BURLINGTON JUNCTION, Mo. — As the West Nodaway Rockets look toward the future with a new coaching staff for the 2020 season, they will also take a moment to look back in time, as former running back Ryan Hackett enters the Missouri 8-Man Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
“At first I thought somebody was pranking me,” Hackett said. “I had no idea that there was an 8-Man Hall of Fame.”
Former West Nodaway coach Steve Hartman described Hackett as a “game-changer” and a man deserving of this award.
“Ryan is very deserving of this honor, and as good of an athlete as he was, he’s a better man,” Hartman said.
During his time at West Nodaway, Hackett rushed for more than 6,000 yards and scored more than 100 touchdowns. The now hall of famer was very modest when asked about his career.
“I was fortunate to have a great offensive line and teammates through my high school career,” Hackett said. “They did all of the dirty work and all I had to do was get the ball and run.”
Hackett rushed for 800 yards as a sophomore before making a big jump in his junior season. During his second season at the varsity level, Hackett rushed for 2,490 yards in 11 games and scored 49 touchdowns.
Hartman’s favorite memory of his running back was a game his junior season against South Nodaway in which he showed off his ability to return kicks.
“They kicked off to us and Ryan ran the kickoff back for a touchdown,” Hartman said. “Our defense then forced a three-and-out and Ryan ran that punt back for a touchdown as well, giving us a 14-0 lead before we even took an offensive snap.”
Hartman described Hackett as a workhorse during his junior season, carrying the ball more than 50 times in four different games that season.
“Everybody knew what we were going to do, and we did it anyway,” Hartman said. “(We) had a great line, a good blocking fullback and a generational talent at tailback. I’m no Vince Lombardi, but even I could figure that out.”
Joining Hackett will be former DeKalb coach Vernon Pike. The two inductees will be awarded their plaques later this summer, then honored at the 2021 8-Man All-Star game.
Roster announced for canceled all-star game
One of Missouri 8-man football’s biggest events was canceled earlier this month due to the coronavirus. The Missouri 8-Man Football Coaches Association chose to cancel the 12th annual all-star game, as their biggest concern was the safety of the players and coaches.
While the event will not take place in 2020, the coaches association still released the roster of players and coaches selected. Four schools led with five players each selected to the roster: Mound City, North Andrew, DeKalb and North Shelby.
“I was looking forward to seeing those boys play one more time,” Mound City coach Taylor Standerford said. “It is disappointing to not be able to see that, but at the same time it is not worth the risk of spreading it to their families.”
The Panthers’ Dylan George, Blake Hayes, T.J. Hopkins, Tyler Phillips and Christian Stone were all selected.
The Missouri 8-Man Coaches Association will award three scholarships to graduated seniors who would have participated in the game. Those scholarships will be awarded in late June.