NEOSHO, Mo. — At the end of last season, the Neosho Wildcats were in a position no team wants to be in: missing the playoffs with zero wins in the regular season. Since then, however, there’s been a coaching change within the program, and with that, a culture change.

They’re getting an overhaul this season under new head coach Brandon Taute. Taute, who was previously an assistant coach at Joplin, is leading the charge for a total culture change.

Taute says, “We’re not gonna waste any moments, and whatever happens we’re gonna tell the kids to keep playing the next play. Whether the last play was really good or really bad, doesn’t matter, just line up and play the next play. So that’s the mentality we’re trying to instill in them.”

With that mentality comes a new playbook. Taute is implementing what he calls a totally different style of play, which is a welcome challenge for the players.

Evan Haskins, senior quarterback says, “It’s been challenging but we’re ready to change. We’ve got great coaches to help get us where we need to be, and the coaches have done a great job of helping making that transition smooth for us.”

Taute says, “Our kids are having to learn to play in space and play fast. But it’s not something you’re born with, it’s something that has to be taught, and they’re doing a great job of taking the coaching and adapting to the new style of play.”

With the work they’ve been putting in, both players and coaches alike are hoping to put out a product their community can be proud of after years of unwavering support.

Taute says, “Everywhere you go in town, there’s a Wildcat Nation sticker plastered on every business, and that’s not happening in every town. This is a community that loves its kids, and when you have stuff like that in place, there’s an opportunity to be successful.”

Haskins says, “We have a great opportunity to leave a lasting impression on the school, and we wanna do our best to change the culture and let the next generation to do the same.”

The Wildcats will open their season on Friday, August 27 at Republic. For their full season schedule, click here.