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By David Sharp
Knox County greeted 23 players at the beginning of Fall Sports practice on August 8, 2022. The Eagles are tasked with replacing eight graduating seniors off a 7-3 team. Knox County overcame injuries to several key players during their first season of 8-Man Football.
Returning seniors Rylan Roberts and Keaton Strange were two of the players missing significant time with injuries in 2021. Roberts got off to a great start last season before suffering a knee injury. Keaton Strange and Roberts had season ending knee injuries last season.
Braxton McCurren is a key returning starting linebacker and running back. Senior Austin Jansen had several big games last season at running back. Lineman Jeep Griffith is the fourth senior out for football in 2022.
The Eagles will be a youthful team this season, Eight of their 23 players are freshman. Knox County returns four starters on offense and defense. Carter Marble, Branson Miller, Braydon Miller, Elijah Ward, Holden Goucher, Tanner Gillaspy and Jacob Becker are key losses to graduation.
Reice Miller and senior Joey Davis along with returning starting Junior lineman Robert Dooley will likely play expanded roles this season. Returning sophomores Landon McCarty, Jace Holman, and Terry Ogden will compete for line spots.
Freshmen Donovan Dooley, Alious Hunolt, Cooper Claire and Junior Colin Hayes were listed as key newcomers for this season. Hayes gave the Eagles several good snaps before his season was cut short by injuries.
Knox County has a challenging schedule highlighted by St. Joseph Bishop LeBlond, second in Missouri 8-Man football Worth County at Worth County. The Eagles have a game at Sweet Springs on September 2. The Greyhounds beat Knox County during the Eagles final 11-Man football season two years ago.
Knox County hosts perennial 8-Man Football power Stanberry in their home opener on week four. The Eagles host final four participant North Shelby (12-1) in Week five action.
North Shelby lost a lot of quality football players to graduation. The Eagles and Raiders had four men each on the 2021-22 All Star football game at Missouri Western State University this June.
The Raiders only loss of the 2021 season was to state runner up Worth County. Knox County also has a game at Concordia St. Paul Lutheran as well as a home game with Northwest-Hughesville. The Saints and Mustangs were two of the KCHS football losses last season along with North Shelby.
Knox County plays their football Jamboree with North Shelby and Keytesville on Friday, August 19 at 6PM.