Lebanon head coach Will Christian reflects on historic 2017 season

LDR photo/Alex Boyer
The Lebanon High School football team saw its season come to an end on Saturday afternoon in the Missouri Class 5 state quarterfinals as the Panthers defeatd LHS, 42-7.


The Lebanon Yellowjackets’ 2017 high school football season came to a disappointing end on Saturday afternoon at Ft. Zumwalt North High School as the Panthers knocked off LHS in the quarterfinal round of the Missouri Class 5 playoffs, 42-7.

Even with the lopsided score, the ‘Jackets fought hard for four quarters and refused to give up throughout the game.

The ‘Jackets recorded 213 yards of offense on 57 plays from scrimmage after facing a stifling Panthers defense including 65 rushing yards from sophomore running back Quameire Wright.

Throughout 12 games, Ft. Zumwalt North (12-0) has outscored their opponents 578-167 this season.

Despite the loss, head coach Will Christian says there were plenty of positives throughout the historic season and will submit a season review to the Lebanon R-3 school board, as he does each year.

Lebanon completed the year at 8-4 overall, finished fourth in the Ozark Conference standings, clinched their fifth district championship in school history, appeared in a state quarterfinal game for only the second time in school history, and defeated rival Rolla, where former assistant coach Jon Franks took the Bulldogs into the Class 4 quarterfinal round.

There was more than just success at the varsity level for the Lebanon football program, as the junior varsity and freshman teams combined to go 16-2 with the freshman team finishing 9-0. The junior high programs combined to go 7-5 and Joel E. Barber finished the year at 3-3. “I think it’s huge that they have success,” Christian said. “I have always had the philosophy that I would rather kids stay down a level and have success as opposed to move them up and have them start varsity and win a championship with them.

“I have always felt it is better to stay with your group and develop together and experience success.”

Since Christian took over at Lebanon, the ‘Jackets have gone 80-60 in Christian’s 13 years that he has been here. Before Christian took over, Lebanon was 116-248 in the 36 seasons before his arrival. The ‘Jackets have posted a winning record in seven of the past eight years.

“We are very fortunate to have several years in a row where we have tremendous players who are tremendously committed and hard-working,” Christian said. “If you look at the course of the 13 years that I have been here and think about the names that have put on that Yellowjackets jersey, we have been very fortunate.”

He also gave credit to the continuity of the Lebanon coaching staff, including Zak Tucker (8th-grade football coach), Kurtis Allen, Dalton Pierce, Brian Sommerer, Kerry Amsberg and Mark Whitacre.

“We have been very blessed with the continuity of our coaching staff,” Christian said. “We have had great support and great players. They believe in what we do, and I think that is imperative.”


The Lebanon Daily Record

100 E. Commercial St.
Lebanon, MO 65536
(417) 532-9131