Seneca football teams to be inducted into Missouri Sports Hall of Fame

·5 min read

Aug. 17—The 1983-1996 Seneca football teams will soon be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

Seneca will be one of two teams part of the hall of fame's enshrinement ceremony at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center in Springfield.

Individual tickets are $50 and can be purchased by calling the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, 417-889-3100 or $60 at the door.

The Joplin area will be represented with a trio of Elite 11 honorees — Joey Ballard (Missouri Southern), Dr. Bob Arnce (Carl Junction High School/William Jewell) and Jared Beshore (Lamar/Missouri State).

The Elite 11 Awards honor former high school, college and professional standouts who made positive impacts on the game.

The MSHOF will also induct Kansas City Chief-turned-broadcaster Danan Hughes, Ozark Tiger and Miami Hurricane Rusty Medearis, longtime Cabool coach John Mark Hale and Waynesville radio's Marv Luten. Joining them will be the Lighthouse Christian Chargers' Five National Championship Teams.

Additionally, SRC Holdings, Inc., Executive Vice President Gary Goetz will be bestowed the President's Award by Jerald Andrews, the Hall of Fame's longtime CEO & Executive Director who handed over the reigns on August 1

"Everybody in Missouri is excited about the football season, and we're honored to be recognizing very deserving folks who have made it special in the state," said Byron Shive, MSHOF's new CEO & Executive Director. "It's also neat to bestow the President's Award on Gary Goetz for all that he has done for us and others. And the Elite 11 Awards feature some pretty neat storylines. We hope everyone will join us on October 19."


When folks talk about the most tradition-rich football programs in the state, the Indians are certainly in the conversation.

Between 1983 and 1996, they were among the most dominant. Coached by Tom Hodge (MSHOF 2016), Seneca won two state titles, with the 1987 team beating Brentwood 20-13 and the 1995 team beating Herculaneum 35-14. Both of those state title teams finished 14-0.

The success isn't confined to those two teams, however.

Seneca had three state runner-up finishes in 1983, 1986 and 1995. Additionally, the Indians reached the state semifinals in 1991 and 1992, as well as the state quarterfinals in 1989, 1993 and 1996.

Overall, Seneca compiled a record of 145-35 during the era, which also included district championships in 1985 and 1990. It was also in that era when Seneca filled 31 slots on All-State lists.


Ballard was a two-sport athlete (football, baseball) at Missouri Southern, which eventually inducted him into its Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017. He was the only athlete in the history of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association to earn league Freshman of the Year in two sports (1998 football, 1999 baseball).

Overall, he was a seven-time All-MIAA selection — three in football and four in baseball. In football, he set the career record for most passes caught by a running back (72), most receiving yards by a running back in a single season (377, 1998) and in a career (772). He also held the school career record for punt returns (75) and most punt return yardage (699).

He also is 10th in single-season scoring in program history (72 points, 1998). In baseball, he ranked in the top 10 of seven different career categories — notably fourth in runs scored (204), fifth in steals (62) and triples (12) and sixth in hits (226).

A graduate of Muskogee High School in Oklahoma, Ballard now is an assistant football coach for Joplin.


Arnce was a two-way football standout for Carl Junction's Bulldogs, earning All-State as a linebacker and as an offensive guard in 1984, a year after earning All-State as a linebacker.

He helped the Bulldogs win three conference championships, two district titles and advance to the 1983 state semifinals, when Arnce played despite a broken wrist. He was recruited by the University of Oklahoma and numerous smaller schools.

Additionally, he was a state wrestling runner-up in 1985 despite suffering a meniscal tear of his left knee mid-season. Ultimately, Arnce was a three-year football letterman for William Jewell, where he was Defensive Newcomer of the Year as a sophomore, a Defensive team captain, all-conference in 1987 and an NAIA Academic All American as a senior.

After graduation, he played one year of football at Oxford in England. He has been practicing emergency medicine for nearly 30 years and is currently an emergency room physician at Freeman Health System in Joplin and an Assistant Professor at the Kansas City University School of Medicine.


Beshore helped Lamar become a powerhouse in football, as he helped the Tigers win three consecutive Class 2 state championships in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Lamar was 41-4 in his final three seasons, with Beshore becoming a four-time All-State selection. He rushed for 4,920 yards in his career and scored 88 touchdowns, and also had 23 career interceptions.

He also was a three-sport letterman and helped the Lamar boys track team win the 2013 and 2014 state titles as an All-State sprinter.

At Missouri State, Beshore totaled 240 tackles, 16 pass break-ups and seven interceptions, all in 44 games. He was an assistant coach at Branson and has been Lamar's head coach since 2020. He guided the Tigers to the state title in his first season and a state runner-up finish in 2021.