“We’re going to St. Louis as a band of brothers, not a team, but a band of brothers – brothers with one goal, and that’s winning state,” said inspirational leader Randy Haller, who has etched his name alongside some of the great middle linebackers in South history.

Over the years, Blue Springs South High School has produced enough defensive standouts to fill a stadium.
From Jon Oyler and Tony Matzke to Willie Horn and Steven Brooks, linebackers have been the backbone of a Greg Oder-inspired defense that usually ranks second to none.
This year, it took a while for the Jaguars defense to come together, but when it did its members found themselves ranked among some of the greatest units in team history.
“I’d agree with that,” said Oder, whose Jaguars travel to St. Louis Saturday to take on Hazelwood Central in a 6:30 p.m. Class 6 state championship game.
“No team we’ve coached has made more strides, improved more, than this group,” Oder added. “None of them were starters last year, and most of them are playing a new position.
“Heck, a few got some minutes as backups, but most of them were on the scout team. They were the guys the varsity practiced against to get a feel for what our next opponent was going to do.”
Now, they stand center stage, hoping to help the 11-2 Jaguars claim the second state championship in school history.
“We’re going to St. Louis as a band of brothers, not a team, but a band of brothers – brothers with one goal, and that’s winning state,” said inspirational leader Randy Haller, who has etched his name alongside some of the great middle linebackers in South history.
“Mr. Haller,” said defensive end Derrion Thomas, “the bearded man child. He’s something special. He comes to play every day. He’s fired up in practice, he’s fired up on the sidelines and he’s really fired up on the field.
“Nobody on the team works harder than Randy.”
Defensive back Dominique Wright agrees.
“Our defensive has been playing great, and it seems like Randy is in on every big play,” Wright said. “He gets us going. He’s not afraid to let anyone know how he feels. He sets the tone for this team.”
Not bad for a first-year senior starter who says he learned from the best.
“I got to watch Steven Brooks last year and he was a great, great player,” Haller said. “And Coach Oder and (linebacking) Coach (Ryan) Gettings work even harder than the players.
“They break down a team to the point that we know what they’re going to do before they do it. We owe so much of our success to them. I don’t know where we’d be without the dedication of our coaches.”
Gettings and Oder feel the same way about Haller.
“Randy is a football guy,” Gettings said. “He loves to watch film and break down an opponent. He loves to talk about the game and he loves to be around the guys. He just fits in with all the great linebackers we’ve had here at South.”
Adds Oder: “Randy is pretty special. He’s just a special breed of player. He has so many responsibilities out there on the field, and he handles them all like he’s been starting for four years.
“He has his teammates’ respect, he has the coaches’ respect and he has a nose for the ball. Add those up, and you’ve got a pretty good darned player.”