Kick. Catch. Run. Pass. Tackle. Repeat to score.
While this seems like a simple formula, it is so much more. Behind every game, every play, there is a map of perceived possibilities, each athlete trained to react to every possible outcome. A fine-tuned unit, every player works together as a team to gain every yard.
To perform well – to become this fine-tuned unit – they have poured hours of time, energy and sweat into practice. Every game is a reflection of their commitment, heart and grit.
This year, the Missouri Military Academy Colonels Football team ended the season with a 5-4 record, making them the first Colonels football team to achieve a winning season since 1985 (6-3 record). Click here to view individual game scores for fall 2020.
Coach Jimmy Peyton credits the season’s victory to the team’s active effort to change the culture of Colonels Football. He believes that by creating a winning mindset and mentality, cadets were able to overcome any adversity they faced – such as dealing with a new coach and learning new systems offensively and defensively – and overcome any negative stigma they may have felt about the football program.
“My overall goal was to show our players you can achieve anything through hard work and dedication. If you accept losing, that is exactly what will continue to happen to you,” Peyton said. “We want to turn our football program into a highly competitive winning culture.”
“Winning breeds winning and changing the culture to a winning culture gives our cadets and athletes something to take pride and ownership in through their hard work and dedication to the sport.”
Cadet Christopher Bryant ’21 was among the players who embraced this philosophy. According to Bryant, the hardest part of football was bringing morale up during a game in which they were down in points, but those feelings of discouragement are overshadowed by the euphoria of the game.
“The best was during a game at night while being under the bright lights. I could feel the intenseness and joy from all over the field," Bryant said. "I learned from football that nothing worth having in this world comes easy.”
Cadet Phasakorn Cunningham, also a Class of 2021 senior, agreed. He said the best part of football was putting all their hard work from practice to the test, stepping onto the field with his team with a mindset that they were ready for that game.
“You get what you put out on the field during practice,” Cunningham said. “When things go against you, you can't just stop and give up, you have to keep pushing through and get to your goal no matter what.”
The Colonels Football coaching strategy directly supports MMA’s strategic plan goal to maintain strong intramural programs that attract and retain cadets, build esprit de corps, and encourage participation in recreational activities.
“I am proud of the courage cadets had by being willing to make a change for the better and how they took pride in being members of the football team,” Peyton said. “Effort, attitude, hard work, structure and discipline are the fundamentals of our program, and we will never deviate from these. I would like to see all of this carry over into next season and never die.”
Cadets on Colonels football team during the fall 2020 season included:
- Jeremy Ansel (#18) – Quarterback and Defensive Back
- Christopher Bryant (#22) – Running Back and Linebacker
- Gabriel Canonico (#30) – Running Back and Defensive Back
- Maxon Castle (#7) – Quarterback and Defensive Back
- Alexander Coile (#35) – Wide Receiver and Defensive Back
- Noah Corzine (#17) – Wide Receiver and Defensive Back
- Phasakorn Cunningham (#55) – Offensive Lineman and Defensive Lineman
- Jose Hernan Elizondo (#68) – Offensive Lineman and Defensive Lineman
- Hunter Farrell (#42) – Running Back and Linebacker
- Oskar Fontana (#27) – Wide Receiver and Defensive Back
- Juan Pedro Garduno (#79) – Offensive Lineman and Defensive Lineman
- Michael Henderson (#28) – Running Back and Defensive Back
- Noah Johnson (#61) – Offensive Lineman and Defensive Lineman
- Edwin Kagame (#24) – Wide Receiver and Defensive Back
- Matthew Larson (#10) – Wide Receiver and Defensive Back
- Landon Meyer (#65) – Offensive Lineman and Defensive Lineman
- Ramel Morgan (#51) – Offensive Lineman and Defensive Lineman
- Dylan Mugisha (#75) – Offensive Lineman and Defensive Lineman
- Telmen Nasanbat (#65) – Offensive Lineman and Defensive Lineman
- Enrique Pardon (#16) – Wide Receiver and Linebacker*
- Ashley Park (#88) – Wide Receiver and Defensive Back
- Kai Passmore (#72) – Offensive Lineman and Defensive Lineman
- Landry Rudasingwa (#76) – Offensive Lineman and Defensive Lineman
- Tj Somsanith (#50) – Offensive Lineman and Defensive Lineman
- Jack Stalnaker (#45) – Running Back and Linebacker
*Record-breaker — Cadet Enrique Pardon broke MMA’s record for number of touchdowns in a single game (7) and yards (412 rushing and receiving) in a single game, achieved against Crystal City High School on Oct. 16, 2020.