Vince McCrosky and Eric Sloan are committed to turning around the Houston football program. And they need some assistance.
The two coaches, who were assistants last season under former coach Billy O’Neil, are seeking financial backing to place a middle school team in the annual Ozarks Football League.
McCrosky, who coached the West Plains team that won the league last season, said he and Sloan are focused on building relationships with the Mighty Mite program and spending time with the middle school players.
“I don’t think there is a whole lot to fix. I just think there is a whole lot to do, and we’re going to do it,” McCrosky said. “We will do whatever it takes.”
The OFL, which currently has 13 seventh-eighth grade teams participating, is a five-week season and playoffs in Springfield. Teams include Republic, Nixa, Ozark, West Plains and others.
The startup cost to play is a one-time fee of $3,000. It covers helmets, pads, footballs and gear because schools are not allowed to use their own equipment under rules by the Missouri State High School Activities Association. Players then pay $175 apiece to play.
McCrosky hopes to have 50 businesses, groups or individuals donate $100 to support the team. At that number, the players would only owe $50.
“We’re looking to make our kids better,” McCrosky said. “It is incredibly important that we start to work hard on the middle school level. I just know you’ll see a different eighth-grade team.”
Practices are twice a week beginning in February. Games start in March.
McCrosky said the team will receive instruction from multiple coaches and run the Auburn offense the Houston High School varsity implemented this season.
“I want this to be a community project,” he said. “I know this is a football town that supports our program.”
Donations may be left with Sloan at the elementary school or McCrosky at the high school. Checks should be made payable to the Ozark Football League.