Did you know K-State Coach Bill Snyder got his start as an assistant football coach at Gallatin High School?
William D. Snyder, now retired, is a highly regarded college football coach and former player. He served as the head football coach at Kansas State University from 1989 to 2005 and again from 2009 to 2018. Snyder initially retired from the position from 2006 to 2008 before being rehired. In 27 seasons at K-State, Snyder was 215-117-1, a . 646 winning percentage (without Snyder coaching the Wildcats, K-State is 276-499-34, a . 341 winning percentage). During his tenure, K-State produced 34 AP All-Americans, 47 NFL Draft picks, and 46 first-team academic All-Americans.
Fatality During Gallatin Football Game
The football annuls of GHS sadly includes the death of 17-year-old Howard Walter, son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Walton, who died from injuries sustained during a Friday afternoon game played at Maysville in October, 1923. Walton was taken to Noyes Hospital in St. Joseph immediately after the game suffering from complete paralysis which resulted from a fractured spine and internal injuries. No hope was held for his recovery. Death occurred at 2:15 p.m. the following Tuesday.
This account was published in the Gallatin North Missourian (Volume 60): “The game, which was one of the deciding championship contests of Northwest Missouri, was hard fought throughout. Both teams had undefeated records this season, and it was perfectly natural that all players would do their utmost to carry their colors through to victory. Howard was one of the stars of the Gallatin team and his playing was brilliant at all times. He played the left halfback position on the team. Howard was a member of the senior class of the Gallatin school and was a decidedly popular young man among all acquaintances, clean and courageous, and his untimely death is a sad and crushing blow to his parents and many friends in this community.”
Among victories that season was a Gallatin win over King City, 68-0. Gallatin’s backfield of Walton, Harris, McLaughlin and Carter “aided by splendid interference, skirted the ends for long gains time after time. Houghton called a heady game at quarter. He mixed his plays up and caught King City asleep several times… The Spizzerinctum girls gave the football boys a banquet after the game, and everyone enjoyed it very much.”
Football drives membership decisions for conference affiliation. The following photos are from the archives of the Daviess County Historical Society as well as reprints and data published by the Gallatin North Missourian:
NOTE: Ron Harlow of Kearney, MO, discovered this photo of the 1936 GHS football team while going through some of his late grandmother Murl (James) Harlow’s storage boxes. Ron’s father was Van Keith Harlow who was quite an athlete. Van made the distinction of All Star in 1936-1937 as a senior at Gallatin High School. He was the team’s halfback, punter, passer and kicker. After graduation, Van Harlow later went on to own and operate the Harlow Drug Store in Gallatin, MO. Ron’s great-grandfather, Luther “Red” Harlow, was from a long line of farmers, but briefly worked as a salesman. He also worked for Tate’s Gallatin Motor Company and for Fitters Clothing in Gallatin. He eventually had a grocery store which he sold to Jack Lynch.
GHS Football Records in the Grand River Conference (GRC)
It could have been the EverReady Conference, the Big High Conference, the Jefferson Hi-Way Athletic Conference, the Blue Grass Conference, or even the Pine to Palm Conference. Even Little Six Conference was among the 19 names considered when six schools planned to organize in January, 1930. The six charter member schools – Albany, Bethany, Grant City, Maysville, King City and Stanberry – voted “Grand River Six” as the official conference title on Jan. 25, 1930. Football was one of four conference sports along with basketball, golf and track. Student admission to games was 25 cents.
Before the conference announced its first All-Conference football team in 1937, the conference membership juggled. Princeton asked to join in December, 1930, but was turned down. The organization planned to stick to its original rule where any one school connects to other member schools by an all-weather road. In 1930, that evidently excluded Princeton.
Maysville dropped from the conference in 1933. Conception Academy was asked to replace Maysville at the same time baseball replaced track as a conference sport. The Academy promptly won the baseball championship and placed second to Albany in football during its first year of participating in 1934. When Maysville requested readmittance to the conference in February, 1935, the conference officially changed its name to the “Grand River Conference.” Ridgeway entered the GRC in 1936 since the Owls were soon to have a new gymnasium. The conference then agreed to limit membership to eight schools.
