The Waynesville High School football team will open up their season tonight against Ozark Conference opponent West Plains at 7:00 p.m.
Last season Waynesville went to West Plains and dominated, coming home with a 44-27 victory but things can change from one season to the next and with this being Waynesville's first game of the season head coach Rick Vernon isn't quite sure how things may turn out.
“You really don't know how good someone is,” said Vernon. “Jamboree's don't show you a whole lot. In that first game you always just have to wait and see how special teams do since you don't see that in the jamboree's.”
In last year's game Waynesville passed for 304 yards and three touchdowns. The Tigers also rushed for 239 yards. James Holler was the starting quarterback for last season's game but he has graduated and Vernon has not yet named a starter for tonight's game, although Dylan Newcomb started in the jamboree against both Nixa and Marshfield last Friday.
Another factor in last season's game was the rushing of Malcolm James (90 yards) and the receiving of Matt Rush (117 yards) and Steven Durah (117 yards). All three of them have either graduated or moved away.
Waynesville will have to depend on the rushing of Nick Farmer, Warren Womack and Corey Duncan this season and the receiving of Aren Martin, EJ Green and Newcomb, when he is not playing quarterback.
Besides Newcomb, Waynesville could start junior Trent Simpson or senior Alec Tebbe, both saw significant playing time in last Friday's jamboree.
Last season's leading tackler in that game, Tim Moore, who had 21 tackles, will be in the game and will be joined by Jacob Semple who had the only sack for Waynesville against West Plains.
“We just want to be successful and do the things we have worked on,” said Vernon. “We want to be able to run our offense and defense like we worked on in practice.”
This is also the first game that Waynesville will honor former players, players from the 1959-69 teams will be honored before the game. Game time is 7:00 p.m. and the game will be played at Slaughter Field at Waynesville Middle School.