In With the New

The 2017 Fourth of July is now in the books.  I don’t know how four or five firework stands flourish in and around Maryville, but it must be a fact.  Every year, those tents pop up in late June with a new group of fireworks, then on July 5 the tents empty.

That’s the way it feels for Maryville High School athletics.  We can’t wait to see the tent open to welcome in fall sports and all too soon, the tents close up as another class graduates.

Few classes have graduated like Maryville’s 2017 senior class.  You want to talk about fireworks in their four years, you could fill 10 tents.  Add to that two national championships at Northwest Missouri State and its athletic riches this community has never seen.

There’s no need dwelling on all those accomplishments now.  The class of 2018 is about to open the tent to their senior season.  Don’t be too harsh if they don’t quite measure up to previous class.  A lot of great goals can and will be accomplished.

Matt Webb, the Maryville High football coach, has a great motivational saying.  I first heard it last year, but it’s one for the ages.  “Tradition never graduates.”   Pay close attention to what it says, tradition, not a certain amount of wins or championships, never graduates.

No matter what happens in the 2017- 2018 athletic seasons, it will be almost impossible to match wins and championships.  I have no doubt, though, that the senior class of 2018 will carry on the tradition.

Let’s take a look at Maryville football.  Gone are more than 20 seniors.  There are some teams that Maryville play that couldn’t field a team if they lost 20 seniors.  That’s not the way it is here in Maryville.

There may be a few players that won’t play football this season for one reason or another, but I have no doubt that Coach Webb and his staff will carry on the tradition of causing mayhem in the MEC.  We already know that Jalen Sundell will bulldoze the line of scrimmage for the Spoofhounds, and take his talents to North Dakota State.

I was a little surprised in Jalen’s choice by only one factor.  I’m not sure there are a lot of great fishing holes around Fargo.  Jalen is one of the leaders in forming the Maryville Fishing Club.  They even have neat uniforms.

Will the Spoofhounds have another undefeated regular season?  No one knows, but I know if they do lose a game in the regular season for the first time in six years, it doesn’t mean tradition graduated.  It also doesn’t mean Coach Webb and his staff suddenly became dumb.  Be patient and have faith in the best high school coaching staff in Missouri.

What in the world will happen to tradition with the football program at Northwest Missouri State University?  Gone is the most productive senior class in school history.  Also gone is head coach Adam Dorrel, winner of three national championships at Northwest.  Has tradition left town with Coach Dorrel?

I don’t think anyone thinks the unbelievable football tradition will suffer under new coach, Rich Wright.  He now is the head of a program with unreasonable expectations.  How can any program top three national championships in four years?

Coach Wright may not win a national championship his first season as the head of the most successful program in NCAA II history.  Should we think that national championships are a thing of the past if Northwest does not win the ultimate prize in 2017?

That would be pretty foolish thinking.  Coach Wright has been very impressive taking the reins at Northwest.  He maintained almost his entire coaching staff and even added to it.  It appears Northwest football camps were very successful this summer.  Tradition did not take the last train to the coast like the three iconic figures did in the song American Pie.

The unthinkable might even occur and Northwest might lose a regular season game.  Although, Maryville’s own Johnathon Baker, appears to be the front runner at quarterback position and we all know the tradition he carried at Maryville High School.

Coach Wright and his staff may not win a national championship his first year, but don’t bet the farm on it.  I have no doubt before Coach Wright is finished, he will line up an impressive collection of national championship trophies.

That just takes in the fall.  The Northwest men’s basketball team did not lose a coach and they did not have a huge loss to graduation.  Coach Ben McCollum still has his coaching staff intact.  He also has point guard Justin Pitts.  Tradition isn’t going anywhere this winter in Bearcatland, either.

Graduation did hit Maryville High School boys’ team a little harder, but some key members return with a ton of experience.  Look for the girls’ team to take a giant step this winter.  A whole new tradition may be ushered in for Coach Quentin Albrecht’s team.

In one short month, it’s definitely out with the old and in with the new 2017-2018 class of athletes.  Tradition never graduates.

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