Posted: Thursday, 15 August 2013 12:40PM

O-Zone Kickoff Week: Fair Grove looks to rebuild in 2013





Fair Grove, Mo. (Ozarks Sports Zone)  -- Last season was a rebuilding one for the Eagles. With many sophomores gaining experience in 2012, Fair Grove fans can expect a more competitive campaign.

HEAD COACH – Jason O’Neal (46-12), 6th season at Fair Grove

2012 RECORD – 5-5, lost 35-0 to Willow Springs in district quarterfinals

PLAYERS TO WATCH – Dalton Robinson (Sr. DE/TE), Luke Ivey (Sr. DE/FB), Caleb Edwards (Sr. ATH), Colton Green (Sr. OL/DL), Caleb Miller (OL/DL), Lyndon Kays (Sr. WR/DB)

With the recent string of successful seasons in the Jason O’Neal era, Fair Grove fans have come to expect double digit win totals each season.

PICTURES: FAIR GROVE FOOTBALL PRACTICE

Although the Eagles struggled while playing a young roster in 2012, it will be to Fair Grove’s benefit in 2013.

“We have a lot of juniors on our team that started as sophomores a year ago,” said O’Neal. “Now that they’re upperclassmen we hope that they’re ready to step up and help take charge of our football with our seniors.”

Fair Grove returns 11 starters, six of which are on the offensive side of the ball. If the Eagles are to be successful in 2013, it will hinge on the performance of their defense.

“A big focus for us this year will be our defense,” said O’Neal. “We’ve changed some things defensively, and I think a big strength for us is our defensive line. We have some tall, rangy kids that can run a little bit. If we can play good defense, then we will have a good season.”

WHERE WILL FAIR GROVE FINISH IN THE MID-LAKES? CLICK HERE TO VOTE

The Eagles will have a new quarterback under center with the graduation of Michael Thomas. Although there is competition for the spot, the early leader is Joe Hoskins.

“Joe played some tailback and receiver for us last year,” said O’Neal. “He is a junior and if he keeps working hard he’s going to come around and be a good quarterback for us.”

Fair Grove’s schedule features nonconference matchups with Buffalo, Hollister, and Catholic in addition to the always tough Mid-Lakes slate.

With graduation losses at Skyline, as well as much of the conference starting underclassmen last year, the league figures to be competitive from top to bottom in 2013.

CLICK HERE FOR ALL FALL SPORTS PREVIEWS

“I think our conference will be very tough this year and very competitive, there are a bunch of teams that have similar skill levels,” said O’Neal. “It’s going to be a dog fight to see who comes out on top.”

Fair Grove opens the 2013 season on Aug. 30 at Buffalo.

Photo Galleries

Pictures: Ava 9, Mt. Grove 8


Ava won the battle of SCA unbeatens with a walk-off sac fly.

Pictures: Southwest 10, Purdy 8


Southwest claims the Ozark 7 championship.

Pictures: Central vs. Glendale tennis


The Falcons and Bulldogs met at Cooper on Wednesday.
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