Former Missouri Tigers quarterback Corby Jones, longtime Seneca football coach Tom Hodge, former Columbia Hickman standout and successful college coach Randy Ball – as well as the Camdenton High School football program – are now enshrined in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
The three individuals and Camdenton’s program were inducted during the Hall of Fame’s annual Football Luncheon presented by the Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company on Monday at University Plaza Convention Center in Springfield. President and Executive Director Jerald Andrews presided over the ceremony, which drew a crowd of more than 600.
“We are delighted to welcome Corby Jones, Tom Hodge, Randy Ball and the Camdenton Lakers football program into the Hall of Fame,” Andrews said. “Each made significant contributions in the sport and, as we look back, it’s clear they had the right character to make a difference to teammates, fellow coaches and their communities.”
The Hall of Fame also recognized the Elite 11, a group of former high school, college and pro football players who made contributions in the sport. They are Chuck Banta (Parkview/Mizzou), Ben Nichols (Springfield Glendale/Colorado/Atlanta Falcons/Rhein Fire), Lee Coleman (Hillcrest/Missouri State/Evangel), Isaac Sooter (Sarcoxie/Evangel), Darrin Newbold (Aurora/Missouri State/New York Jets/Oklahoma Outlaws), Anthony Frazier (Springfield Greenwood/Mizzou), Robert Clardy (Marshfield/Southwest Baptist), Wes Kemp (St. Louis De Smet/Mizzou), Lance Crayton (Springfield Catholic/Missouri State), Steve Mayfield (Aurora), Landon Zerkel (Webb City/Missouri Southern) and Brandon Peck (Clinton/Central Missouri).
Jones, a Columbia Hickman graduate who was a four-year starter for Mizzou from 1995 to 1998, delivered an emotional speech as he spoke of his late father, Curtis Jones. His father, who was on then-coach Larry Smith’s staff beginning in 1994, passed away before Corby’s senior season at Mizzou.
“He taught me character. He taught me integrity,” Jones said as he fought back tears. “And he taught me the best way to tell somebody that you care about them is to show them. And that’s why he was so respected by his players. It wasn’t about football. It wasn’t about winning. It was about building the character of these kids, and I will never forget that.”
Jones held 14 school records at the end of his senior year, with Jones still ranking in the top 10 of at least eight Mizzou records. He also was a four-time letterman and a three-time All-Big 12 Conference (including first team in 1997). Jones quarterbacked the Tigers to a 7-5 record in 1997 – the program’s first winning season in 13 years and its first bowl game since 1983, as the team played in the Holiday Bowl. The team finished
8-4 in 1998, beating West Virginia in the Insight.com Bowl, its first bowl win since 1981. Overall, Jones amassed 6,230 career yards of total offense, a mark that ranks seventh in school history.
Meanwhile, Hodge made it a point to thank former coaches and players, as well as his wife, Merlene, for her longtime support. He also singled out the Seneca community.
Hodge has been connected to Seneca High School and its football program as a player, coach, athletic director or parent since the fall of 1961. He served 17 seasons as the head coach from 1981 to 1987 and again from 1989 to 1998.
Overall, he was part of six Seneca teams that played in state championship games, with Hodge either a volunteer coach, assistant or head coach. As the head coach, Hodge compiled a 161-38 record, a .809 winning percentage that ranks fifth all-time in state high school history. His teams won two state championships (1987 in Class 2, 1995 in Class 3) and also earned state runner-up finishes in 1983 and 1986. Seneca won 11 district titles as well as a dozen Big 13/Big Eight Conference titles in his head-coaching tenure.
“The people of Seneca, they made football special in Seneca because they bought into what we were doing,” Hodge said. “And they took the time to care. You can see, if we really give the recognition to all those responsible for Seneca football, we’re going to need a bigger plaque.”
Ball thanked a number of former coaches, players, athletic directors and his family for making his dreams possible. He was a standout football player Columbia Hickman High School and later for Truman State University before going on to a successful college coaching career.
