REEDS SPRING, Mo–A pack of wolves gathered Thursday for Thanksgiving.
For Reeds Spring, it was part of game week that will culminate Saturday in the Missouri Class 3 state semifinals.
The Wolves will host Sullivan.
Behind coach Andy McFarland, Reeds Spring is looking to make history.
Andy McFarland doesn’t own a theater on the strip.
He’s no master of illusion.
Heck, he may not be able to carry a tune.
Yet he’s the most popular man in the Branson area these days.
Andy McFarland is the football coach at Reeds Spring high school.
”This has been a really special experience for me personally. This is my third year at Reeds Spring, I haven’t been here super long. But I’ve had players from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000ths all shoot me emails and send me well wishes for the boys,” said McFarland.
On second thought, coach may be a magician.
In those three years, McFarland has turned around the Wolves program.
Reeds Spring went from three wins two years ago to playing in the Class 3 state semifinals.
McFarland:”We lost a game at Nevada in week two this year. Since then we’ve been committed to focusing on us. If you just win the next play you’re going to give yourself a chance to win the game.”
The Wolves did just that in their 21-7 quarterfinal win at Boonville.
The team was not distracted by the cold, windy weather or being on the road.
”We came ready to play. We expected what we got and got the job done…Just listen to coach. He tells me to lock in and I lock in. You have to be mentally ready more than physically,” said Wolves quarterback Blandy Burall.
McFarland isn’t using any slight of hand or parlor tricks.
It’s talented, veteran players and a good dose of community support.
“The amount of fans you have cheering you on makes you feel well. It gives you lots of adrenaline and gets you going,” said Wolves lineman Moses Barr.
The Wolves will need that laser focus Saturday against Sullivan.
The Eagles are 11-2 and like Reeds Spring haven’t lost a game since September.
”You don’t get to this point without beating good teams. That goes for us and our opponent. It’s going to be a battle Saturday. and we’re thankful to have the advantage of getting to play at home,” said McFarland.
The last time Reeds Spring played in a football state semifinal was 1980.
And no Wolves team has ever won a championship.
McFarland:”It’s been 42 years, that’s a long time. But there’s been a lot of good football players and a lot of good football coaches in 42 years. Some of those guys deserved to be in our shoes. And we feel like we’re carrying the banner for them,” said McFarland.
And coach has made Saturday’s football game the hottest ticket on the strip.
”I’m just proud to be the coach of this football team. I’m proud of these boys. They’ve done things the right way….when you have talent and buy in, the end result is you’ll be playing after Thanksgiving,” said McFarland.