HEAD COACH: Slade Calhoun (4th season)

LAST YEAR: 11-1, lost to Springfield in second round of 5A playoffs

RETURNING STARTERS: 7 offense, 3 defense


KEY RETURNING PLAYERS: QB Jordan Bell, LB Jaelon Dowell, DB Tyler Williams, LB Joshua Reeves, DB Jay Dancey, WR Isaiah Cobbs, DL Ethan Messer, LB Clayton Bridges

KEY PLAYERS LOST: RB Braxton Sharp, OL Zach Smith, DB Mason Madill, DL Hunter Perry, DB Martavious Bell, OL Ethan Gullett, OL Joseph Noon, OL Jeremiah Sullins, DL Hunter Perry, RB Jace Hodgin

Bleacher Report recently ranked the best quarterback-running back-wide receiver combos in the history of the National Football League.

The Dallas Cowboys’ combo of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin ranked number one. Others mentioned: the Steelers’ Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris and Lynn Swann; the Rams’ Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce; the Colts’ Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison; and the 49ers’ Joe Montana, Roger Craig and Jerry Rice.

Why are we talking about NFL combos in a high school football preview magazine? Because Munford could have the best quarterback-running back-wideout combo in the history of Tipton County football.

A little hyperbole? Maybe, but there’s no doubt the senior combination of quarterback Jordan Bell, running back Ty Stark and wide receiver Isaiah Cobbs is the best this county has seen in a while.

Bell, who has been the starter since he was a sophomore and probably could have started as a freshman, is the classic dual threat quarterback. At 6-2, 190 pounds, he can run past defenses or throw around them. He has at least a dozen Division I offers from school like Memphis, Army, Eastern Kentucky and Yale.

Cobbs joined the Cougars last season as a transfer and made an immediate impact. You want see anyone faster on a football field this season. He has already committed to Washington State University, making him the first Cougar football player to commit to a Power 5 school in 30 years.

“Just a dynamic talent,” Munford head coach Slade Calhoun said. “If he’s not the most explosive guy I’ve ever coached, he’s in the top two. Just an absolute game breaker, fantastic hands. I couldn’t tackle him in a phone booth. That’s why he’s going to play major college football in a Power 5 Conference … It’s pretty awesome when the OC offensive coordinator) flies 2,300 miles to work him out before school. That tells you what kind of talent he has.”

And then there’s Stark, who was Brighton’s best running back last season before he was injured. If you’re looking for evidence of what he can do, look no further than the 2022 season opener when Stark rushed for 276 yards and four touchdowns on 33 carries to lead the Cards to a road win vs. St. Benedict.

“Since day one they started treating me just like family,” Stark said about the process of transferring from Brighton to Munford. “We got some studs, we got some dogs who’s hungry, ready to go against anybody who’s in our way. We ain’t backing down from nobody … They’re hungry from losing in the second round and I bring some anger here myself and it gets added on.”

When Stark showed up on campus last November, Calhoun said he weighed 175 pounds. These days he’s up to 204.

“That guy, I mean he’s a relentless worker. You might make the argument he’s the hardest worker on the team,” Calhoun said. “Ty is self-motivated. He’s always going to do something extra. In practice, he’ll be doing body-weight squats and pushups. That guy’s a maniac. I don’t think it’s going to get too tough for him. If you made me describe Ty Stark in one word, I’d say toughness. He’s a tough guy. I’m glad he’s on our team.”

While Bell, Cobbs and Stark will garner a lot of attention this season, there are lots of other talented players on a team looking to win a region title for the fourth straight season.

Kollin Collier is a senior cornerback/wide receiver who transferred in from Briarcrest. He was aware of Bell and Cobbs via the 7-on-7 circuit and feels like he fits into Munford’s system well.

“It’s been an easy transition,” Collier said. “They welcomed me in with open arms … Bell and I have been developing chemistry for a while now. As a quarterback, I trust him a lot. Everything’s accurate.”

Jay Dancy is an experienced wideout and cornerback who make an impact. Kailer  Dortch is a promising sophomore who will back up Stark. Offensville in the mix to start include Jaylen Payne, Ethan Messer, Desmond Wiggins, Archie Williams, Deacon Hobbs and Ethan Maley.

On defense, Calhoun said it all starts with inside linebacker Jaelon Dowell, a three-year starter.

“He makes us go,” Calhoun said. “He could probably coach defense if he had to.”

Tyler Williams is a junior safety who seems poised to have a huge year. He started every game last season and a handful as a freshman. At 6-2, 190 pounds, he stands out in the defensive backfield.

“He’s probably got about eight offers already,” Calhoun said. “I’m looking for him to blow up this season. I’ve had college coaches come to me and say, ‘We’re going to go ahead and offer him, but we know he’s too good for us.’ He may be an SEC-type of talent.”

Clay Bridges is a three-year starter at linebacker.

“I can’t believe he doesn’t have a dozen offers,” Calhoun said. “I know he can play D1 linebacker. He’s one of the best players I’ve ever coached.”

Calhoun said Dancey already has a DI offer at cornerback and calls him a “super-smart guy” who has been recruited by Rhodes and Harvard.

Josh Reeves is another senior who play linebacker and some skill spots on offense.

On the defensive line, guys like Trey Scott, Conner Woodard and Kylan Sharp will be key players.

“Our defense, we’re loaded in the secondary,” Dancey said. “We got Kollin and returning players like Williams, Griffin and myself. I think we’ll be good.”

Added Dowell: “We have a lot new faces and a lot of changes, but I know my guys are going to fly to the ball every play. We don’t get a lot of recognition, but we work hard on the defensive side of the ball. We’re just going to play hard. Defense wins games and wins championships.”

“Honestly, its one of the best defense we’ve ever had at Munford,” Reeves said. “Be ready for it.”

Calhoun is not the kind of coach who tries to downplay his roster. He’s got some dudes, there’s really no reason to try and convince anyone otherwise and Calhoun does not. Still, he’s fully aware the most talented teams do not always. He likes to tell stories about how some of his less-talented teams from the past beat teams with better rosters.

“We have a lot of talent, but we can’t be complacent.  You have to come to work everyday and clock in for however many hours we’re here. You have to be locked in and focused on what you’re doing. How can you be the best version of yourself and the best teammate possible? Are you learning what you need to learn? … You can have all the talent in the world and it’s a difference maker, but usually who wins the games is who’s better up front, who blocks and who tackles.”










Jeff Ireland
Author: Jeff Ireland


  1. So glad I was able to see my great Nephew Jordan Bell play on Friday against Covington I came from East Chicago Indiana he is a great player with his other teammates

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