By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
2018 could be a new feel for Reeds Spring.
Gone is a class that helped guide the Wolves to a 37-10 record over the last four years. But, while there will be some turnover with new faces and a new conference, the expectations remain high and 2018 will again be about making a playoff run.
“We try to let each year stand on its own,” said Reeds Spring head coach Lance Gosch. “Losing in the District Championship was tough for our kids but you have to put that behind you and remember the work it took to get there and start doing it again.”
Gosch brings back just six starters but several of those returners are names that made a major impact last fall.
Senior quarterback Blake Gronvold is back after tossing nine touchdowns last season while rushing for 821 yards and 15 scores. He’s one of the most experienced dual-threat quarterbacks in the Ozarks.
While last year’s leading rusher Kelly Newton has moved on following a 1,900-yard season, senior Seth Stamps will shoulder even more carries. Stamps rushed for 366 yards on just 39 carries a season ago. He will also start again in the defensive backfield where he recorded 58 tackles and three interceptions as a junior.
“Seth was a big part of what we did defensively last year when we moved him to free safety last year it really changed how we played,” said Gosch. “This year he will be someone we will want to get the ball to on offense very athletic and just seems to find a way to make things happen.”
Leading the offensive line unit will be 6-foot-4, 280lb senior Justin Miller who was an All-COC and All-Area selection last year.
Defensively, Reeds Spring will again count on the production of Ben Moler.
The senior linebacker totaled 121 stops last season, also tallying three interceptions. The all-stater was a major reason why the Wolves allowed seven points or fewer in six of their final eight games.
“Ben is a tremendous worker,” said Gosch. “He studies the game more than any kid I have coached. The work he puts in Monday thru Thursday shows every Friday night.”
Gosch is also excited about the development of some newcomers.
Juniors JT Bayliff and Steven Youngblood will slide into spots defensively, adding some athleticism to the linebacking corps.
Senior Parker Maloney gives Reeds Spring some much-needed size along the offensive line with his 270lb frame. Maloney has had a tremendous offseason and will be counted on to help solidify a unit that lose four of its five starters from last year.
Reeds Spring is gearing up for Year One in the modified Big 8, which is a merger of the Big 8 and COC Small, plus Nevada. The new league blends various styles and classes, which should make for some intriguing football.
“The competition will be great,” said Gosch. “With the teams in our division plus the crossover games every week you have to find a way to play at a high level because you know your opponent will. The Big 8 has tremendous tradition and it is something we are looking forward to being a part of.”
Reeds Spring will open the 2018 season and Big 8 play on Aug. 24 at home against Nevada.