegiate football. This defense is not perfect, but they have often found themselves defending against short field position because of a mediocre offense. The offense is a big reason why the defense allows so many points. The defense can only do so much after the offense only moves the ball five or six yards a drive. The defense is in good hands with Bettasso and with the young talent and another year with Legier and Korenzo Credit you should expect the defense to be solid for the next couple years.
The offense is a different story and work has to be done there, but there are some bright spots. The offense has some weapons they can work with Dalton James, Shemar Coleman, Carson Day, and also Cole Dunbar. I really think all four of those players have the chance to be really good the only thing missing is the quarterback. I really want to write something good about Sean Kelly and I was really excited to see him come in, but I have been let down. I don’t know if it was the play calling or if the weapons just aren’t good enough for him, but again and again I didn’t see him able to make the big throw. The only quarterback controversy we had was with LeEarl Patterson who actually threw some touchdowns this year but he disappeared and wasn’t even on the roster. I just don’t know why the coaching staff didn’t give quarterbacks like Shane Gosson or Coleman Scott a chance in games we were down big time in the second half. If Jeff Sims is able to fix the underachieving quarterback problem, whether that means bringing in his own recruits or making the right play calls for Kelly or any other quarterback, this offense has potential to be very good with a solid running game in Caleb Batie and Dalton James. I predict the Lions win four games next year which is a huge step forward for the program.
The next sport is Soccer, after a strong start they finish off the season winning one out of their last nine games. The team did improve from last season in the sense of their overall record, but they failed to make the playoffs. The team is young and you can expect the team to be even better next year with another year of experience and Luz Galindo defending the goal. I really think the youth of the team is what hurt them this year, they just weren’t prepared for the talent yet, and maybe the season on top of college was just too much for them, but next year they will be more prepared and I can see them making some real damage in the MIAA and maybe even the playoffs.
Volleyball had a bad year there is no getting around that, but a new coach could be the reason why the team struggled this year. I did see some good things out of the team this year with a comeback win and two solid wins. I think you give this team another year or two and if coach Kalie Mader can stay dedicated to this team and bring in some recruits the team should be looking to improve.
Missouri Southern fall sports is nothing to be proud of this year, but we do have some talent and we are heading in the right direction. The goal now is to put everything together to have some successful years and work our way up to being proud to represent our sports teams instead of making it the punchline of every joke.