Chaffee: Winning season provides spark

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The challenge for the Chaffee football program will be following the school's best season since 1990.

But that's better than following the 16 losing seasons that took place in between.

Coach Charlie Vickery heads into his fourth season in his second tenure at his alma mater with a different challenge — replacing important players at some key positions after the 6-4 campaign.

"It's the same every year," Vickery said. "We lost some good people. We've just got to find somebody to replace them."

The good people who departed from last year's team helped elevate the program, which had lost 34 games from 2002 to 2006, from zero wins in 2005 to three in 2006.

The group included linemen Walker Rice and Jo Jo Myers, running back/linebacker Dylan McAlister, running back/defensive back Jerrod Steger and quarterback Andy Hendrix.

Among their accomplishments was the first win against rival Scott City since 1985 and a week eight win against St. Vincent.

"What last year's group was able to do, what we preached to them was 'You have to handle adversity,'" Vickery said. "They had to handle it and get through it. The group last year did that, and we're preaching the same thing this year. Everything is not going to be great every game, and you have to be able to handle that adversity. You can't just tuck your head.

"We want to be as good as we can be. If we're not good enough to win a game, so be it. But I think we can compete with everybody. Our kids won't back down."

With the program's recent upturn in wins has come an increase in numbers.

Vickery said the program, which had 35 players in his first season back, has more than 40 players this season.

That gives the Red Devils depth in some areas, particularly in the running game, where four different players could see time in the tailback spot (or spots) behind 225-pound fullback Daniel Lawson. Seniors Hunter Thomason and Chris Thomas saw the most time of the backs, while seniors Collin Dannenmueller and J.C. Reeves also are expected to see time in the backfield.

Lawson's role will be important since only junior Alex Horton returns to the offensive line, and he will be out early in the season with an injury. Vickery said the other line slots likely will be filled by junior tackle Darren Lee, junior guard Dylan Pobst, junior guard Jake Atkinson and senior tackle Bill Atkinson.

In addition to being a team leader at quarterback, Hendrix was the team's third-leading rusher while passing for 745 yards.

Senior Aaron Horrell is slotted for quarterback this fall, with junior receiver Trenton Horman and freshman Jordan Yahn waiting in the wings. Vickery's preference is for Horman to stay out in the wideout spot with Mike Rutherford and tight end Josh Roberts also catching passes.

"I have confidence we can throw it, but I just think it's going to be a wait-and-see," said Vickery, who utilizes one-back, two-back and three-back formations. "With our untested line, I don't know if we can pound the ball as much as we were able to last year. I think we'll get better every game in the line."

With the veterans in the offense last year, Chaffee averaged only 20.4 points per game.

But the Red Devils ranked fifth among the 15 SEMO Conference schools defensively by allowing just 17.4 points per game.

That figures to be the team's strength again this year with five defensive starters on the back end of the 3-5-3 formation.

"I feel our secondary will really be strong," Vickery said. "I think we'll be OK up front. We have decent size. We're not huge, but we'll be able to run."

Dannenmueller had four interceptions to lead the team last year, while Thomason and Lawson were among the top tacklers. Lawson will slide from defensive end to a linebacker slot, while Thomas will move up from the secondary to outside linebacker. Horman also is a returning starter in the secondary.

Andy Cannon, a 6-foot-1, 300-pound senior lineman, started at nose tackle last year, but will play on offense until Horton returns from his injury.

In the meantime, Jake Atkinson will be the nose tackle.

Vickery said his team implemented the 3-5-3 last year to give the defense flexibility — "We're not crunched up so tight," he said — against offensive attacks like the spread run by Class 1 District 1 champ Hayti and a few others on the schedule.

"One week you'll face a team that pounds it between the tackles, and the next week they'll spread it out," he said. "You don't want kids thinking too much and playing defense. You want them to run and hit."

Hard to believe given Chaffee's run of tough years, but the school would have made its first state playoff appearance since its state championship 25 years ago if this year's playoff system was in place last year. Two teams from each district will make the playoff field instead of just the district champion, but the Red Devils aren't looking at that possibility at the moment.

