Football Luncheon presented by Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper set for 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17 at University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center
Two former National Football League standouts – Kansas City Chiefs return man Dante Hall and New York Giants lineman Jason Whittle of Camdenton High School and Missouri State University – along with longtime high school football coach Kurt Thompson, the Monett High School Football Program, the 1978 Mount Vernon High School state championship team and longtime Chiefs trainer David Kendall soon will be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
President and Executive Director Jerald Andrews announced Thursday the annual Football Luncheon presented by the Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company. It is set for 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at the University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center in downtown Springfield.
Additionally, a group of former high school and college standouts will be recognized with Elite 11 Awards for their positive contributions. They are Travis Brawner (Branson High School/Missouri State University), Kegan Coleman (Lee’s Summit North High School/University of Central Missouri), Kenny Downing (Aurora High School/University of Missouri/Canadian Football League), Preston Estes (Marionville High School/Missouri State), Derek Jensen (Lebanon High School/Missouri State), Roy Kaderly (Marshfield High School/Mizzou/Missouri State), David McNeel (Greenfield High School/Mizzou/Canadian Football League), Kevin Patterson (Carl Junction High School/Southwest Baptist University), the Roweton Brothers of Bolivar – LanceRoweton (Bolivar High School/SBU/William Jewell) and Brock Roweton (Bolivar High School, Evangel University), Skylar Smith (Kickapoo High School/Missouri State) and Terry Wemer (Joplin Parkwood High School/Oklahoma State University).
Sponsorship tables of eight are $400 and include recognition in the printed program and an autographed print. An individual ticket is $40 in advance, or $50 at the door. Numerous sponsorships, including congratulatory ads, also are available. Call 417-889-3100.
Dante Hall – Kansas City Chiefs
Known as “The Human Joystick” for a remarkable ability to weave through the field, Hall was a punt and kick returner for the Chiefs from 2000 to 2006 after being a fifth-round draft pick out of Texas A&M. He earned two Pro Bowl selections (2002, 2003) and was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s as a kick and punt returner, plus helped the Chiefs to three playoff berths (2003, 2005, 2006). Hall remains the Chiefs’ all-time leader in kickoff returns (360), kickoff return yardage (8,644), kickoff return touchdowns (6) and is third in kick return average (24.0). Additionally, he is the Chiefs’ all-time leader in punts returned for touchdowns (5) and ranks second and third, respectively, in punt returns (188) and punt return yards (1,930) in team history. Hall, who finished his final two seasons with the St. Louis Rams, hauled in a career 162 catches for 1,747 yards and nine TDs.
Jason Whittle – Camdenton High School & Missouri State University
& NFL’s New York Giants/Minnesota Vikings/Buffalo Bills
A former Camdenton High School standout and All-State defensive lineman in 1991 and 1992 – and who played for Missouri State University – Whittle carved out an 11-season career (1998-2008) in the National Football League as a guard and center. He was originally signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 1998 but made a huge impact. He helped the Giants win two NFC East titles (2000, 2005) and the NFC Championship in 2000, reaching the Super Bowl. At Missouri State, he was a four-year letterman and was voted the Arthur Briggs Award as the top scholar athlete in 1995. Whittle, who played his final three seasons with the Minnesota Vikings & Buffalo Bills, lives in Osage Beach.
Kurt Thompson – High School Football Coach at Webb City/Kickapoo/Republic
Thompson was 179-87 in 24 seasons as a head coach for three Missouri high schools. He was 73-12 in seven seasons at Webb City High School from 1990-1996, winning back-to-back state championships there in 1992 and 1993. He also coached at Kickapoo High School in Springfield, compiling an 82-37 record over two stints (1998 to 2006 & 2015, 2016). That included a 20-3 record in his final two seasons, with a Class 6 state semifinal berth in 2016. Thompson, who also coached six seasons at Republic High School (24-38), is a 1988 graduate of Pittsburg State University. At Pitt State, the Iola, Kan., native was a 1986 NAIA Academic All-American and, in 1987, was a team captain and an NAIA All-American linebacker. Thompson was inducted into the Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2011. He also previously coached at Independence Community College in Kansas.
Monett High School Football Program
The Monett High School Football Program has been among the most successful in state history. The Cubs have enjoyed 46 winning seasons since the program launched in 1927. That includes state championship seasons in 1971, 1977 and 2016. Along the way, Monett has won 12 conference championships and 13 district titles. The 1971 team finished 12-0 and was coached by the late Burl Fowler, with coach Benny Lawson guiding the 1977 squad to an 11-2 record. Derrek Uhl coached the 2016 team to a 14-1 finish. The conference titles were won in 1971, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2007 and 2008. The district championships played out in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1990, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2016.
