REPUBLIC, Mo–The high school football season kicks off Friday night across the Show-Me State.
For a majority of teams, the new season features new hope for fall excitement.
That’s the case in Republic where we find KOLR 10’s Dan Molloy.
Republic is coming off a 3-win season, but the Tigers have plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
They have 13 starters back, a strong junior class that went 7-1 in JF last year.
And a brand new stadium signifying a new era of republic football.
Republic lost too many close games last season.
All-conference receiver Cam Flood and other Tiger seniors say their experience has them ready to win those one-possession thrillers.
“Oh, man. Republic only having five wins in the past two years, coming out and just getting a win in the first game would mean a lot,” said senior Cam Flood.
Second-year coach Dustin Baldwin has been rebuilding the RepMo program.
What could be a more obvious sign of progress than practicing next to a brand-new, $8 million stadium under construction?
“Watching this being built brick by brick. It’s kind of a slow process when you see it every day right outside your door. Every day you just kind of pinch yourself. It’s just really nice,” said Baldwin.
The Tigers had played at the old high school, now the junior high, for years.
Now it’s no longer a bus trip to practice, and they’re playing games on the high school campus.
“Practices are a lot more upbeat. There’s a lot less frustration because it’s just nicer. Environment affects how you feel,” said senior Jordan Gold.
“New stadium here, the crowd and the community are so excited about it, it’s going to be pretty special,” said Baldwin.
For high school seniors, week one is their last first game.
Cam Flood and the Tigers want to build off their community’s excitement and investment in their program, and make the most of this historic home opener.
“I’m gonna remember this for 30-plus years. The amount of time and effort I’ve put into this program, just coming out in my very last first game on this new stadium, it’s going to be a really cool experience and a lot of emotion,” said Flood.
Branson is another team with a second-year coach.
I’m sure Anthony Hays is happy to have his entire starting o-line back for the Pirates.
I’ll have full coverage of our 1st & 10 game of the week tonight at 10.
Reporting live in Republic, Dan Molloy, KOLR10 sports, Ozarks First.