Sam Skidmore came on staff as an assistant coach under Bob Shipley in 2014 at Belton High School looking to get the program turned back in the right direction. Three seasons and three playoff trips later, Skidmore goes from the offensive coordinator role to the new man in charge as the Tigers’ head coach. Despite the big name he’s replacing, Skidmore says he and his team are taking everything in stride.
“The transition is going well. The kids haven’t missed a beat,” Skidmore said on the transition, “There is still pressure especially if it’s your head coaching job and you have such big shoes to fill for a well respected coach but I feel like being with has helped me prepare for this.”
Last season, the Tigers won 8 games for the first time since 2011 and a senior-laden offense was a big reason why. One big piece of that puzzle was solved thanks to quarterback Peyton Mansell. The Iowa-bound quarterback was an impressive dual-threat, putting up nearly 3,700 yards and 48 total touchdowns in 2016. That said, the other side of the ball also stepped up when they needed to according to Skidmore.
“Our offense set a school record for points for the second straight year and we had a lot of success,” Skidmore said, “but our defense played phenomenal towards the end of the year. Our kids just kept getting better and better.”
The Tigers did win their bi-district game before falling to the Allen Eagles in the area round of the 6A Division I playoffs, but Skidmore believes that the foundation is set. With six returning starters on each side of the ball, the Tigers will have some key pieces returning from the foundation set over the last couple of seasons, including standout safety Garrison Vaughn.
“We have Garrison coming back for us next year who was an all-state player,” Skidmore said, “Having him in the back end is going to help us out a whole lot for the rest of our defense.”
Overall for 2017, Skidmore is ready to put his own stamp on the Tigers program. He’ll rely on some young players waiting for their opportunity but he believes that with the way the season ended last year, the Tigers should have a lot to be excited about in 2017.
“The thing that impressed me the most is that the kids have grown so much to the point where they aren’t scared of anybody. Against Allen, the game didn’t go our way but our kids fought tooth and nail with them and I think that’s something to look forward to next year.”
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