Mount Vernon High School 1978 State Championship Football Team
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Mount Vernon High School’s state championship football season. Coached by the late Pat Wozniak, the Mountaineers finished 13-0 that season, which concluded with a 37-21 victory against MICDS – St. Louis Country Day School in the Class 2 state championship game. Quarterback Jeff Walster, running back Steve Sater, end Rick Kane, center Don Jennings, defensive lineman Michele McGehee and linebacker Steve Owens earned All-State honors that fall, while the team’s only assistants were Dan Breeden and Doug Doss. The team’s 37 points were the fourth-most ever scored by a winning team in the state championship game since the state began hosting state finals in 1968.
David Kendall – Kansas City Chiefs Head Athletic Trainer
Kendall enjoyed a terrific career with the Kansas City Chiefs training staff as he worked for the National Football League organization from 1977 to 2005. He was the Assistant Athletic Trainer from 1977 to 1984 and then was the Head Athletic Trainer from 1985 to 2005. Under his leadership, his Chiefs department was named the Athletic Training Staff of the Year in 1991 by the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society. Kendall also worked in the NFL Playoffs in 1986, 1990 through 1995 and again in 1997. Additionally, he was the Athletic Trainer of the 1994 Pro Bowl as well for the 1987 NFL Hall of Fame Game. Kendall earned the Fain-Cain Memorial Award as the Outstanding NFL Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2007 from the NFL Physician’s Society. He has been part of the National Athletic Trainers Association since 1987 and the Missouri Athletic Trainers Association since 1985.
Dr. Travis Brawner -- Branson High School & Missouri State University
Brawner was the 1994 MVP of the Central Ozark Conference on both offense (fullback) and defense (linebacker) as a senior. He also earned First Team All-COC as a running back, linebacker and kicker, with his time as a senior fullback producing more than 2,100 yards rushing on a 10-1 team that was ranked No. 1 in Class 3 for eight consecutive weeks. He walked on at the University of Arkansas but transferred to Missouri State, where he was voted a 1997 All-American kicker in the Football Championship Subdivision (Formerly I-AA). He earned three All-Missouri Valley Conference selections as well as three letters (1997, 1998, 1999). He is a physician at Ozark Mountain Ear Nose & Throat in Branson.
Kegan Coleman – Lee’s Summit North High School & University of Central Missouri
Coleman was an All-State running back for Lee’s Summit North High School in 1999 and arguably the best running back in the history of the University of Central Missouri. At UCM, Coleman is the all-time leader in rushing yards (3,995), yards per carry (5.8), rushing TDs (58), 100-yard games (18), total TDs (64), points scored (384), and all-purpose yards (5,939). He also owns the single season records for scoring (144), touchdowns (24), yards per carry (6.4), and rushing TDs (22). A two-time All-American (first-team in 2003), he also earned All-Region twice, and All-MIAA three times, including First Team All-MIAA in 2002 and 2003. An injury in his senior season most likely kept him from a third All-American honor. He lives in Kansas City.
Dr. Kenny Downing – Aurora High School & University of Missouri & CFL’s Ottawa/British Columbia
Downing was All-State in 1971 as a defensive specialist for Aurora High School, two years after helping the team win a state championship, and then earned three letters (1973, 1974, 1975) for the University of Missouri. In his time in Columbia, he also earned All-Big Eight Conference in 1975, and was named the All-Big Eight Defensive Player of the Week for Sept. 26, 1975 for his play against Wisconsin. Downing was far from done. He was later drafted by the New Orleans Saints and then traded to the Chicago Bears. He went on to play in the Canadian Football League for the Ottawa Rough Riders and British Columbia Lions. Downing is now the owner of Westwood Chiropractic in Lenexa, Kansas.
Preston Estes – Marionville High School & Missouri State University
Estes was a First Team All-State linebacker on Marionville High School’s 1982 team, which was responsible for the only loss that season of eventual state champion Springfield Greenwood Academy. Estes then went on to Missouri State University, where he was an honorable mention Associated Press All-American in 1985 and 1987. He also was a two-time All-Gateway Conference selection (1985, 1987) and lettered all four seasons there. Estes now works for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and lives in Nixa.
Derek Jensen – Lebanon High School & Missouri State University
Jensen earned All-State in 1993, the second time in three years the quarterback led the Lebanon Yellowjackets to the league championship. In those seasons, he passed for more than 2,200 yards and 24 touchdowns, also earning All-Ozarks. He went on to Missouri State, earning letters all four years. He was a team captain in 1998, a season when he completed 208 of 378 passes for 2,554 yards and 16 TDs and earned All-Missouri Valley Conference honors. Jensen still ranks in the top 10 in total offense, including No. 1 in total plays (1998, 463 yards) and No. 8 in career total yards (3,987). He now works for Life Benefits Consulting in Marshfield.
