District A-7 football preview: Coach Mark Gillespie trying to turn Barnsdall around

Former Boise City coach Mark Gillespie is now at Barnsdall, trying to turn around a team that was 0-10 and gave up 45.5 points per game last season.
BY ANTHONY SLATER Published: July 26, 2012
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Back in the 1980s, Mark Gillespie was a highly successful coach at Boise City.

During a six-year stint while he was still in his mid-20s, Gillespie led the Wildcats to a 48-15 record, highlighted by an 11-1 season in 1981 and a 10-1 season in 1982.

His teams were hard-nosed and physical, playing tough defense and regularly producing shutouts.

“Oh yeah, we would have games where we had people in negative yardage,” Gillespie said.

But 30 years after creating a brief defensive dynasty, Gillespie is in his 50s, living 384 miles to the east and taking over a struggling Barnsdall program.

Last year, the Panthers went 0-10, losing all but one game by double-digits. Gillespie hopes to change that losing mindset.

“More than anything, we have to get over the mental hump,” Gillespie said. “Just like winning breeds winning, losing breeds losing. We need to have success. We can't worry about, ‘Oh, we've lost to them the last 15 years, we'll just lose to them again.'”

And most importantly, Gillespie feels like the defense needs improvement. Last season, the Panthers gave up 45.5 points per game.

“We actually have some talent with some physical potential,” Gillespie said. “And we've played some offense, but we got to get tougher. I'm an old ‘we are going to hit people in the mouth and play defense' type coach. So we've got to get better on that side of the ball.”

MORRISON THE FAVORITE

For the past two seasons, Morrison has only lost two conference games.

But unfortunately for the Wildcats, both of those games were blowouts at the hands of undefeated Woodland, the powerhouse that has owned District A-7 recently.

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District A-7 coaches' poll

1. Morrison (9-3)

2. Hominy (6-6)

3. Yale (4-7)

4. Kiefer (11-2)

5. Depew (7-4)

6. Drumright (4-5)

7. Barnsdall (0-10)

Note: Last year's records in parentheses.

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