Between 1990 and 1998, Ball led Western Illinois University football to a 64-41-1 record (.608 winning percentage) – the career record at the Football Championship Subdivision school. With Ball at the helm there, the Fighting Leathernecks won their first I-AA postseason victory (1997), enjoyed their first 11-win season (1997) and reached their first national semifinals appearance. He was also part of three Gateway Conference Championships, now the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The first was in 1988 as an assistant and the next two were in 1997 and 1998. His 51 career league wins in the Valley as head coach at Western and at Missouri State (34-42 record from 1999 to 2005) stand among the league’s best.
“What a coach means to me is a person who will take a young man and teach him how to be successful in life, and they’ll go on and be successful,” said Ball, who now works as a pro scouting assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League. In his time with the Chiefs, the team has reached the playoffs each of the past three seasons (2013, 2014 and 2015).
The Camdenton High School football program had a huge turnout that included more than 40 former players. Since first fielding a team in 1959, the Lakers are 468-139-7 and have enjoyed 54 winning seasons as well as five state championships (1986, 1987, 1995, 1999, 2005).
Camdenton also has two state second-place finishes, in 1977 and 1996, and reached the state semifinals three other times (1978, 1980, 1988) and the state quarterfinals 10 other times (1982, 1983, 1984, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013). Additionally, the Lakers have won 26 district championships, with the first in 1977. The Lakers had five head coaches before Camdenton hired Bob Shore in 1975. Shore was 328-75-2 at Camdenton before retiring after the 2010 season, earning Missouri Sports Hall of Fame induction in 2004 and Coach of the Century by the News-Leader in 2000. His son, Jeff Shore, has coached the team since. The program has produced 114 All-State players, including 111 since the 1975 season.
“It’s just very special,” coach Bob Shore said. “We’ve had leadership. … And, boy, our community and our booster club and, above all, our coaching staff and players, have been able to make the effort. I do know this – we always told the kids, ‘If you put your mind and your body and your heart into it, you’ll be successful.’”
(Continued on next page)
Corby Jones, Mizzou
A Columbia Hickman High School graduate, Corby Jones was a standout quarterback and four-year starter for the Missouri Tigers from 1995 to 1998, emerging as a fan favorite as he led the program to bowl games in his junior and senior seasons. He held 14 school records at the end of his senior year, with Jones still ranking in the top 10 of at least eight Mizzou records. He also was a four-time letterman and a three-time All-Big 12 Conference (including first team in 1997). Jones who quarterbacked the Tigers to a 7-5 record in 1997 – the program’s first winning season in 13 years and its first bowl game since 1983, as the team played in the Holiday Bowl. The team finished
8-4 in 1998, beating West Virginia in the Insight.com Bowl, its first bowl win since 1981. Overall, Jones amassed 6,230 career yards of total offense, a mark that ranks seventh in school history. Jones rushed for 2,533 career yards on 559 carries, a 4.5 yards per carry average. Jones also was 257 of 516 passing for 3,697 yards, which are 10th-most in Mizzou history. He also scored 228 points, now sixth-most in the Mizzou record book. In other Mizzou records, Jones ranks first in most yards gained per attempt in a single game (15.2 average against Iowa State, 1997); tied for first with Terry McMillan and Maty Mauk for most TDs responsible for in a single game, with six; and ranks second, seventh and ninth, respectively, in QB passer rating in a single game, single season and career. Overall, Jones had five games of at least 200-yards passing and six games of at least 100 yards rushing. He led the team in total offense in 1996, 1997 and 1998. A first team All-State selection in football and baseball at Columbia Hickman in 1994 and 1995, Jones pursued his dreams of being a pro QB by playing the 1999 and 2000 seasons with the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League. He also spent part of 2001 with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. He graduated from Mizzou in 2000 and graduated from the Missouri Law School in 2004. Jones currently works at the law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon.
