Missouri SPORTS HALL OF FAME: Former Seneca player named ‘Elite 11’

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Brock Sisney

The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame has selected three former players and two state championship football teams for induction at the annual Football Luncheon presented by Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr. Pepper Bottling Company.The event will be 11 a.m., Monday, October 16 at the University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center in Springfield. Sponsorship tables, including an autographed print and special recognition in the event program, go for $400. Head table tickets are $100 and individual tickets $40.Former University of Missouri quarterback Brad Smith, Missouri State coach Jesse Branch, and Waynesville High School coach Rick Vernon, as well as the 1981 Greenwood Laboratory and 1997 Springfield Catholic state championship teams, have been selected for enshrinement.Additionally, the Elite 11 — recognizing former high school, college, and professional standouts who made positive impacts — have been selected: former Seneca standout Shannon Crouch, former Marshfield and Missouri State player Mitch Espy, former Hillcrest and Missouri State player Mikael Cooper-Falls, former Branson and Evangel player Jacob Hamon, former Raytown and Missouri State player Fred Harle, former Lebanon and Lindenwood player Ryan Howerton, former Parkview, Benedictine and Indoor Football League player Shem Johnson, former Warsaw and Missouri Western player Eric Ramsey, former Marionville and Southwest Baptist player Nick Smart, former Lebanon and Missouri Southern player Matt Wehner, and former Ava and Missouri State player Rodney Witt.Considered one of the best to ever lace up the cleats at Seneca, Crouch still ranks high on statistical lists in Missouri — fifth in career all-purpose yards (7,476), 10th in career rushing attempts (836), and ninth in career rushing touchdowns (77). In 1986 and 1987, Crouch earned consecutive USA Today All-American honors, as well as all-state honors, and during his senior year, Seneca won a Class 2 state title with a 20-13 win over Brentwood. Crouch works for the Missouri Highway Patrol.Wehner earned Class 5 all-state for Lebanon in 1991 and lettered four years …


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