DeKalb Looks to Restore Tradition With Wardlow

By Matt Tritten |

Published 08/12 2013 09:04PM

Updated 08/12 2013 11:30PM

(DEKALB, Mo.) In Vernon Pike's 20th season as head football coach at DeKalb, the Tigers dipped below .500 and lost their final five games of the season.

Now they're ready to rebuild.

But with a new coach.

Pike retired from coaching football in the off-season, and Kaleb Wardlow was hired to fill the void.

"Hopefully we can start building the tradition again," Wardlow said. "Build on what's already here."

Wardlow assisted Pike in 2012, and his first head coaching job has him replacing a state champion at DeKalb.

"With Coach Pike here, there were 20-plus years of tradition that he started, and I do not want to uproot that," Wardlow said. "I want to build on it and keep it going, so of course the foot holds are going to be the same. But at the same time, we have to put our own spin on things."

One of Wardlow's new installments comes from his background. He graduated from North Andrew -- another 8-man powerhouse -- in 2007. There he learned some of his earliest lessons about the game from Bob Heddinger, who made the Cardinals perfect everything they did.

"At North Andrew, we had a total of four or five plays that we ran. The opponents knew what we were running, and we still ran them anyway. So that's the goal, whether the opponent knows what we're doing or not, we want to be able to succeed in what we're doing. "

After finishing 2012 four games below .500, the Tigers are hungry for wins, and are buying into the new system.

"We're a bunch of young kids, and we don't like losing," junior running back Scott Grable said. "We want to go out and show people what we're capable of doing."

DeKalb opens the season August 30th at home against Chilhowee.

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