Feature Story of the Week

Desson Hannum delivers sectional title 17 years in the making


NEW MARKET ­— Southmont football head coach Desson Hannum has been with the Mounties for 17  seasons. Last Friday night 17 years of hard work, and perseverance paid off for Hannum as he guided his Mounties to their first sectional title in school history in what was an instant classic over then No. 1 (coaches poll) Linton-Stockton 36-34 in overtime. Hannum took the reigns of the Southmont program back in 2007 after five years of being an assistant at Logansport and after a rough first year where the Mounties went 1-9, Hannum guided South to records of 6-6, 8-3, 8-3 and 7-3 the next four seasons.

When he got to the Mounties it was a lot of learning on the fly, but thankfully as Hannum details, he had a lot of great people in his corner and ready to help.

“You really don’t know what all being a head coach entails until you do it,” Hannum said. “It took a lot of hard work early on and I was lucky to have some really great people helping me out. Mike Sowers was the man who really pushed for me to get the job. He stuck on for a few years to help me in the beginning. Bart Yoakum developed into a great defensive coordinator and a great friend and Bob Yund coached our line and there were numerous others along the way who have been part of the program. JT Moore, Jake Turner and now being in year 17 there’s a ton of guys who I’ve played and coached against that are on our staff. Obviously coach (Mitch) Denhe, Jeremiah Sparks and others have came back to now help coach our team this year.”

Hannum went on to also thank some of the junior high coaches in Jarrett Todd, Ty Welliever, and Cam Giles who are giving back to the Mountie program.

Southmont Athletic Director Aaron Charles came to Southmont in 2012 and from day one developed a great relationship with Hannum. Along with being the head football and track coach Hannum has been heavily involved with many other things with Southmont athletics.

“Coach Hannum and I have worked really well together from the day I got here in 2012,” Charles said. “We have believed in many of the same things such as youth development, how our junior high program needs to be ran, and the importance of the strength & conditioning program for all sports.  Coach Hannum has really evolved with our strength and conditioning program which has really benefited not just our football team, but other sports.”

Last Friday when that clock hit 00:00 and Hannum and the Mounties got to lift the sectional title the weight of an entire program was lifted off of their shoulders. One thing that Hannum also noted was once he got settled in with the Mountie program, it all came down to consistency.

“I’ve just tried to be as consistent as possible throughout my time here,” he said. “That’s the one thing that I’ve tried to do over the years. When you’re consistent, everyone knows what to expect when they’re playing and coaching for me. Along with that consistency I’ve appreciated the tremendous among of support from our administration, from parents, from other coaches and so on. At the end of that game last week, it truly did feel like a program win. Everyone played some sort of role in getting us in that position.”

In today’s coaching carousel it’s rare to see a coach around with a program  for as long as Hannum has. Charles spoke on how having that steady presence at the top of the program is what’s built the foundation for the Mounties run of success the last few seasons.

“Having a coach stay at one place for so long doesn’t always happen often today,” Charles said. “Smaller schools are going to go through ups and downs at times but having a consistent presence at the head coaching position is vital for long term success. Coach Hannum would be first to say that without all the former players, current players, past assistant coaches, and current coaches; he wouldn’t have been able to experience everything he has at Southmont. He is correct but he has done a great job of orchestrating everything and now he is not only the winniest coach in school history, but the only head coach in school history to have won a sectional championship to now go with the three SAC championships.”

Now the Mounties and Hannum shift their focus to making more history. The 7-5 Mounties will welcome the 8-4 Eastern Hancock Royals with a Regional title on the line. It’s a game that is expected to draw a very large crowd. Most of Montgomery County has now turned their support towards the Mounties. Hannum expects an electric crowd at Mountie Stadium as his team looks to continue their dream season.

“Our team has gotten so much support from countless people in the community and we can’t thank them enough,” Hannum said. “We expect it on Friday night to be a great environment for football. With less and less teams playing that means more people will make the trip to watch other games and watch us. Hopefully this will be one of those games that people choose to come to because it should be another great football game.”

The Royals defeated Winchester 47-14 for the Class 2A Sectional 38 title last Friday. They’re led by sophomore signal caller Elijah Edon who has thrown for 1,830 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season. He’s completed 139-224 (62%) of his throws. The Royals also feature a stellar running back in sophomore Mark Kube who has 1,610 rushing yards and 225 carries and 24 touchdowns. Edon has added 585 yards on the ground on 82 carries with 10 more scores.

Kickoff between the Mounties and the Royals is slated for 7 pm from Mountie Stadium on Friday. If you’re unable to make it out you can catch a live broadcast of the game on WCDQ 106.3 beginning at 6:30 as Jared McMurry, Bob Cox, and Codey Emerson will have the call as the Mounties look to punch their ticket to the semi-state next week .