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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Hawks set to begin first football season

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Kelly football coach Kenneth Riedinger talks with his players after the first official practice Monday morning on the grounds of Kelly High School. The Hawks will begin their inaugural football season Aug. 27 on their new football field at Kelly High School against Scott City's junior varsity at 6 p.m. David Jenkins, Staff
BENTON -- When he first heard that he was moving into the Kelly High School school district, junior Josh Roberts was not happy to learn that football was not provided.

Fortunately for Roberts, and 42 other Kelly students, the Hawks can now play football.

"I was really devastated when I found out that they didn't have football here when we first moved," Roberts said. "I really love it and I'm glad we have it now and I have two years to play it."

Monday morning started the first official practice for the newly acquired Kelly High School football program which begins it's inaugural season Aug. 27 against Scott City's junior varsity.

"Rome wasn't built in a day, but we put some blocks into place," head football coach Kenneth Riedinger said. "I've got to make sure to be patient and understand that there's a learning curve. I want to go faster than we can go right now."

The basic fundamentals are being pounded into the 43 kids that came out for the first Hawks football team in school history.

"Getting in a good stance, being physical in football pads and playing as fast as we can," Riedinger said about what is being taught to his first-time players. "Playing fast, physical and with the right attitude is what we're trying to get across to our kids right now. We've got a long way to go."

Kelly will begin their first two years as a junior varsity program. Following their first two years, they will expand their program into a varsity one as well.

"It's kind of sad that my last year here we get football, but I'm still going to play," Kelly senior Jacob Bond said. "I think it's good -- give it a couple of years and I think we'll start making a name for ourselves. Only time will tell."

Although football is a new venture and a totally new experience for most, if not all, of Kelly's roster, Riedinger is optimistic about the pool he has to pick from. He noticed the overall size of most his players adding they will have "a 6-4, 330-pounder and a few players in the 260's."

"I think we've grown football players around here for a long time, they just didn't have anything for them to play," said Riedinger. "We've got kids that may not be the best baseball or basketball players, but we've got some big kids.

"This is going to give them an opportunity to do something that they wouldn't otherwise."

With a new program, comes time to get things settled. Loses are expected and wins come as surprises. For Riedinger and Co., they expect to take their lumps, but also can't wait to dish them out.

"Right now, we're trying to stop them from hitting. That's what they want to do," Riedinger said. "Thursday we'll turn them loose, but they are excited about it.

"I think if you're shooting for anything less than perfection, then you're not working," added Riedinger. "We'll be satisfied to get out of the season healthy. We've got nine (games), we'd like to win nine and that may be lofty expectations for anybody, but I didn't come from Texas to play second fiddle to anybody.

"We want our kids to have that mentality, work that way and to win every game."

Roberts, who moved from Salem, Ark., where football is king, would love nothing more than to trump the notion a new football program can't make noise right out of the gate.

"I want to prove everybody wrong," Roberts said.

"People say we're going to get beat, which we may lose games," Bond added, "but, there's still that hope that we're going to win some too."