Claremore Daily Progress


August 26, 2006

Inola's Five Seniors

The Talk of the Town


Progress Correspondent

INOLA — When talk about high school sports comes up in town, Inola High School football isn’t often the topic.

After all, Longhorn football teams have made fewer than five trips to the playoffs in the past 15 years.

But the five senior members of the 2006 Inola squad — Tyler Barnett, Jacob McDaniel, Brian Melone, Gene Tyler and Jason Yoder — would like to see that trend change beginning with this season.

“It would be great if we could bring football back to people’s attention,” said Melone, a returning starter on the offensive and defensive lines.

“Inola is known for having good basketball teams, but we want to be known for football, too.”

Barnett, a two-way starter at tight end and defensive end, agrees.

“Inola has never really been a football town. But we think we can really shock the town this year.”

McDaniel, a reserve quarterback and starting strong safety, takes his teammates’ comments even one step further.

“I think we’ll shock people and shock even ourselves this year,” he said.

Considering Inola’s lack of football success through the years and with the Longhorns coming off a 1-9 season in 2005, one might think the comments made by the seniors to be a little outlandish.

But not for this group, all of whom (except Melone) started playing football together in the fifth grade. Melone joined his classmates on the gridiron in the seventh grade.

The class has seen life on both sides of the fence while at Inola.

A 6-5 team that made it to the first round of the playoffs two years ago faded last season.

Since the end of the 2005 campaign, this senior class has been working on improving, playing as a team and honing leadership skills to revitalize Longhorn football.

“Leadership is a big factor,” McDaniel said. “No matter whether you lead by example or by what you may tell a teammate on the field.”

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