Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of feature stories highlighting the area high school football standouts who were selected to play in the June 11 Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association Mo-Kan All-Star Game that was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After another disappointing high school football season, Lee’s Summit North starting defensive lineman Mark McGhee, and other sophomore members of the Broncos, made a trip to coach Jamar Mozee’s home.
“It was like no one cared, we had no chemistry and we went to visit with Coach Mozee to let him know that we were going to work hard – harder than we’d ever worked in our lives – to change the football culture and to make the Lee’s Summit North football program special,” said McGhee, now a senior who will graduate soon.
“I think Coach Mozee really appreciated us coming to talk with him. He has the most passion of any coach I’ve ever played for, and together, we all got it done my junior year and senior years.”
The Broncos enjoyed back to back winning campaigns and defeated Mozee’s alma mater, Blue Springs High School in each of those seasons. Last year’s 31-21 win over the Wildcats was so important to Mozee and McGhee because it meant the first win in 2018 wasn’t a fluke.
“This is the team I’ve been waiting to see all season,” Mozee said after the Broncos’ win in 2019. “They responded, they dominated on the offensive and defensive lines, our quarterback and running back did a great job – it was just a great team win. I’m proud of the guys.”
And McGhee, who spent nearly as much time in the Wildcats’ backfield as quarterback Dom Harkness, agreed.
“It was a great win – a huge win at home!” said McGhee, who has signed with Division II Missouri Western State University. “Coach told us that we all have to keep it together, that we have to have each other’s backs because our football team became really popular because we started winning. No one at the school really cared about the program when we were losing, and we all stuck together and created a special bond, a special chemistry that really made the team and our program successful.
“And it all started with Coach Mozee. He is an inspirational coach and someone I have so much respect for. He’s going to create a program that is going to be successful for a long, long time.”
And years from now, when McGhee is hopefully anchoring the Missouri Western defensive line, he can look back with pride and say he was a big part of the foundation of a burgeoning program.
“We started it my junior year,” McGhee said, “and we didn’t have quite as much success my senior year, but we still won and that’s what’s important – to never be satisfied. To keep working hard and good things are going to come your way.”
A good thing was going to come his way June 11, the original date of the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association Missouri vs. Kansas All-Star Game, that was going to feature the 6-foot-2, 290-pound defensive lineman, but the day he found out he had been selected to the team, he learned it had been canceled because of the COVID-19 quarantine.
“It was such an honor to be selected to play in the all-star game. I’ll never forget that,” McGhee said. “And I’m disappointed we don’t get to play, but you know what? I’m healthy, my family is healthy and I get to play football in college. I really can’t complain about anything.”
And after being a four-year starter for the much-improved Broncos, what does McGhee anticipate will happen at the next level?
“A big challenge, the biggest of my life,” McGhee said. “They have 22 defensive linemen at Missouri Western and I’m going to be one of them. I can’t wait, because I love a challenge, I want to show the coaches at Missouri Western what I can do.
“They are my new family, just like my Broncos family. And I’m going to work hard and make my new family proud.”