Tom Hodge, Seneca
Tom Hodge has been connected to Seneca High School and its football program as a player, coach, athletic director or parent since the fall of 1961. He served 17 seasons as the head coach from 1981 to 1987 and again from 1989 to 1998. Overall, he was part of six Seneca teams that played in state championship games, with Hodge either a volunteer coach, assistant or head coach. As the head coach, Hodge compiled a 161-38 record, a .809 winning percentage that ranks fifth all-time in state high school history. His teams won two state championships (1987 in Class 2, 1995 in Class 3) and also earned state runner-up finishes in 1983 and 1986. Seneca won 11 district titles as well as a dozen Big 13/Big Eight Conference titles in his head-coaching tenure. Hodge was a three-time state Coach of the Year and a 2011 Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee. A 1965 graduate of Seneca High School, Hodge played on Seneca’s 1964 undefeated team which featured Greg Cook, who later played on the Missouri Tigers 1968 Gator Bowl team that beat Bear Bryant-coached Alabama. Hodge was a volunteer coach for Seneca football in 1968 when the team placed second in Class 2. His first assistant coaching job was in 1969 at Greenwood Laboratory School, and he earned an undergraduate degree in 1970 from Missouri State University. He then coached one season at Seneca before serving two years in the U.S. Army overseas, earning a master’s degree from Southern Cal while in Germany. Upon his return, Hodge was part of Seneca coach Pat Lawson’s staff for nine seasons, including 1975 when Seneca placed second in Class 2. Hodge, who spent the 1988-1989 school year as an administrator at Neosho High School, has been Seneca’s athletic director for all but four years since 1981.
(Continued on next page)
Randy Ball, Columbia Hickman/Truman State/Western Illinois/Kansas City Chiefs
Randy Ball was a standout football player Columbia Hickman High School and later for Truman State University before going on to a successful college coaching career. He now works as a pro scouting assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League. In his time with the Chiefs, the team has reached the playoffs each of the past three seasons (2013, 2014 and 2015). Between 1990 and 1998, Ball led Western Illinois University football to a 64-41-1 record (.608 winning percentage) – the career record at the Football Championship Subdivision school. With Ball at the helm there, the Fighting Leathernecks won their first I-AA postseason victory (1997), enjoyed their first 11-win season (1997) and reached their first national semifinals appearance. He was also part of three Gateway Conference Championships, now the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The first was in 1988 as an assistant and the next two were in 1997 and 1998. His 51 career league wins in the Valley as head coach at Western and at Missouri State (34-42 record from 1999 to 2005) stand among the league’s best. Ball was the 1997 Eddie Robinson Award finalist for the National Coach of the Year in addition to being named the Bruce Craddock Award recipient and Gateway Conference Coach of the Year. After leading the Leathernecks to their second outright conference title in school history in 1998 with a 6-0 record, Ball was named the American Football Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year. The 1998 team led the nation in defense in holding opponents to only 9.4 points per game. Under his guidance, an instrumental part of the defense in both the 1997 and 1998 seasons was Western’s first-ever player to win the Buck Buchanan Award for the nation’s top linebacker, in James Milton. Other standouts included NFL players Don Beebe and Bryan Cox. At Missouri State, Ball coached four future NFL players, including standout Brad St. Louis. At Columbia Hickman High School, Ball earned three varsity letters in football and track and field (1966-1968). He then went to then-Northeast Missouri State University (Truman State), where he was team captain and earned all-conference honors (1970-1971), and was a member of three league championships between 1969 and 1972. Prior to his head coaching career, Ball was an assistant at various stops – Missouri Western University in 1977, Illinois State from 1978-1980, one season at Northeast Missouri State and then with Western Illinois from 1983 to 1989. At Missouri Western, the team won the Boot Hill Bowl in 1977, and he was part the 1982 Northeast Missouri State team that won the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association and advanced to the NCAA Division II playoffs. Since his head coaching days, he has been involved in the All American Football League (2007), Drake University football (2007), the United National Gridiron Football League (2008) and the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League (2009-2013).
