Scott Pingel has led the CBC football team to places it had never been before.
Coming off their second consecutive Class 6 title and three championships in five years, the Cadets are a force to be reckoned with in Missouri.
A national television audience will soon have the chance to see why.
On Tuesday ESPNU announced it will broadcast CBC's home showdown with Metro Catholic Conference rival De Smet on Sept. 20 as part of its High School Football Showcase series that features 11 games from all corners of the country. CBC and De Smet will be the first local game aired to a national audience since Parkway West hosted Parkway North in 2007 when then-senior Blaine Gabbert was expected to be the highlighted recruit. Gabbert did not play his senior year after suffering a shoulder injury.
Of the 11 scheduled games three will be held in Texas with others in Georgia, Tennessee and Louisiana. One will be held in Washington D.C. that includes powerhouse St. John's which beat CBC at home last year for the Cadets only loss in what was a highly touted and thrilling contest.
CBC's coach, Pingel said that playing a national caliber opponent like St. John's should give the Cadets some experience to lean on as they prepare for their national television debut.
“They got a taste of what it's like,” Pingel said.
Whether this season's matchup with De Smet is on national television or played on a sandlot it's going to be big time. CBC is the reigning nine-time undefeated MCC champion. It has won its last 10 meetings with De Smet including both its regular season and postseason games last season. It's been 10 years since the Spartans managed to upended the Cadets in conference play, a streak they're hoping ends on Sept. 20.
De Smet has been on the road back to prominence the last three seasons with coach Robert Steeples leading the charge. A De Smet graduate with National Football League experience, Steeples and his staff have been growing the program in his tenure and all their work appears poised to pay dividends.
The Spartans have the headliner on their side with the consensus top-ranked senior in the state in wide receiver Jordan Johnson who has verbally committed to Notre Dame. There are also a slew of underclassmen who have made a national name for themselves.
Getting the chance to play on a national network is a small piece of validation that the Spartans are on the cusp of arriving.
“It's an awesome opportunity and kudos to both programs involved,” Steeples said. “It's a testament to what (the players) have built.”
Football coaches are often creatures of habit and not all of them are keen to have their routine disrupted nor have their players distracted by something other than what's in front of them. Both Steeples and Pingel believe their players will be able to keep the focus where it belongs – on the field.
“It's a distraction if you let it or it can be motivating if you approach it the right way,” Steeples said. “That's a challenge. It comes down to getting the most out of practice (today).”