Jolley brought in to revive Tigers' fortunes

Friday, July 20, 2007
RALPH POKORNY/DAILY MAIL New Nevada High School head football coach Shannon Jolley unloads a punt while instructing players during the seventh- and eighth-grade session of the 2007 Tiger Football Summer Camp on Thursday at Tiger Stadium.

By Mack McClure

Nevada Daily Mail

Shannon Jolley could be described as a builder.

Jolley, who is entering his first season as head football coach of the Nevada High School Tigers, rebuilt School of the Osage into a Class 3 district championship team in just five seasons. In his fourth and fifth campaigns, Jolley's teams advanced to the state playoffs, losing to perennial powerhouse Harrisonville in the first round both times.

That's a far cry from his 0-19 start in his first two seasons at School of the Osage.

An assisant at Jefferson City High School last season, Jolley was hired this past spring to revamp Nevada's program after former Nevada head coach John Skeans resigned following three difficult seasons, including a dismal 2-8 campaign in 2006.

Jolley's presence has already made an impact -- from Nevada's youth football to the Tigers' high school varsity players.

"We take a lot of pride in these younger kids' camps," Jolley said Thursday during one of many sessions from the 2007 Tiger Football Summer Camp at Tiger Stadium. "We're getting tired at the end of the week. We have had our third- and fourth-graders go from 8:30 a.m. until 9:45 every day, and our fifth- and sixth-graders go from 10 until 11:30.

"(The seventh- and eighth-graders) go from 4:30 p.m until 6:15, and then we have a freshman mini-camp from 6:30 (p.m.) until 8, so we've dedicated our week to get close to that. Our varsity camp is next week and if we don't have 75 kids out for that, I'm going to be disappointed."

Jolley said the interest for Tigers varsity football has sky-rocketed this summer.

"We took 55 to Harrisonville for a varsity team camp, and that was our sophomores through seniors," he said. "Our kids played really well, but we don't want to say much until we get going."

Jolley says the incoming varsity players have made some huge strides in his summer program.

"These kids have moved mountains," Jolley said. "We've got weight-lifting each morning and each night, and we've averaged 60 to 65 kids per day in the weight room.

"We've put a lot of work into it. It's the most important thing for us to get the youth involved. You don't win district championships in a few months. It takes years and, to be honest with you, the group that we inherited, has good football sense."

Jolley was part of a winner last season during his one-year stint in the state's capitol. Jefferson City High advanced to the state semifinals in Class 6, losing to eventual state champion Blue Springs South. He said he wants to develop that same winning mind-set in Nevada, and the players are following his lead.

"I have told a 100 different people that at this point, right now, I could not ask for any more from a group of kids," Jolley said. "They believe in what we're doing, and it's a pretty simple model to believe in when it's just based on hard work and discipline."

Jolley said Nevada is standing on firmer football ground than what most people think.

"I'll tell you this, the program that I inherited at the School of the Osage was light years behind (Nevada)," he said. "If people think this place is kind of bad, we had an 0-10 season my first year and then an 0-9 season, and that's what I'm here for."

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