Camdenton High School football program
The Camdenton High School football program has been one of the most successful in the state since first fielding a team in 1959. The Lakers are 468-139-7 since then, having enjoyed 54 winning seasons as well as five state championships (1986, 1987, 1995, 1999, 2005). Camdenton also has two state second-place finishes, in 1977 and 1996, and reached the state semifinals three other times (1978, 1980, 1988) and the state quarterfinals 10 other times (1982, 1983, 1984, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013). Additionally, the Lakers have won 26 district championships, with the first in 1977. The first head coaches were Jim Johnson, Everett Mason, Randal Lambert, Ray Scott and Bob Powell before Camdenton hired Bob Shore in 1975. Shore was 328-75-2 at Camdenton before retiring after the 2010 season, earning Missouri Sports Hall of Fame induction in 2004 and Coach of the Century by the News-Leader in 2000. His son, Jeff Shore, has coached the team since. The program has produced 114 All-State players, including 111 since the 1975 season. Jason Whittle went on to play nine seasons in the National Football League after playing at Missouri State University. Five Lakers were part of NCAA Division I programs – Paul Long in the early 1970s with Missouri, Mickey Turner four seasons at the University of Wisconsin, Forrest Shock four seasons at Missouri, and Jeff Shore and Tate Turner with the University of Arkansas.
Chuck Banta (Parkview/Mizzou): Banta was a standout for Parkview High School in the early 1970s. He scored six touchdowns in the 1970 season and eight TDs in 1971 when the team won eight games before being named to the Mystical Seven his senior year. Banta, named All-Ozarks by the News-Leader in 1971, went on to play for the Missouri Tigers. Primarily playing as a defensive back, he led Mizzou with four interceptions in 1976, the year the Tigers beat Southern Cal, Ohio State and Nebraska. As a senior, Banta was a preseason All-Big Eight Conference selection by the Associated Press and honorable mention All-Big Eight postseason. He went on to become President and CEO of Springfield-based Banta Foods for 31 years before retiring in 2008.
Ben Nichols (Glendale/Colorado/Atlanta Falcons/Denver Broncos/Rhein Fire): Nichols was a Blue Chips All-American and a two-time All-State offensive lineman for the Glendale Falcons, earning the Springfield Quarterback Club’s Lineman of the Year award in 1992. He also was All-Ozarks, all-district and all-conference. As a senior, he did not allow a quarterback sack, nor was ever flagged for a penalty, as Glendale finished 8-2 and won the Ozark Conference. Nichols then played for the Colorado Buffaloes. He was a two-time letterman at CU, where he in 12 games his final two years, including nine in 1998 (425 plays) when the team beat Oregon in the Alamo Bowl. Colorado was ranked in the top 10 three times and the top five twice, third in 1994 after its only loss to Nebraska. He set the school bench press record at Colorado with a lift of 530 pounds, which has never been broken to this day. Nichols signed with the Atlanta Falcons and the Denver Broncos, and played in NFL Europe in 2000 and 2002, winning a World Bowl ring with the Rhein Fire. He is now a certified personal trainer in Springfield.
Lee Coleman (Hillcrest/Missouri State/Evangel): One of the best players the Hillcrest program has produced, Coleman proved to be a multi-talented asset as an All-American honorable mention and two-time All-State selection at running back, defensive back and punt returner. In 1997 alone, he earned the All-American honor and First Team All-State as a defensive back. Overall, Coleman also was a three-time All-Ozark Conference, two-time All-Ozarks by the News-Leader and three-time all-district selection. His 417 all-purpose yards against Columbia Rock Bridge in 1998 is still among the all-time state best, and he is the career leader in punt return touchdowns, with six. That season, Coleman was named the All-City MVP by the Springfield Quarterback Club, leading Hillcrest to a 9-1 record and scoring 23 touchdowns. His 46 career touchdowns were a city record but now rank fourth all-time and are second-most at Hillcrest, trailing only Dorial Green-Beckham. Coleman then played at Missouri State from 1999-2002, earning the Bears’ Scout Team Player of the Year award during his redshirt year and their 2002 Special Teams Player of the Year award. He finished his career at Evangel University.
