Kirgan To Play At Missouri Baptist

Derek Kirgan signed to play football at Missouri Baptist after graduation. Derek is between his parents Roger and Dawn Kirgan. Standing are NCHS Football coach Stephen Kozuszek, and NCHS Athletic Director Alicia Heggemeier.
By Brent Huelsmann
After graduation, Hornets senior Derek Kirgan will continue his career on the gridiron. Kirgan signed to play football at Missouri Baptist University after he leaves Nashville. Kirgan played offensive and defensive line for the Hornets, and was two year starter for Nashville.
Kirgan talked about the factors that led to him to choose Missouri Baptist University. “I chose Missouri Baptist University because I love the coaching staff and all the guys are great out there. It’s a great location. I trust that’ll they will give me a great education in what I’m going into, which is criminal justice. I love the campus and I’m excited to start my next four years of playing football.”
Kirgan went on to talk about what he thinks his role will be with the Spartans. “I think they are going to red shirt me, and I’ll be playing offensive tackle most likely.”
Hornets football coach Stephen Kozuszek talked about the player that Missouri Baptist is getting. “They are getting an athletic lineman. Depending on what they are doing schematically, probably depends on where they are going to put him either tackle or guard. But with his athletic ability he’s going to be able to move and pull and do a lot of things that they are going to ask him to do.”
Kozuszek went on to talk about what he’s meant to the Hornets program over the last four years. “Stability, he’s a four year player, and that’s not commonplace anymore in any school. For him to stick it out, because he didn’t play a freshmen schedule, and they didn’t play a full sophomore schedule either, so that’s not easy. His first two years in the program he spent kind of as a tackling dummy. It was spent on scout team, but he stuck it out and became a two year starter for us.”
As for what he needs to work on, Kozuszek says he needs to fill out his athletic frame, and get in the weight room, something Kirgan says he can’t wait to start doing, now that he has his school figured out.  “I know where I’m going to go, I got that out of the way. Now I’m just excited to start lifting with the guys and getting stronger.”
Kirgan also talked about the biggest adjustments he will have to make at the next level. “Probably the strength and speed of all the other guys playing out there. I’m 6’1” 230 pounds and I’m going to be playing line, so they are going to have to put a lot of weight on me, strengthen me up, and bulk me up.”
As for a favorite memory, Kirgan noted the final game of the 2017 season in which the Hornets picked up a comeback victory over West Frankfort. Kirgan noted it was nice to knock West Frankfort from playoff contention, after they had done the same to Nashville in 2016.
As for what he will miss about Nashville, Kirgan said, “Playing in front of my friends and family. Playing in my hometown. You can’t get much better than that.”
The Hornets finished 4-5 last season, as they picked up wins over Massac County, West Frankfort, Pinckneyville, and Sparta.
Kirgan plans to study Criminal Justice.

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