A year ago at this time I was making plans to travel south to Osceola, Missouri, to watch a Missouri Class 1A, Playoff game which pitted the visiting Skyline Tigers against the Osceola Indians. You see, Osceola was my first head-coaching job, Paul Carney (the head coach at Osceola) was my starting QB and Brandon Shelby (the head coach at Skyline) was in junior high and was my manager for that squad. In a tight contest, Osceola prevailed in 2013. I wrote about that game in my post, Your Best Work.
Fast forward to this Friday. The same two teams, led by the same two coaches, meet again for the Missouri 1A, District 4 Championship. Beyond my immediate connection to these teams and coaches, this game has a number of interesting story lines…. Here are a few… pick one.
Will the Student Become the Teacher?
As I mentioned, Paul Carney was the QB for the Osceola squad in the mid 80’s. He was a two time All State performer, and led the team to two conference championships and two playoff berths. Brandon Shelby (aka Dudley) was the manager of those squads. By his own admission, he idolized Paul, and when he got to High School, became the starting QB, an All State performer, and led the team to not only a playoff berth but also a playoff win. Who will be the Teacher and who will be the Student? I think both Paul and Brandon would consider each other colleagues and friends.
- Both Paul Carney and Brandon Shelby played quarterback for Osceola High School… actually they were both three sport athletes… Paul starred in football, basketball and track, while Brandon was a standout athlete in football, basketball and baseball.
- Both athletes led their teams to conference football championships, and Missouri State playoff berths.
- Both Paul and Brandon were named to the Missouri All State team.
- Both student-athletes attended Missouri State University and had stellar careers… Paul in football and Brandon in baseball.
- Both decided to go into teaching and coaching.
- Both have made the choice to coach football at a 1A school in Southwest Missouri.
Hometown Boys Make Good!
“Carney” and “Shelby” are household names in Osceola. Both Coach Carney and Coach Shelby have had outstanding playing and coaching careers. Paul recently recorded his 100th victory, and both he and Coach Shelby have garnered Coach of the Year honors. They both are very well respected coaches that lead a couple of the top 1A programs in the State. Their respective squads playing for the District Championship in their hometown for two consecutive years is a reflection of their work in the Missouri public education system.
Déjà vu – 2013
This game is a repeat of the 2013 tilt, which pitted these two teams (which I believe had the exact same records as this year) and coaches against one another at Osceola last year. Many of the same starters remain from the 2013 contest that saw Osceola edging Skyline 24-20 for the win. Osceola went on to defeat a strong Cass-Midway team 7-6 before falling to eventual State Champion, Ste. Genevieve Valle Catholic High School 35-11.
1A Football Overlooked
1A football often draws the short straw when it comes to football coverage in Missouri. At one point, the MSHSAA even held the 1A state championship game at a different (lesser) site than the big boys.
There are some very, VERY good 1A football programs in Missouri, and very good small school football being played all across the country. Osceola, Skyline, Cass-Midway, Valle Catholic, Penney, Marceline, West Platte, Plattesburg, South Shelby, Milan….and more. These teams are well coached and talented… every year. They are fun to watch.
There is a different feel to the games…. Hometowns, downtowns, rivalries, watching the game from your pickup truck bed, real grass fields, players going both ways, loyalty, tradition, history, and geography.
Two Former All-State QB’s are Mentoring the New Breed
Paul Carney and Brandon Shelby were both All-State quarterbacks in high school. It is no surprise that both coaches are now tutoring two of the top QB’s in Southwest Missouri, Junior Dylan Mountain at Skyline and Senior Driston Self at Osceola. Both have put up gaudy numbers over the last two years, doing damage with both their feet and arms. Both QB’s are talented, and both Coach Shelby and Coach Carney have their triggermen in offensive systems than can showcase their talent.
The Real Storyline is simply this….
These are two very talented football teams, coached by two of the finest men I know, meeting for the Missouri 1A District 4 championship… This is a game worth going to, covering, and reading about
Here is an excellent preview of the game from the OzarkSportsZone
You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org