The biggest turnaround in Missouri Class 6 football last season belonged to the Lee’s Summit Tigers. They won 10 games in 2013 a year after winning only three.
That wasn’t by accident. The Tigers’ senior class last year included 32 players packaged around all-state quarterback Drew Lock, a Missouri recruit.
Lock is back this season. But little of that supporting cast will return. The team welcomes back only six players who saw meaningful playing time during the 10-win campaign.
“The big thing to remember is not only did we graduate 32 seniors, many of those seniors had played two or three years of varsity football for us,” Lee’s Summit coach Eric Thomas said. “They weren’t just seniors. They were seasoned seniors. We don’t have that luxury this time.”
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It’s not all bad news, of course, with Lock returning to command the shotgun offense. The strong-armed quarterback threw for 3,062 yards and 35 touchdowns in 12 games last season. He committed to Missouri after the season.
“We’re building everything around him — there’s no doubt about that,” Thomas said. “But you still have to be able to run the football. We can’t just throw it every down.”
Offensive linemen Ryan Dodd and Devante Wright offer experienced protection for Lock up front, but the Tigers will have to replace 1,000-yard rusher Casey Slaughter.
They will also have to replace their entire defensive line. In an effort to ease new players onto the defensive line, the Tigers figure to put more pressure on the shoulders of returning linebackers Austin Pace and Kyler Milligan. Pace, a soon-to-be three-year starter, led the team with 124 tackles last season.