LEBANON, Mo. — In Lebanon, winning and winning through physicality are just part of the program.
“You know, every program has their identity and they’re all great,” Lebanon Head Coach Will Christian said. “For us, it’s physicality.”
This year is no different as the Yellowjackets have muscled their way to a 2-0 start for the ninth time in the last 10 years.
The only deviation came last year as Lebanon ran into something they couldn’t just run over: injuries and COVID.
“Take no disrespect away from Bolivar who beat us last year,” Christian said. “They were the better football team. We were dealing with a lot of COVID stuff and just a lot of different dynamics.”
But this year, results are back on track in Lebanon.
The Yellowjackets are fresh off a win over Kickapoo who beat them last year.
Now they face Bolivar, who also beat them last year in a rematch senior quarterback Peyton Mitchell has been looking forward to.
“I actually didn’t get to play against Bolivar last year,” Mitchell said. “That was very upsetting. I was looking forward to that game. Half our varsity was out of that game, our entire backfield.”
But this time, he’s ready.
“We’re very confident this week. I got a new haircut the other day, so I’ve got to keep the confidence sky high. Look good, play good.”
Lebanon Head Coach Will Christian calls Mitchell “the straw that stirs the drink.”
But Mitchel is one of 20 seniors making up that drink – now in a final season they’ve been looking forward to for a long time.
“Oh yeah,” Mitchell said. “We’re a small town. We’ve grown up with each other. We’ve known each other since kindergarten. Five of these guys I was in the same kindergarten class with. We played flag football together. We’re best friends.”
And while their expectation bar is placed high…
“The bar is sky high,” Mitchell said. “Of course, we want to get past that quarterfinal game that our program has never gotten past. We’re looking to go farther than that.”
…they’ve got to get through Bolivar first.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for Coach Johnson and his program,” Christian said. “I think it is going to end up being a good rivalry between the two. But really for us, it’s just about this year and continuing to chase winning a conference title. Obviously to do that you’ve got to go through a good Bolivar team.”