Gallatin joined the group in December, 1946. Ridgeway dropped football in 1948 and Hamilton was admitted to replace Ridgeway. Cameron was extended an invitation to join the GRC in February, 1955, but actually became a full participating members in all sports in 1957. Ravenwood was the next school to enter the conference ledgers with a request to join the GRC in basketball only. The request was neither denied nor accepted. Later, when Cameron dropped out of the GRC after the 1971-72 school year, Milan and Unionville (now Putnam County), made unsuccessful bids to enter the conference.
In October, 1975, members schools voted to void Cameron’s vacancy. Thus, the Grand River Conference would consist of nine schools: Albany, South Harrison of Bethany, Gallatin, Grant City (now Worth County), Hamilton, King City, Maysville, Princeton and Stanberry.
Before Gallatin enters the Grand River Conference:
- 1904: Coach Jack Grover, 5-0
- 1929: Coach Leonard Hosman
- 1935: Coach Fred Walker — Tri-C Conference Co-Champions
- 1939: Coach Van Hammer, 1-6
- 1940: Coach Van Hammer, 1-4-1
- 1941: Coach Wayne Parker, 3-5
- 1942: Coach Wayne Parker, 0-3-3
- 1943: (did not play)
- 1944: (did not play)
- 1945: Coach Ivan Nigh, 0-6
After Gallatin enters the Grand River Conference:
- 1946: Coach Ivan Nigh, 2-7
- 1947: 3-5
- 1948: 3-4
GRC Note: Hamilton replaces Ridgeway as a GRC member school.
- 1949: 3-4
- 1950: Coach Bob Gaudlin, 2-5-1
- 1951: Coach Bob Gaudlin, 5-3
- 1952: Coach Bob Gaudlin, 1-7
- 1953: Coach Roger Grunwald, 2-5
- 1954: Coach John Connor, 4-3
- 1955: Coach John Connor, 7-1 – Grand River Conference Champions
- 1956: Coach John Connor, 3-6-1
- 1957: Coach John Connor, 2-6
GRC Note: Cameron enters the GRC as a new member school.
- 1958: Coach John Connor, 3-6
- 1959: Coach Dewey Combs, 7-2
- 1960: Coach Richard Roda, 6-4
- 1961: Coach Richard Roda, 6-2-1
- 1962: Coach Richard Roda, 6-3
- 1963: Coach Richard Roda, 4-5
- 1964: Coach Richard Roda, 1-7
- 1965: Coach Jack Fowler, 3-6
- 1966: Coach Jack Fowler, 1-9
- 1967: Coach Bruce Fry, 2-7
- 1968: Coach Bud Yazel, 1-8
- 1969: Coach Larry Collins, 0-8
- 1970: Coach Larry Collins, 0-9
- 1971: Coach Hershel Owen, 3-6
GRC Note: Cameron drops out of the GRC after 1971-72.
- 1972: Coach Hershel Owen, 3-7
- 1973: Coach John Miller, 4-6
- 1974: Coach John Miller, 1-7
- 1975: Coach John Miller, 2-7
- 1976: Coach Stan Key, 3-5-1
- 1977: Coach Stan Key, 6-4
- 1978: Coach Charlie Wilson, 1-9
- 1979: Coach Roland Tackett, 6-4
- 1980: Coach Danny Brown, 6-3
- 1981: Coach Danny Brown, 9-1 – Grand River Conference Champions
- 1982: Coach Danny Brown, 11-1 — Grand River Conference Champions
- 1983: Coach Danny Brown, 11-1 — Grand River Conference Champions
- 1984: Coach Danny Brown, 9-1 — Grand River Conference Champions
- 1985: Coach Art Mueller, 3-7
- 1986: Coach Joe Battles, 7-3
- 1987: Coach Joe Battles, 3-6
- 1988: Coach Joe Battles, 7-2
- 1989: Coach Joe Battles, 8-1 — Grand River Conference Champions
This team, coached by Joe Battles and assisted by Doug Nichols, Chris Gerhardt and Kevin Nichols, finished 8-0 in the Grand River Conference before losing a nail-biting, 7-6, game to Albany in the Class 1 Sectional round. A highlight of the season was a 26-12 victory over Hamilton that snapped the Hornets’ 22-game GRC winning streak. Team members included Jason Helton, Aaron Tate, Scott Shipers, Cole Froman, Steve Jensen, Clint Vanatta, Eric Moulton, Jeff Taul, Charlie Hubbard, C. J. Deppen, Steve Richards, Jeff Hale, Jim O’Rourke, Jason Ismael, Brant Burns, Mark Morrison, Chris Dannar, Chuck Ness, Lance Critten, Kevin Noel, Aaron Vestal, Dale Hazzard, Steve Riley, Sean Parker, Chad Prentice, Josh Wilson, Brian Lasher, Eric Belshe, Jason Huffman, Shad Mort, Michael Belshe, Chad Vyrostek, Jeff Donovan, John Holman, Bobby Wigglesworth and Mark Hemry. Team trainers and managers were Shonna Terry, Lisa Rains, Staci Berry, Daryl Pontius and Bill Pontius.
