Mid Mobservations: Welcome back football! Blair Oaks, Helias win instant classics
Welcome back football...welcome back Ted LePage and Chris Hentges. What a first week it was in mid Missouri football. Let's go to the scoreboard:
Blair Oaks 38, Maryville 35
First of all...let me give another shout out to Ed Kniest and Dr. Jim Jones for filling in on the webcast Friday night. It was the first time Ed had ever set up and run the equipment on his own...and Dr. Jones even showed off his play-by-play skills! There were problems with the webcast shutting down due to a faulty power cable on the phone/camera. And it always seemed to shut off at the most crucial times...but hopefully you got a chance to see enough of a great early season match up between two of the best football teams in the state.
I talked to Ted LePage before the game on our podcast...and we talked about the importance of stopping their power runs up the middle...and the importance of Blair Oaks being able to run the football. Mission accomplished for the most part. The Blair Oaks defense was stout against the Maryville power game except for a few occasions...and forced the Spoofhounds to go to the air. It was clear, they were uncomfortable playing a defense that could stop the first option in the wing-t.
Did you think that you would ever see this season a stat line of 224 yards passing and 223 yards rushing? The Falcons proved they could ground and pound and go deep. Riley Lentz did the dirty work inside, Braden Pritchitt attacked from the wing...and Nolan Hair proved he's a viable third running option as well as a mostly adept scrambler.
Coach LePage also said he wanted to see his team weather early storms. Instead...it was the Faclons putting the pressure on early...scoring on their first three possessions to take a 19-0 lead midway in the first quarter. From there...Mayville is having to play catch up.
Then there is the poise of a senior-laden team. After Hair's fumble was caught and returned for a touchdown early in the third quarter...Maryville took the lead, and you could feel the game slipping away. But a deep strike from Hair to Thomas and a long drive for a t.d. had the Falcons back up by ten by the end of the third quarter. Of course Maryville did not go away, but the Falcons finally crushed the defending state champions with a massive seven minute-plus drive capped by a Hair to Thomas touchdown pass on fourth and 11 with just over three minutes to go. Ed and I borrow a line from Kevin Kelly when we say those are championship drives.
So it's clear that Blair Oaks has the horses to beat the best. Now, they have to keep improving week to week and take care of business...starting this week at Oak Grove. I will be there...I promise. But it helps to have help from your friends!
Helias 35, Hannibal 34
It was straight out of the Chris Hentges playbook from eight years ago. A thriling offensive shoot out...capped by a heart-stopping last-second stand. Helias...led by sophomore quarterback Josh Weaver...had surged ahead 35-20 midway through the fourth quarter. But here came Hannibal storming back with two late touchdowns...going for two with just over two minutes left. The Helias defense comes up big...stops the zone read option...and some magic might be back for the Blue and Gold.
Back when I was running around the sidelines for KWOS...it seemed like every Crusader game played out this way. Helias always had tall fast athletes who could go get long passes...and a bruising back or two to keep the other guys honest. After one game, it looks like check and check. And, due to an unfortunate injury to senior Daniel Rhea...coach Hentges may just have found his number one quarterback.
Next up for the Crusaders...Hickman in Columbia next week. See below for a few thoughts on the Kewpies.
Kirkwood 37, Jefferson City 0
Not a huge surprise in the grand scheme of things. A stare powerhouse against a rebuilding program. It's going to be a process at Jeff. City. But unless I miss my guess...Jefferson City will be much better next week at home against Hannibal. And it might be a long night for the Pirates.
The coaching staff at Jefferson City certainly hasn't forgotten how to coach over the summer. Ted LePage didn't forget how to coach in his last few years at Jeff. City. Chris Hentges didin't become dumber in his eight years away from head coaching...and for that matter...Tim Rulo is a fine coach and human being too. I hear way too many negative comments about the coaches and their programs in this town. It's human nature. But I know these people...I've seen and known hundreds of coaches in my 40-plus years of covering sports. We're damn lucky to have the coaches and human beings we have in Jefferson City and Wardsville.
Hickman 23, Pattonville 0
What a great win for Cedric Alves and the Kewpies. The former Kewpie state champion returns and leads his team to a win over a team that played for a state championship last year. Say what you will about rivals and such, but mid Missouri football is better when all six teams are competitive. We'll find out more about Hickman and Helias next week.
Rock Bridge 33, Rockhurst 21
Rock Bridge was up big in this one...Rockhurst scored a couple late to keep the score respectable...and this on The Rock's home field.
Battle 53, SLUH 25
Six years into the program, the Spartans have never missed the playoffs since they started playing varsity competition. They won't this year either.
Osage 42, Fulton 27
Not surprised Osage scored 42 points. More surprised Fulton scored 27.
North Callaway 63, MMA 0
Pleasant Hill 42, Boonville 0
A work in progress for new coach Greg Hough of Boonville. We saw him at Carrolton last decade. The Pirates will be fine eventually...just maybe not this year.
Eldon 42, Bolivar 26
This is what happens when you make the offensive coordinator the head coach. Lots of points.
Southern Boone 49, Mexico 6
Don't sleep on the Eagles. This is a team loaded with athletes...starting with quarterback Sam Stichnote.
Warrensburg 55, California 7
Pintos a little out of their depth against a much bigger school. Pintos have a young program, and will need some time to get back to prominence.
Lafayette County 41, South Callaway 20
South Callaway lost a pretty good team to graduation and walked into a talented traditional power.
Smith-Cotton 21, Moberly 14
Smith-Cotton had a pretty good year last year...and Moberly was a district champion. Good win for Sedalia.
Tipton 30, St. Paul Lutheran (Concordia) 16
The Cardinals have had some rough seasons lately. Maybe this is a sign that Tony Braby's former Class 1 power is on its way back.
Tolton 29, Hallsville 16
Best strictly local match up in the area last night. Be warned...Tolton will be a tough out this year. Robert Hunter might be the best high school quarterback in the area not named Hair.
Monroe City 38, Centralia 0
Defending Class 1 state champs roll over a stumbling former Class 3 power.
Knob Noster 68, Versailles 30
This does not bode well for Versailles.
Potosi 55, Owensville 14
Nor does this for Owensville
Hermann 28, Montgomery County 12
Couple of district rivals for Blair Oaks. Montgomery County mightbe on the rebound. Hermann is always a mystery team...playing much larger schools most of the rest of the year.
Camdenton 49, Waynesville 0
Gee...the Class 4 district race in this area will be very interesting.
Rolla 31, Glendale 26
Marshall 16, Chillicothe 0
Not a good opening for the Fighting Rulos
And the fun has just begun!