After spending time in the college coaching ranks at William Jewell, first-year Excelsior Springs football coach Josh Buford says he has a mind for offense.
By SAM MCDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
In that case, he must like what he sees in senior Nick Masoner.
An all-state selection last season, Masoner was a do-it-all player for the Tigers. He rushed for six touchdowns, caught passes for five more scores, recorded 49 tackles on defense, returned a punt for a touchdown and made 34 of 37 extra-point place-kicks.
He's back for one more year.
"I think anything we do, we're going to build things around him, honestly," Buford said. "As you can probably tell, there's nothing he can't do well, so we're going to take advantage of what he can do."
In addition to the turnover on its coaching staff, Excelsior Springs has undergone a significant change in experienced players, returning only four starters on both offense and defense.
In his first year with the Tigers, Buford, 29, has made a point to recruit additional players from the student body. It has paid benefits. Three new linebackers — Gage Beaman, Dakota Zelinski and Garron Grass — will add to a defense that already includes last season's leading tackler, Austin Creason, and hybrid linebacker Tyler Eddington.
"I think that one of our strengths defensively is our kids know how to swarm to the ball," Buford said. "They do a great job of flying around and getting in on tackles."
Aside from Masoner, the offense also welcomes back a pair of offensive linemen on the left side in tackle Dylan Poor and guard Tyler Pugh.