On June 3, 2019, Coach Kelley Beckner officially took the leash of the El Dorado Springs Bulldog football team bringing with him a winning record that includes a No. 2 finish in the state championship game in Class 3 in 2017.
Coach Beckner spoke with the Sun by phone on Friday, Aug. 2.
Q. Tell me about yourself.
I grew up in Nixa, right in the middle of its big boom of population. I played one year of college football after high school and then started coaching at Nixa. After spending two years at Nixa, I was asked to coach the offensive line at Springfield Catholic, ironically, at the same time Coach Barger was there coaching baseball I was coaching football.
My old High School coach became the head coach at Kickapoo High School (Springfield) and asked me to come work on his staff. I was there three years. I also spent a year at Monett and the last four years at Mt. Vernon.
Q. How did your teams do?
I’ve been very blessed with having great mentors. Just within the last seven years I have been on staffs to make the quarter-finals four years, semi-finals three years and the state title game one of those years. So, that’s a pretty good little streak.
Q. How did you do in the state title game?
It did not go as well as we hoped. We had a lot of momentum type things happen and we couldn’t get over that hump. We played Maryville which has a really good program and is usually in contention for a state title every year in class 3.
Q. Well, maybe you can do that here.
That’s the plan.
Q. What’s your style?
We’re looking to use a 3 – 4 type defense. We have great athletes but are missing a few bodies on the line, so in that type of defense we think we can be a lot more effective defensively by getting more athletes on the field going after the football.
On offense, we are going to be a spread/option team. I like to spread the opponents’ defenses horizontally and vertically with the threat of throwing deep. But we also like to pay tribute to the old school type of option football. We’ll probably be 50% run and 50% pass. We’ll take what the defense gives us.
I like to say, “You can’t go broke making a profit.”
Q. Do you have any idea who will be your quarterback this year?
Right now it’s a two-way battle between Senior Brayden Housh and Junior Clayton Collins. We just got back from Branson team camp yesterday. I thought there would be a little bit of a separation, but both of them performed well. Whoever gets the quarterback job, the other will be one of the 11 guys that we play. Both of those guys are very unselfish players.
Q. Who do we play in the first game of the season?
@ Pembroke Hill on Aug. 30.
We will also play in a preseason Jamboree Aug. 23 as we will travel to Glendale High School (Springfield) and play against great competition in Glendale, Marshfield, and Fair Grove. Each of those schools are great programs who will push us to be ready for week 1.
Q. Do you know yet who your coaches are going to be?
Yes. My associate head coach and defensive coordinator will be Dave Carpenter. Our special teams coordinator will be Eddie Long. Our JV head coach and JV defensive coordinator will be Robert Jansen. Our JV offensive coordinator will be Daniel Stantorf who is also the new wrestling coach.
We don’t open up at home until Sept. 20 against Cole Camp.
It’s exciting to be here, hopefully we can take the football program to the next level.
Q. Do you have a family?
Yes, my wife, Cozy, and I have three wonderful kids: our oldest, Kelley John (III) will turn nine in 10 days. He’ll be entering the third grade. Our second son, Beau, just turned four. Our youngest is Charlotte Grace, who we call Charlie, just turned two. We live by the 3-F’s: Faith, Family, Football, so if you come to a game you will most likely see them running around near an endzone.
The community and administration has just been phenomenal since I was hired and arrived in ElDo. You can really feel the energy around town and the desire to want a good football team. It is very exciting and something the staff and players have worked hard preparing for this summer.