Isaac Sooter (Sarcoxie/Evangel): A First Team All-State quarterback from Sarcoxie, Sooter is still ranked among the state’s best in single-game passing yards (420) and touchdowns in a game (6). He is twice listed in the records for most single-season passing yards (1999 and 2000) as well as average passing yards per game (272). Additionally, Sooter’s senior season of 2000 led to great honors on first-team lists of the All-Mid-Lakes Conference, district and Joplin Globe All-Area. Sarcoxie was 7-2 his senior year and ranked in the top 10 all year. Overall, Sooter threw for more than 6,000 yards and 65 touchdowns, including 2,475 yards and 29 TDs his senior year. He played four seasons and was a two-time letterman at Evangel University before a earning doctorate from Lindenwood University. Sooter is now the principal at Reeds Spring High School.
Darrin Newbold (Aurora/Missouri State/New York Jets/Oklahoma Outlaws): Newbold was a standout two-way player at Aurora High School before graduating in 1978. He was a four-year letterman as a linebacker and running back, earning all-conference and all-district honors. The team was 7-3 his senior year. Newbold was a three-year letterman for Missouri State (1980-1982) and was All-Mid-Continent Conference first team in 1982. His 12 passes broken up, a defensive stat, rank sixth in program history and his 25 passes broken up rank seventh. Additionally, Newbold’s 15 sacks in 1982 are tied for second-most in program history, and his 26 sacks are sixth-most career-wise. Newbold was a seventh-round draft pick (190th overall selection) of the New York Jets in 1983 and later signed with the Oklahoma Outlaws of the United States Football League. He is now a banker in Monett.
Anthony Frazier (Greenwood/Mizzou): Frazier was a two-time selection both to the All-State and All-Ozarks News-Leader football teams his junior and senior years, including First Team All-State at quarterback and defensive back in 1981 and First Team All-State wide receiver in 1980. Frazier quarterbacked the Greenwood Bluejays to the Class 1 state championship in 1981, as the team beat Gallatin 14-0 in Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Coach Paul Mullins moved him from wide receiver to quarterback that season because the team needed a new QB, and the team took off. That year, he also was named the Springfield Quarterback Club’s MVP. As a junior, he helped Greenwood to a Class 1 state runner-up finish. Frazier then played at Mizzou from 1982 to 1985, earning three letters, and he started games at both receiver and free safety and played on special teams. Frazier, also a First Team All-State selection in basketball and two-time All-Ozarks selection in addition to being named the Springfield Tipoff Club’s MVP his senior year, helped the Bluejays to state runners-up finishes his sophomore and senior years and was a two-time state champion in the 100 meters and low hurdles. Now living in Ashland, he is an economist and attorney for the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
Robert Clardy (Marshfield/Southwest Baptist): Clardy enjoyed a tremendous career at Marshfield High School while playing for coach Jack Randolph. Clardy finished with 3,378 yards rushing, breaking Jim Hartman’s career rushing record (2,999 yards) set from 1965 to 1967. Clardy also finished with 344 points scored, breaking Mitch Espy’s career scoring record (246) set from 1996 to 1999. The Blue Jays won two district and two Central Ozark Conference championships with Clardy at quarterback, with Marshfield finishing the 2002 season at 6-4 overall and 4-0 in the Class 3 Central Ozark Conference race. In his senior year, his 130 points scored broke Espy’s school record (128) and earned Clardy an All-State selection. He averaged 129 yards per game and 7.4 yards per carry. He also scored 18 rushing touchdowns, returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and scored on a 65-yard interception return. He also passed for three TDs and a pair of conversions, hitting on 24 of 72 passes for 433 yards. Clardy went on to quarterback Southwest Baptist before graduating in 2008. He led the Bearcats in total passing and offensive yards for three consecutive seasons and led the team in rushing and scoring for two. Clardy ranks in the top three for total offensive yards and pass completion percentage and holds the school’s career record for pass completion percentage. Clardy finished his career ranked seventh all-time in the MIAA in total offense, and now is SBU’s coach.
