Coach: Steve Ary, first year as head coach at West Plains
2011 Recap: 0-10
Returning Starters: 26 Lettermen return
Key Returning Players: Kevin Seeley (RB), Derrick Skinner (RB), Zach Watson (TE/LB), Morgan Cornish (DL), Austin Anderson (DL)
Forget 2011, for West Plains a new year presents a new outlook.
The Zizzers have a total change-over from last season. Former head coach Jack Randolph took a job as principal allowing Steve Ary to move up from defensive coordinator. Ary has a 136-63 record as head coach at previous stops in Mountain Grove and Willow Springs.
Along with a new coach, the Zizzers have a new football facility, complete with field turf. Those changes give the players a sense of a fresh start.
"We're a team with no confidence," Ary said. "We're trying to develop an attitude. Had a tough year last year and we're just trying to get better everyday."
Also something West Plains didn't have in 2011, running back Kevin Seeley. Seeley missed all of last year with an ACL tear. It's an injury coach Ary believes the team just couldn't emotionally get over.
There'll be a double-headed monster in the Zizzer backfield with senior Derrick Skinner joining Seeley. Seeley and Skinner could be a very tough project for any defense to contain.
Along with Seeley, the Zizzers have 26 lettermen on the 2012 squad. West Plains strength sould be the experienced offensive line.
Zizzers trying to compete in tough OC
With yet another deep field that includes the likes of Lebanon, Camdenton, and Kickapoo, the Ozark Conference is no easy conference to come in to. Coach Steve Ary looks to do just that as the West Plains Zizzers look to steal a couple of wins from the preseason conference favorites.
When asked about his move from Mountain Grove to West Plains, Ary said: “I was ready for a new challenge and a new conference.”
Ary will look to improve a Zizzers team that went winless last season. The team does have experience returning with four players on offense and three players on defense.
Trey Turner is the man Ary will look to get the ball to early and a lot. Turner led the team in rushing last year with 610 yards. He may play QB this fall and is joined on the offensive side of the ball by three of his offensive linemen.
Morgan Cornish, Austin Anderson and Keagan Drown will look to create the holes up front for Turner. With all three linemen coming back for their senior season, they will look to lead the team to a much improved record.
“You inherit a lot of non-believers with an 0-10 team,” Ary said. “We are trying to get them to believe in themselves and the whole process.”
Defensively, the Zizzers will rely on Zach Watson, a senior free safety who Ary thinks could be the best player on the field this year. Defensive back Gaige Moss will also be back on the field as a junior.
Rather than stressing over wins and losses, Ary is excited to bring over some of his experience and implement an offense that opponents cannot prepare for.
“We are looking to have multiple styles on offense,” Ary said. “We are going to have a lot of formations.”
- Ryan Allison