LAMAR, Mo. — First-year head coach Jared Beshore has the Lamar Tigers back in the state football conversation. The Tigers host the Jefferson (Festus) Blue Jays on Saturday in the Class 2 state semifinals. A win would put Lamar one step closer to a place it has come to know quite well, and it would edge another member of the Beshore family to take up the winning tradition.
Driving up I-49 to Lamar, off Exit 77, you might notice a sign. It’s a sign that Lamar didn’t have to look too far down the road for its next head coach. Lamar isn’t just the birthplace of the 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, but it’s the home to seven-time football state champs.
Seven consecutive titles for a program that legendary head coach Scott Bailey built. But when Bailey stepped down at the end of last season, the Tigers turned to the one person that knows a thing or two about winning championships — former Lamar Tiger and Missouri State Bear Jared Beshore.
“I had mixed emotions,” assistant Lamar football coach Jeff Beshore said. “My wife and I had talked about that .. Following Scott (Bailey) — nobody’s ever done what he did here at Lamar or anywhere in the state.”
“You got to understand that the expectations here are high, but I also told him, I said, ‘I don’t think there’s a better place that you could start your career as a head coach.'”
The first of seven straight state titles came when Jared was a sophomore. Then came a second, and soon thereafter a third, until Lamar put itself on the map.
“You grow up in this town that never had championships, that never had a program like we have now, and you just grow up thinking, ‘Maybe we can get one. Maybe we can be a class that gets one, or a team that just pushes that program to the next level,'” Lamar head football coach Jared Beshore said.
Jared pressed on at the level the program has reached before. The Tigers claimed their 11th straight district title this season after a 53-6 win over the Sarcoxie Bears. Lamar is also currently riding an eight-game win streak with its only lose coming from McDonald County back in September.
The level of expectations remain the same. What was expected of Jared as a player now holds true for a first-year head coach that has the Tigers on the verge of another state title.
“It’s been more of a detailed focus transition for me than anything,” Jared said. “I’m not building anything new here. I’m just trying to improve it by these little increments that I can. And I think we’ve done a nice job of doing that.”
Now, there’s a new Beshore that looks to prolong that winning tradition — Jared’s younger brother, Joel, who is a quarterback and defensive back on the team. Nearly nine years later and Joel gets a chance to make his mark after Jared earned his first title when he was a second-year player.
“Yeah, it would be pretty great,” Joel said. “It would be amazing to get the first one as a sophomore and to be able to do what my brother did as a sophomore too.”
Jared remembers the feeling of that first state title in 2011 and says he offers words of encouragement to his younger sibling. He wants the same success for his brother as he does for the rest of the team.
“That first one, man,” Jared said. “We felt like we took over the world when that happened, we felt like we could take on anybody. So I hope that’s what these guys are feeling, and I think that’s what they feel, and hopefully they get the opportunity to accomplish that.”
It’s not every day that you get a chance to coach family, or coach with family as Jared and Joel’s father Jeff is an assistant coach on the team. Jeff has been a part of Lamar’s state runs before under Bailey and when Jared played at Lamar. He knows the Beshore brothers, he knows the Lamar Tigers, and he knows they won’t settle for anything else but to lift up another state trophy.
“That’s what everybody is after,” Jeff said. “When that run came around, with that group when Jared was around, not only in football but track. And it’s just kind of rolling back around and happening all over again.”