"We are just looking at the first game right now," Vickery said. "The biggest game is the next game. If you approach it like that, things will take care of themselves.

"I think everybody is optimistic at this point of the year, and we are, too. It's not like we're going to be battling for two or three years. I like what we've got."

Info

Coach: Charlie Vickery, fourth season (9-21)

Assistants: Terry Glenzy, Ray Goodson, Brian Horrell

Last season: The Red Devils broke their 21-year losing streak to Scott City, and enjoyed their most successful season this decade.

2007 results

vs. GrandviewW47-6

at Liberty Mtn. ViewL21-19

vs. Crystal CityL35-0

at Walnut Ridge (Ark.)W13-6

vs. Scott CityW21-19

at East PrairieW28-14

at MaldenL14-8

vs. St. VincentW13-10

at HaytiL42-13

at PortagevilleW42-7

2008 schedule

Aug. 29at Grandview7 p.m.

Sept. 5at Fulton County (Ky.)7:30 p.m.

Sept. 12at Crystal City7 p.m.

Sept. 19St. Pius7 p.m.

Sept. 26at Scott City7 p.m.

Oct. 3East Prairie7 p.m.

Oct. 10Malden7 p.m.

Oct. 17at St. Vincent7 p.m.

Oct. 24Hayti7 p.m.

Oct. 30Portageville7 p.m.

Record since 2000

2000 B. Horrell 3-7

2001 B. Horrell 2-8

2002 B. Horrell 1-9

2003 Brashears 0-10

2004 Brashears 0-10

2005 Vickery 0-10

2006 Vickery 3-7

2007 Vickery 6-4

2008 roster

1J.C. ReevesRB/LB5-9185Sr.

2Zach DannenmuellerRB/DB5-10145Fr.

8Dustin StricklandWR/DB5-9135Fr.

10Mike RutherfordWR/DB5-11160So.

11Josh RobertsTE/LB6-0160Sr.

12Jordan YahnQB/DB5-11170Fr.

17Aaron HorrellQB/LB5-11170Sr.

21Nathan CicardiWR/DB5-8150Sr.

22Trenton HormanRB/DB5-11150Jr.

30Alex DavieRB/LB5-8140Fr.

31Daniel LawsonRB/LB6-1225Jr.

32Trevor CannonRB/LB5-7160Fr.

33Cody EnderleRB/LB5-10200So.

34Chris ThomasRB/LB5-8165Sr.

40Collin DannenmuellerRB/DB6-0160Sr.

42Hunter ThomasonRB/LB5-7165Sr.

48Tyson EstesRB/LB5-6140Fr.

52Alex HortonOL/LB5-11200Jr.

53Chuckie HarlissOL/LB5-10195So.

54Jacob AtkinsonOL/DL5-4170Jr.

55Jake WilliamsOL/DB5-8175Fr.

56Dru ArmitageOL/LB5-5145Fr.

57Garrett WarrenOL/DL5-11200Jr.

60Tyler HaneyOL/DL5-8160Jr.

62Darren LeeOL/LB6-1190Jr.

64Dylan PobstOL/DL5-11200Jr.

65Andy CannonOL/DL6-1300Sr.

66Johnny NealOL/DL5-11230Jr.

68Zach PerkinsOL/DL5-11210Fr.

70Josh NiswongerOL/DL5-10190Sr.

71Nathan PulliamOL/DL5-6160Fr.

72Logan LandsOL/DL6-4300Jr.

73Matt CoxOL/DL5-9220Fr.

74Bill AtkinsonOL/DL5-6200Sr.

75Trevor LoweryOL/DL5-6185Sr.

77Charlie WhitakerOL/DL5-8300Fr.

80Travis McGuireWR/DB5-7120Fr.

82Kenny CumminsOL/DL6-1190So.

85David PettitTE/LB5-7185Jr.

86Jordan WhiteTE/LB5-8160Jr.

88Zach PayneWR/DB6-0155Sr.

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