A pair of local former high school football standouts will be included on this year's Elite 11, to be honored at the upcoming Missouri Sports Hall of Fame luncheon. Kenny Downing of Aurora and Preston Estes of Marionville will be honored with the award.
Two former National Football League standouts – Kansas City Chiefs return man Dante Hall and New York Giants lineman Jason Whittle of Camdenton High School and Missouri State University – along with longtime high school football coach Kurt Thompson, the Monett High School Football Program, the 1978 Mount Vernon High School state championship team and longtime Chiefs trainer David Kendall soon will be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
The annual Football Luncheon presented by the Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company is set for 11 a.m. on Wednesday, October 17 at the University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in downtown Springfield.
Additionally, a group of former high school and college standouts will be recognized with Elite 11 Awards for their positive contributions. They are Travis Brawner (Branson High School/Missouri State University), Kegan Coleman (Lee’s Summit North High School/University of Central Missouri), Kenny Downing (Aurora High School/University of Missouri/Canadian Football League), Preston Estes (Marionville High School/Missouri State), Derek Jensen (Lebanon High School/Missouri State), Roy Kaderly (Marshfield High School/Mizzou/Missouri State), David McNeel (Greenfield High School/Mizzou/Canadian Football League), Kevin Patterson (Carl Junction High School/Southwest Baptist University), the Roweton Brothers of Bolivar – Lance Roweton (Bolivar High School/SBU/William Jewell) and Brock Roweton (Bolivar High School, Evangel University), Skylar Smith (Kickapoo High School/Missouri State) and Terry Wemer (Joplin Parkwood High School/Oklahoma State University).
Sponsorship tables of eight are $400 and include recognition in the printed program and an autographed print. An individual ticket is $40 in advance, or $50 at the door. Numerous sponsorships, including congratulatory ads, also are available. Call 417-889-3100 for more information.
Dr. Kenny Downing -- Aurora High School, University of Missouri, CFL’s Ottawa/British Columbia: Downing was All-State in 1971 as a defensive specialist for Aurora High School, two years after helping the team win a state championship, and then earned three letters (1973, 1974, 1975) for the University of Missouri. In his time in Columbia, he also earned All-Big Eight Conference in 1975, and was named the All-Big Eight Defensive Player of the Week for September 26, 1975 for his play against Wisconsin. Downing was far from done. He was later drafted by the New Orleans Saints and then traded to the Chicago Bears. He went on to play in the Canadian Football League for the Ottawa Rough Riders and British Columbia Lions. Downing is now the owner of Westwood Chiropractic in Lenexa, Kansas.
Preston Estes -- Marionville High School, Missouri State University: Estes was a First Team All-State linebacker on Marionville High School’s 1982 team, which was responsible for the only loss that season of eventual state champion Springfield Greenwood Academy. Estes then went on to Missouri State University, where he was an honorable mention Associated Press All-American in 1985 and 1987. He also was a two-time All-Gateway Conference selection (1985, 1987) and lettered all four seasons there. Estes now works for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and lives in Nixa.