Wes Kemp (St. Louis De Smet/Mizzou): As a senior at De Smet Jesuit, Wes Kemp ranked as the No. 3 overall player in any position in the state of Missouri, as well as the nation’s No. 33 wide receiver by Scout magazine. He was a three-time First Team All-State selection, helped De Smet to the Class 6 state championship in 2005, and hauled in 127 career catches – 25 for touchdowns – and 2,632 yards receiving. In the 2005 state championship game, Kemp broke a pair of state championship records for receptions (11) and receiving yards (216). His overall career receiving numbers included 1,082 yards as a sophomore (a 27.1 yards-per-catch average), and a state quarterfinal appearance in 2007. At Mizzou, Kemp was a four-year letterman and three-year starter, with 33 games started overall. He also was part of four bowl games, including the 2011 Independence Bowl victory against North Carolina. Overall, he hauled in 92 passes for 1,207 yards and 11 TDs in his Mizzou career. Kemp graduated from Mizzou’s Trulaske College of the Business in 3 ½ years with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Management and Entrepreneurship. He played for the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets.
Lance Crayton (Springfield Catholic/Missouri State): Crayton was a two-time All-State quarterback who led the Springfield Catholic Fightin’ Irish to a 29-5 record in his final three seasons, with two teams seeing their seasons end in the playoffs to the eventual state champions. Crayton enjoyed a big senior season in 1988, when he was selected First Team Class 1 All-State, all-conference and all-district. That season, the Irish finished 11-1 for coach Fred Redd, with Crayton also earning First Team All-Ozarks by the News-Leader, the Sports Journal/Pepsi Cola Prep Football Player of the Year and the All-City MVP as voted on by the Springfield Quarterback Club. In one memorable game against Pea Ridge, Arkansas, he combined for six touchdowns (3 passes, 3 rushing) and, defensively, had four interceptions. As a junior, he was All-State, all-conference and all-district in a 10-1 season. Crayton accounted for all six TDs in a playoff loss to eventual state champion Seneca that year. He had built toward his outstanding career at Springfield Catholic with a fine sophomore season, leading coach Steve Spencer’s team to an 8-3 record and earning all-conference and all-district. He went on to play one season at Missouri State.
Steve Mayfield (Aurora): A 1983 graduate of Aurora High School, Mayfield was the varsity quarterback in 26 games, earning All-State, all-conference and all-district during his junior and senior seasons. He led coach Harv Welch’s squad to the Class 3 state semifinals and a 10-2 record during his junior season, when Mayfield threw 22 touchdown passes. He was 122 of 223 passing with 1,659 yards that season. As a senior, he led Aurora back to the state playoffs (8-3 record) by rushing for six touchdowns throwing 17 TDs, connecting on 106 of 233 attempts for 1,447 yards. Mayfield, who also was all-district as a place-kicker as a senior, went on to play golf at then-Southwest Missouri State. His two sons, Logan and Garrett, played college football, and Mayfield currently holds the title of Vice President, Mortgage Loan Officer for Springfield First Community Bank.
Landon Zerkel (Webb City/Missouri Southern): Zerkel is a 2008 Webb City High School graduate, who as a junior, helped the Cardinals win the 2006 state championship. He played wide receiver and free safety, earning All-State, all-conference and all-district honors in his junior and senior seasons. In basketball, he earned four letters and started three seasons. He also was an NCAA Division II All-American football player at Missouri Southern, where Zerkel earned All-Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association honors. Zerkel finished his career at Missouri Southern with 2,866 yards receiving on 196 receptions, an average of 14.6 yards per catch. Those statistics covered 39 games and included 19 touchdowns, including a career-long 92-yard reception.
Brandon Peck (Clinton/Central Missouri): Peck is a 1991 Clinton High School graduate who, as senior running back, was named All-State after rushing for 2,227 yards on a team that reached the Class 3 state semifinals. Peck also was a big part of Clinton’s undefeated regular-season team (10-0) as a junior. He was all-district and all-conference in his final two years of high school, winning a state wrestling championship. He went on to the University of Central Missouri, where he was a two-year letterman as a redshirt freshman and redshirt sophomore. In those years, he handled punt returns and was a cornerback as well as the special teams captain his second year. In the season-opener of his redshirt sophomore year, he had two interceptions to earn Player of the Week honors in the MidAmerica Intercollegiate Athletics Association. He had three interceptions in the first three games that season before a knee injury ended his college career.