August 24, 2018—Coming off their 2017 season, the Tigers football team look to 2018 to continue the gains made the past few seasons.

The Excelsior Springs High School Football Team lost some good players to graduation. However, Head Coach Mark Faubion said the returning players have been working together to form a strong unit to take on the Missouri River Valley Conference.

“I think we have a solid group of guys coming back that are seniors that know our system, know what we expect and will play very well together,” he said.

SENIOR JACKSON CREASON practices kick returns with the Tigers Football Team. Creason earned All-Conference linebacker honors the last two seasons. KIMBERELY BLACKBURN | Staff photo

The team worked on improving agility throughout the summer in addition to lifting weights and doing conditioning training.

Faubion said they faced Raytown South and Winnetonka in scrimmages to help prepare for the 2018 season as well as donning pads for on-field practices throughout the summer.

Faubion said what they lack in numbers, they make up for in heart and attitude.

“There’s not a lot of us, but the kids that are here understand and want to be good football players,” he said. “They want to be successful.”

The Tigers’ 2017 season ended with a 7-3 record, with one loss at home and two during away games. The Tigers went 3-2 in conference play winning 33-21 over Odessa, 49-31 over Oak Grove and 28-14 over Pleasant Hill. Last year’s conference play ended in losses against Grain Valley and the 2017 season’s reigning state champions Harrisonville who came from behind from taking a 26-21 win against the Tigers.

As the 2018 season begins, the Tigers played in a Jamboree Friday against Pembroke Hill, Platte County and St. Pius X High Schools. Faubion said the game went very well and every player in their program earned some game time at some point during the evening.

The Tigers main first team played the majority of the game against Platte County. He said the players throughout the team “showed a lot of grit and determination.”

HEAD COACH MARK FAUBION focuses in the Tigers during practice. Faubion said what the team lacks in size, they make up for in heart. KIMBERELY BLACKBURN | Staff photo

Junior Tae Rainey played well at quarterback, he said, along with Seniors Jackson Creason and Corbyn Hutchings as running backs. Faubion said the O-line and wide receivers blocked extremely well. Not only did defense got off to a good start, he said they learned quite a bit during the games. Faubion said Junior Rocky Mullin also completed a nice interception against Platte County.

Because of continuous challenges for those coveted starting positions, Faubion said his list of starters remains “pretty fluid.” However, he said some of the starters from the 2017 season will return.

Returning starters include Rainey, Creason, Hutchings, Mullin, Senior Brody Willis and Senior Slade Covey.

Faubion said some returning starters’ positions will be different as last year. Although competition continues for starting positions, Faubion said these players will win a spot.

Faubion said the returning team members seems to be stepping up into leadership roles. The team as a whole looks out for each other, forming a, “pretty good, solid unit,” he said.

“Everyone is very cautious and aware of what we should be doing,” he said. “As a unit, everyone seems to be stepping in the right direction.”

He said he anticipates more players stepping into leadership roles as the season continues. “We’re looking forward to it,” Faubion said. “We’re geared up and getting ready.”

The Tigers’ regular season begins this Friday at Tiger Stadium as they host Southeast High School at 7 p.m.

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