Younger Lathrop Carries Same Expectations under Thompson

Published 08/11 2014 10:48PM

Updated 08/12 2014 10:38AM

(LATHROP, Mo.) Lathrop has enjoyed a resurgence in their three years under Mike Thompson. The Mules made a 2012 Class 2 state playoff appearance and parlayed that into a win over defending state champion Hamilton in the 2013 regular season.

But their run stopped short in a home loss to Bishop LeBlond in the district semifinals, a game that Thompson called one of the worst they've played since his arrival. 

"It didn't sit well with any of us, but this is a different team," Thompson said. "I think we're feeling our way. I'm not sure how confident we are. We're not as confident as we were a year ago which is probably a good thing. We were a little too confident last year."

The confidence in 2014 starts under center with Thompson's son, Deryk, who is in his second year at quarterback. The run game has typically been the Mules' calling card, but after graduating ball carriers Robert Askren, Josh Hartzell, and Caleb Myers, Thompson suddenly finds himself as the most experienced member of the backfield.

He's ready to take on the challenge.

"It's a lot easier coming back in the second year, knowing what you're doing, and knowing the guys you've got behind you," he said. "It's different, but the guys are going to do just find. They're going to hit their assignments, do what they're supposed to do, and it's going to help us out a lot." 

"It's the second year, you've got more confidence coming in, and really you just have to do what your team needs you to do." 

Lathrop could also max out at four returners on the offensive line, a high for Thompson's tenure, and something that could prove big for any growing pains of a team that could be forced to air it out more. 

"(Deryk) may be a little more confident in taking more risks this year, which could lead to some issues, but I think it's a positive for us," Thompson said. "We're going to have to take some risks here and there."

"We're going to be inexperienced, but they've played a lot of football. They've been playing freshman and JV games the last couple years. They haven't been just sitting around waiting their turn. I feel confident in their ability and how they'll take over." 

Lathrop opens the season on August 22 against Van Horn. 

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