- 1990: Coach Doug Nichols, 5-5
- 1991: Coach Doug Nichols, 2-7
- 1992: Coach Doug Nichols, 2-7
GRC Note: Tarkio joins the Grand River Conference as a football member.
- 1993: Coach Kevin Hixson, 1-8
- 1994: Coach Kevin Hixson, 4-5
- 1995: Coach Kevin Hixson, 1-8
- 1996: Coach Kevin Hixson, 6-5
- 1997: Coach Kevin Hixson, 5-5
- 1998: Coach Kevin Hixson, 11-1 — Grand River Conference Champions
- 1999: Coach Kevin Hixson, 9-1 — Grand River Conference Champions
Seniors — Quentin Carroll (all-GRC), Phillip Sauls, Justin Vyrostek (all-GRC), Byron Roberts, Daniel Wilson (all-GRC), Travis Bohannon, Jack Taylor (all-GRC), Neal Steward and Silas Fitzmaurice (all-GRC); Juniors — Nathan Henderson, Stephen Berry, Ben Hubbard (all-GRC), Randy Eaton (all-GRC), Luke Leeper and Jeremy Borges; Sophomores — Brant Conover, Jake Humphrey, Adam Whitney, Blake Parker, Robert Heldenbrand (all-GRC), Justin Kerns, Austin Story, Zach Strange, Brian Youtsey, Philip Berry, Ricky Hendricks and Scott Wilkinson; Freshmen — Canada Harris, Wilson Tolen, Matt Sieck, Andrew Parker, Justin Baker and Greg Hickey. Special awards: Most Improved — Nathan Henderson; Special Teams — Phillip Sauls; Rookie of the Year — Justin Kerns; Defensive Players of the Year — Justin Vyrostek, Randy Eaton and Robert Heldenbrand; Offensive Player of the Year — Quentin Carroll; Coach’s Award — Austin Story.
- 2000: Coach Kevin Hixson, 7-2
- 2001: Coach Kevin Hixson, 8-2
Defensive Player — Austin Story; Offensive Player — Bob Heldenbrand; Most Improved — Jacob Humphrey, Scott Wilkinson; Hustle Award — Adam Whitney; JV Player of Year — Patrick Dickinson; Rookie of the Year — Kyle Hefley; 4-Yr. Lettermen — Bob Heldenbrand, Adam Whitney, Austin Story.
- 2002: Coach Kevin Hixson, 8-2
- 2003: Coach Mark Cole, 1-9
GRC Note: Rock Port departs from GRC after the 2003.
- 2004: Coach Mark Cole, 5-5
- 2005: Coach Mark Cole, 7-4
- 2006: Coach Mark Cole, 7-5
GRC Note: Polo was admitted into the GRC.
- 2006: Coach Mark Cole, 12-1 — Grand River Conference Champions
The South Shelby Cardinals defeated the Gallatin Bulldogs in the state semi-final game and advanced to defeat Marionville, 34-27, to win the Missouri Class 1 football title at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. Team members are: Andrew Adkison (all-GRC), Zach Alliet, Matt Atkinson, Colt Bohannon (all-GRC), Tyler Brackett, Jon Brown (all-GRC), Nic Burrell (all-GRC), Brett Butterfield, Kevin Chadwick (all-GRC), Alex Critten, Kyle Croy, Lee Deutschman, Justin Duffy (all-GRC), Derrick Feigly, Nathan Gann, Jacob Gienapp, Kayle Hefley, Paul Hickey, Chase Hunt, Corey Lee (all-GRC), Derrick Love (all-GRC), Ethan Merrigan, Brandon Meseberg (all-GRC); Jason Moore, Keiten Newberry, Jordan Phelps, Shadow Phillips, Matt Pottorff, Hunter Prentice, Riley Rains (all-GRC), Robert Rhoades, Nick Rogers, Cody Selby, Colton Selby, Jacob Smith, Derrick Sprague, Derrick Teel, Tyler Toney, Cody Walton, Andy Ward (all-GRC), Brett Wilkinson (all-GRC), Stephen Wood (all-GRC), Terrill Wood and Jon Youd.
