Football to play with heavy hearts


Joshua Boley/The Chart

Back row: Right to left, redshirt freshman Reese Bounous, senior Julian Young, junior Levi Freeman, sophomore Brion Pickett, junior Beau Bounous, Coach Derek Moore, junior Chance Mayden, junior Spencer Trumbly, freshman Adrian Brownlee, freshman Seth Peterson, senior William Flores, freshman Chelsey Cook, redshirt freshman Rec Richardson  Front row: freshman Taran Holt, junior Austin Wolfe, junior Nick Maier, junior Caleb Benner, sophomore Tyler Rosenthal

Following a difficult week, the Southern football team looks to take the advice of Lions Head Coach Daryl Daye and move forward this weekend against Lindenwood-Belleville, a showdown Southern will use to highlight the Lion seniors, the potential for consecutive winning seasons, and the life of their fallen comrade.

As a community continues to mourn Assistant Coach Derek Moore, a first year coach at Missouri Southern, who died Nov. 1 from injuries suffered in a shooting outside the Regal Northstar movie theatre, the Lions know what Moore would want them to do.

“We have grown closer, not only as a team but as a family,” said freshman lineman Adrian Brownlee.  “[We will] play with intensity and establish dominance, just like what Coach Moore coached us to do.”

The Lions (5-3,4-3 MIAA) enter the first contest between the schools after an unexpected week off, but as the players attempt to find solace through the passion they share, Daye made sure to do his part in keeping spirits high.

“I thought overall the kids came out with enthusiasm and a lot of intensity to the practice,” said Daye.  “We just kinda, as coaches, tried to keep the norm, but I tried to make them have more fun, ya know.  And they seemed to have a lot of fun.”

It was a step in the right direction on the journey back to normalcy for players and coaches alike, but as the weekend approaches, the Lions know there are still games to be played.  

And as the Lynx of Lindenwood-Belleville (3-6) come to town, Southern looks to put a positive stamp on the rest of this season.

“You never underestimate the enemy and that’s the drum we are beating on,” said Daye.  “We are going out there to play for a winning season, we are going out there to play for our seniors and we are going out there to play for Derek’s memory, so we have a lot of things to play for.”

The Lynx seemingly stumble into this match-up after losing their last five contests, averaging only 9.4 points per game over that stint, a statistic that is slightly misleading as the Lynx sports a fairly potent offensive attack.  

Production comes from a running back, Kameron Harris, who has eclipsed the thousand yard mark at 1,064 to go along with a staggering 13 touchdowns.  

These are numbers to be noticed as Harris’s best game of the year came against a Division II opponent rather than the normal NAIA competition.  In a game against Kentucky Wesleyan, Harris totaled 207 yards on just 18 carries to go along with four touchdowns.

But as the Lions look at the opponent this weekend, they are reminded of their own rushing prowess, leading the MIAA and ranking fourth nationally with 345 yards a game, yet another reason to honor Moore for his contribution in making such statistics a reality.

Southern players will wear stickers on their helmets to go along with badges on this weekend’s game program.  

There will also be a moment of silence following the announcement of the seniors at halftime.

The game kicks off at 2 p.m. Saturday at Fred G. Hughes Stadium.