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Thunder and Lightning - Mid Mo's first week take

We didn't see any weather-related thunder and lightning in Kirksville Friday night...but we sure had some on the field. The thunder coming from Blair Oaks' receivers thundering up and down the field. In all...Falcons receivers caught...unofficially...30 passes for more than 350 yards. We knew about Ben Thomas and Braden Pritchitt and Ethan Luebbering...but where did Hayden Irvin come from? Great to see a senior finally getting his chance and running with it.

The lightning came from Kirksville scat-back Blake Lewis. The 5-6 160 pounder ran for touchdowns of 97 and 59 yards...and he caught a screen pass that went for 50 yards. It's not often you see an opposing player run away from Blair Oaks defenders...but Lewis was a blur.

As openers go...this was pretty typical. A lot of execution mistakes, penalties and turnovers. Too many to win games in October and November...but just enough to get some attention in the early days. Isn't it something how well Blair Oaks always plays in the third quarter of games? They can look sluggish and vulnerable for two quarters...and then come out and blow teams away in the early minutes of the second half. I guess that kind of thing happens when you have a billion or so years of coaching experience on your staff.

Coaches can't be happy with red zone efficiency...fumbles, botched plays...sacks and penalties all stopped this game from being over in the first half. Also problematic was the way the defense played late. Kirksville took two long drives right down the field in the fourth quarter with not much urgency. They scored on one...and stalled inside the 15 on the next. Got to finish strong.

47 passes? Really? In a high school game? That's a team with no running game. That's what most who don't watch Blair Oaks play must be thinking. But if you watch...and I think coach Walker will bear me out on this...alot of Blair Oaks' pass plays are "forward hand-offs". If a player on the end of the line does not have a defender right over him...the receivers and Nolan Hair are trained to look for an immediate pass. Nolan just has to straighten up and throw to the "uncovered man"...and it's at least a five yard gain...and the receiver then has a chance to make an athletic play and get more. Pritchitt with his speed and strength is perfect for this kind of attack. Then if you do roll your defense up to stop the short passing game...guess what? Bye bye Ben Thomas and Ethan Luebbering going deep down the middle. The traditional running game does have to get better...but don't forget the "forward hand-offs".

This week...Oak Grove...and the Panthers will arrive off a big win. Running back Kenton Wilhoit runs 29 times for 243 yards and two touchdowns in Oak Grove's season opening home win 31-14 over Pleasant Hill. Wilhoit ran for more than 200 yards against us last year...but the Falcons held on for the win. Oak Grove will be looking for revenge. Should be a dandy.

Other Observations

Some really interesting games over the weekend...and some surprises as well. Weather was a constant in many of these games.

Hannibal 41, Helias 28

Helias delivers a good performance at the brand new Hentges Stadium...but comes up short to their old nemesis. We'll see what happens in 11 weeks or so when these two teams meet in the district finals.

Jefferson City 47, McCluer North 0

Just what Dr. LePage ordered. It took the Jays 8 minutes to start dominating this one. Next week...defending Class 6 champs Kirkwood...on the road.

Battle 68, Mexico 14

There's opening game jitters...then there's what happened to Mexico. 10 turnovers against one of the best Class 5 teams in the state. Ouch! Bulldogs hope they don't get a hangover from this one.

Jackson 39, Hickman 24

South Callaway 25, Tolton 19 (2 OT) about the job Chad Masters has done with this young Tolton program? Taking a top 5 team to the brink. South Callaway lived inside the Tolton red zone, but nearly got beat

Blair Oaks 34, Kirksville 19

Win and advance. Typical first night up and downs for the Falcons

Centralia 44, Highland 6

New coach...same old Centralia.

Eldon 30, Boonville 15

Isaiah Merida is going to have a nice season for the Ponies

Southern Boone 15, North Callaway 12

Stunner of the night. Southern Boone escapes in a close game we didn't see coming. Still, the Eagles are 1 and 0.

Osage 32, Fulton 26

A lot of individual talent and speed on display in this one

Monett 19, California 6

This one finished up at about 1 in the morning Saturday. Hats off to California keeping it close with the defending state champs.

Hallsville 33, Putnam County 14

Another win for the Tri County Conference

Hermann 28, Montgomery County 14

Potosi 38, Owensville 34

Ooffff! Big upset for last year's semi finalists. We saw Owensville at the jamboree and something didn't look right with their offensive line and their defense.

Smith-Cotton 7, Moberly 6

Another late one. Even the Sedalia cheerleaders went home before this one restarted just before midnight.

Camdenton 35, Hillcrest 13

Game called at the end of the third quarter due to storms.

Lebanon 34, Rolla 28

Paris 38, Harrisburg 7

Versailles 51, Knob Noster 30

Annual season-opening win...but do not sleep on the Tigers. They are much improved.

West Plains 48 Waynesville 26

Things will get better for the Fighting Drehles'

Tipton 34, St. Paul Lutheran 20

Chillicothe 30, Marshall 0

Fayette 30, Carrollton 22

Westran 28, Salisbury 0

St. James 60, Cuba 0

Van-Far 44, MMA 7

Santa Fe 32, Slater 0

That's all for now...look for more blog posts in the weeks ahead...and make sure to check the website all week for more info from local coaches and high school football experts state wide. And remember...keep and open mind and a good sense of humor. All blog posts come from a mind warped by more than 40 years of high school sports!

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