- 2007: Coach Mark Cole, 8-2 — Grand River Conference Co-Champions (with Princeton)
Team members: Matt Atkinson, Brad Berten, Tyler Brackett, John Corwin, Brendon Cosgrove, Alex Critten, Kyle Croy, Brandon Curtis, Lee Deutschman, Derrick Feigly, Nathan Gann, Kale Hefley, Logan Henderson, Dahton Holloway, Andrew Hood, Chase Hunt, Bradley Jones, Dylan Leeper, Chris Little, Bo Malo, Myrick McLey, Justin Moody, Jason Moore, Brandon Ness, Keiten Newberry, Greg Parton, Jordan Phelps, Shadow Philips, Matt Pottorff, Hunter Prentice, Robert Rhoades, Harold Russell, Colton Selby, Jacob Smith, Landon Smith, Derrick Sprague, Anton Steele, Sterling Steele, Derrick Teel, Tyler Toney, Cody Walton, Terrill Wood and Jon Youd. Players receiving all-GRC honors were Stephen Wood, Andy Ward, Kevin Chadwick, Corey Lee, Jon Brown and Jacob Gienapp. Special coaches’ awards were given to Gienapp, Teel, Jones and Atkinson. Award-winners picked by players included: Russell — Newcomer of the Year; Ward — Offensive Player of the Year; Lee — Defensive Player of the Year; Brown — “Big Man” Lineman Award; Chadwick — Hustle Award; and Wood — Most Valuable Player.
- 2009: Coach Jeff White, 3-7
Team members are Matt Adkison, Casey Alden, Jordan Bradley, Tyler Brackett, Gibson Bott, Hayden Bott, Wes Cole, John Corwin, Devin Hall, Caleb Hearon, Trevor Holcomb, Marcos Huerta, Brandon Hunt, Jordan Jeffers, Dylan Leeper, Mitchell Lewis, Derrick Lin, Zack Lollar, Bo Malo, Jack Malo, Isaac Mattis, Myrick McLey, Garrett McNeely, Levi Michener, Jason Moore, Brandon Ness, Chad Ness, Keiten Newberry, Hunter Prentice, Colton Selby, Peter Steele, Sterling Steele, Riley Vanatta and Terrill Wood. Statisticians and team managers are Cody Engel, Jennifer Acree, Brandon Hogan, Austin Hunt, Sam Hamilton, Vince Wiley and Morgan Corwin. Coach White, assisted by coaches Daryl Hane and Robert Rosenbaum, handed out the following awards voted by the players: Bradley — Practice Player of the Year; Sterling Steele — Most Improved; Leeper — Iron Man (for weight room training); Wood — Heart and Desire.
- 2010: Coach Jeff White, 5-5
GRC Note: GRC football includes eight schools, but 13 different schools take part in at least one league-sanctioned sport. The eight football schools are Albany, Gallatin, Hamilton, Maysville, King City, Polo, Princeton and South Harrison; Stanberry and Worth County continue in GRC basketball; Tarkio, Rock Port and South Holt are among 10 league members competing in wrestling.
- 2011: Coach Jeff White, 1-9
- 2012: Coach Kevin Meyer, 5-5
Playoff Note: The MSHSAA adopted a new playoff format beginning in 2012. Under the new format, teams will play a nine-game regular season and move to district play in week 10. At that point, teams will be placed in districts made up of eight teams and seeded by a point system over the nine-game regular season. The third game of the district championship series will be the district title game. District champs will then advance to the state quarterfinal round. Hamilton vaults to the KCI Conference in 2012-13 after spending over 60 years in the GRC.
