Nixa Eagles top Lee’s Summit West in districts

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NIXA — New Eagles head coach John Perry wasn’t very familiar with his new football roster right when he was hired, so he texted back-and-forth with senior quarterback Reid Potts to get a feel for the school.

Perry wondered who could play wide receiver. Potts kept saying “Smith Wheeler,” although he knew Wheeler didn’t go out for football his junior season so he could focus on track. 

Wheeler sat in math class one day and in walked Perry, who asked if he could speak to him out in the hallway. 

“He was like, ‘hey, you should give it a shot,'” Wheeler said. “So I started working with him over the summer and now I’m having more fun than I ever have.”

2020 DISTRICT SEMIFINALS COVERAGE

Smith Wheeler, of Nixa, catches the ball over defender Brock Kobel before running for a touchdown during the Eagles Class 6 District 3 semifinal game against Lee's Summit West at Nixa High School on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020.

That one decision after math class now has Nixa heading to a district championship.

Wheeler dominated in Nixa’s 40-28 win over Lee’s Summit West (7-4) in a district semifinal matchup on Saturday afternoon in Nixa. The Eagles (9-2) will play for a Class 6, District 3 championship when it travels to Raymore-Peculiar (9-2) next week. 

“What a football player,” Perry said. “We grab that dude out of math class and he puts on an absolute show. Without him, we probably don’t win that ballgame. He makes a few catches down the stretch and he was just phenomenal.”

Ramone Green, of Nixa, runs with the ball during the Eagles Class 6 District 3 semifinal game against Lee's Summit West at Nixa High School on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020.

Wheeler caught seven passes for 170 yards — with multiple big plays down the stretch. He found himself wide-open for a 65-yard touchdown reception late in the second quarter before hauling in three catches for gains of 20 or more yards in the second half — including a highlight-reel one-handed catch to set Nixa up deep in Titans territory for its final score of the game. 



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