Roy Kaderly – Marshfield High School & University of Missouri & Missouri State University
Kaderly was an All-State offensive lineman in the fall of 2000 for Marshfield High School on a team that finished 7-5 for coach Jack Randolph, becoming the only Marshfield squad to reach the state quarterfinals. Kaderly also was a unanimous First Team All-Central Ozark Conference offensive and defensive lineman and First Team All-District. He earned First Team All-COC in 1999. Kaderly was then a walk on at Mizzou for one season before finishing his teaching degree at Missouri State. He is now in his 14th season as an assistant coach for the Marshfield Blue Jays’ varsity football team, as he coaches the offensive line and is the special teams coordinator. He also is the head coach of the school’s track and field programs.
David McNeel – Greenfield High School & University of Missouri
& Canadian Football League’s British Columbia Lions/Edmonton Eskimos
McNeel is a 1978 Greenfield High School graduate who, as an All-State quarterback and a linebacker, helped lead the team to the Class 1 state championship in 1977. He then played four seasons for the University of Missouri, including on four bowl teams, and earned letters in 1979, 1980 and 1981. McNeel tried out with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1982 and reached the final round of cuts before the league went on strike. He then played parts of four seasons in the Canadian Football League, including on the 1983 British Columbia Lions’ team that played in the Grey Cup. McNeel, who finished his pro career with the Edmonton Eskimos, now lives in Pacific.
Kevin Patterson -- Carl Junction High School & Southwest Baptist University
Patterson was an All-State defensive end in 1982 for Carl Junction High School and then played football at Southwest Baptist, joining the program when it was launched in 1983. Along the way, he was an NAIA All-American in 1986, when he also earned his third consecutive All-District 16 honor and was a team captain for the second straight year. At SBU, Patterson still holds the program’s sacks records in a career (32.5), single-season (15.5) and single-game (4.5) and his 15.5 sacks in 1986 are No. 2 all-time in the MIAA, or Mid America Intercollegiate Athletic Association. He recently retired as Superintendent of Ozark Public Schools and is working for SBU as Chair of Graduate Education.
Roweton Brothers of Bolivar High School – Lance Roweton & Brock Roweton
A 1994 graduate, Lance Roweton earned All-State honors as a quarterback in 1992 and 1993, leading the Liberators to the 1992 Class 3 state championship game and the 1993 Final Four. He also was All-COC in football, basketball and baseball before playing two seasons each at SBU and William Jewell College, earning All-MIAA honors at quarterback at SBU and First Team All-Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) honors at William Jewell, where he also played one baseball season. Roweton started his coaching career at Ash Grove High School, where he was 23-10 in four seasons with a state semifinal berth in 2002. He then was 116-32 in 13 seasons as Bolivar’s head football coach, including 13 COC championships, a 65-game conference winning streak, five district titles (2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2013) and four quarterfinal berths (2004, 2008, 2009, 2013). He is now taking principal at Halfway High School. A 1997 graduate, Brock Roweton was First Team All-COC in football, basketball and baseball and earned All-District in football and baseball. He also played football and baseball at Evangel University, including two years as a starting quarterback. He earned Honorable Mention All-HAAC honors as a quarterback in 1999, when he also was named Evangel’s team MVP. Brock also was a four-year starter for Evangel baseball, playing as an outfielder and mostly batting third in the lineup. He is now in his 10th season as Willard High School’s head football coach after successful tenures at Rolla and Pierce City high schools. He was 19-2 in two seasons at Pierce City and won a Class 1 district title there in 2004. His Rolla teams were 22-19 over four seasons, with his 2006 team winning a district championship.
Skylar Smith – Kickapoo High School & Missouri State University
Smith was a three-year starter for Kickapoo and was two-time All-State running back in 2004 and 2005, and for several years held the school career and single-season rushing records. As a senior, he rushed for 1,369 yards on 190 carries and scored 21 touchdowns. At Missouri State, Smith was second-team All-MVFC in 2009 after earning honorable mention distinction in 2008. He finished his career with 258 tackles in 38 games with a pair of interceptions, 14 break-ups and two fumble recoveries. That followed a senior season in which his 82 total tackles was second-most on the team for a third consecutive year. He now works for KPM Wealth Advisors.
Terry Wemer – Joplin Parkwood High School & Oklahoma State University
Wemer was a four-year starter for Joplin Parkwood High School (and was the first freshman to earn a varsity letter) and also earned All-State in 1980, when he helped the team win a state championship by hauling in a touchdown pass in the title game. That was among his 19 touchdowns that season, including as a punt and kick returner. He went on to Oklahoma State University, where he lettered in 1981, 1983, 1984 and 1985. He played in the Independence Bowl, the Bluebonnet and back-to-back Gator Bowls. In Stillwater, he had 550 career yards receiving on 47 catches and a touchdown. Wemer now works for Joplin Saw & Supply.