Coach Kevin Meyer brings 27 years of coaching experience to GHS, including 18 years as a head football coach. As a head coach, he has taken six teams to the Nebraska High School playoffs. His Doniphan High School teams of 1993 and 1994 each made it to the quarterfinal round. State qualifiers at Fremont High School include teams from 1999, 2001, 2006 and 2008. Meyers was defensive coordinator for the Papillion-LaVista High School team that won a state championship in 1990. He also served as defensive coordinator for Papillion-LaVista teams that advanced to the semifinals in 1991 and 1992. His offensive coordinator duties at Fremont High School included quarterfinal teams of 1994, 1996, and 1998. Meyer served as head coach of the 2007 North Shrine Bowl.
- 2013: Coach Kevin Meyer, 7-4
- 2014: Coach Kevin Gundy, 5-5
Team members are Blaine Bailey, Colin Beck, Colten Beck, Wyatt Bird, Jacob Boyd, Caleb Boyd, Brandon Bradley, Dane Brammer, Jesse Bundy, Harris Cameron, Keaton Collins, Morgan Corwin, Rian Critten, Levi Davis, Diego Huerta, Austin Hunt, Logan Jeffers, Hunter McCampbell, Michael McLey, Patrick McNickle, Jarod Rains, Bradley Rhoades, CJ Richards, Michael Stanley, Trystan Sunby, Corbin Toney, Chad Walker, Jared Williams, Tanner Wilson and Tristen Wilson.
- 2015: Coach Kevin Gundy, 7-4
- 2016: Coach Kevin Gundy, 2-8
GRC Note: The conference expands to 16 member schools
- 2017: Coach Patrick Treese, 6-4
- 2018: Coach Patrick Treese, 6-4
- 2019: Coach Patrick Treese, 8-3
- 2009: Coach Jeff White, 3-7
- 2020: Coach Patrick Treese, 8-2 – Grand River Conference Champions (tie)
- 2021: Coach, 5-5
- 2022: Coach, 9-3
- 2023: Coach, 11-1 — Grand River Conference Champions
Grand River Conference Terminates After 93 Years
The March 2, 2023, meeting between the school superintendents of the Grand River Conference produced the most significant change in the league’s 93-year history. By a vote of 12-4, the GRC will split into two new, separate conferences at the start of the 2023-24 school year. Neither new conference will retain the name Grand River Conference. Football drives this decision although disparity in basketball competition and in school enrollments are motivating factors.
The split comes just a few months after the announcement that Brookfield and Marceline would join the league in 2024-25 and Princeton’s shift to competing in 8-Man football and the GRC West. The two new conferences will be created from the schools of the East and West divisions to reflect those membership changes:
- Group 1 — Albany, King City, North Andrew, North Harrison, Pattonsburg, Princeton, St. Joseph Christian, Stanberry, and Worth County
- Group 2 — Brookfield, Gallatin, Marceline Maysville, Milan, Polo, Putnam County, South Harrison, and Trenton
While the approval of the new additions had been unanimous, Maysville, Polo, Putnam County and South Harrison dissented from the vote to split the conference.
Growing concerns about the competitive imbalance between the two divisions had yielded continuing discussions regarding the future of the league. According to GRC secretary-treasurer Mike Adkins, the conference athletic directors had voted earlier this year for an end to the cross-over series in softball, basketball and baseball and the conference wrestling championship had been abolished, in addition to separate track and field and scholar bowl meets and music events.
The 2023 basketball cross-over event, held in King City in February, perhaps displayed the starkest contrast in the imbalance. The East Division (larger schools) won 14 of the 16 games played and both championship games. Since the conference expanded to 16 teams in 2016, the East Division teams won 53 of the possible 65 conference championships in activities that involve schools from both divisions. It has been argued that a significant contrast in the enrollments between division schools contributes to this disparity.
With Princeton’s impending division change and the addition of Brookfield and Marceline, all eight of the future West Division schools are smaller in enrollment than any East Division school member. The conference’s largest school (Trenton) carries an enrollment of at least more than three times larger than any current West Division member.
At the March 2, 2023, meeting the school superintendents agreed that neither of the two new leagues would retain the name “Grand River Conference.” At this time, new names were not decided. It is noteworthy that four West Division schools comprise the original “Grand River Six” -– Albany, Bethany (now South Harrison), Grant City (now Worth County), King City, Maysville and Stanberry. The “Grand River Six” organized in December, 1929, in the offices of Stanberry Superintendent L.A. Zelliff.
— based on an article written by Brent Johnson, Tri-County Ledger (Gentry County, MO)