And another trip to the northeast tip of Missouri. If Kahoka is not the ned of the earth, you can sure see it from there. This will be Ed and my third trip to Kahoka in the month of November. And, frankly, the folks up there couldn't be more helpful, easy going and great to deal with. I just wish it didn't take four hours-plus to get up there.
So, needless to say, this is a football program that is well-established going back several decades. This will be the fourth time overall that Blair Oaks has played Clark County in the state football playoffs. Let's take a look back at some of the history of this "rivalry"
2006: Disaster followed by fun
Clark County were heavy underdogs in this Travis Henke's first pass was intercepted and returned to the Blair Oaks seven yard line. From there, Clark County took the lead on a short touchdown run. Then the roof caved in on the Indians. Blair Oaks would score the next 35 points to lead 35-7 at halftime. The final score of the half came on a 75 yard bomb from Henke to sophomre wide receiver Justin Eiken on the last play of the second quarter. That was a pretty successful formula for the Falcons in those day...Henke could heave it...and Eiken could sure run after it. The Falcons would go on to win this one 44-14. Eiken caught 6 passes for 154 yards and three touchdowns.
This game also led to one of our favorite stories. About three plays prior to a crucial fourth down and short, Ed and I mentioned that the Falcons always went on one or the first sound. Coach Drehle liked the up tempo...and it always seemed the Falcons would jump across the line if the center held the ball too long anyways. Well, I was sitting right next to an enterprising Clark County coach...and as the Falcons were setting up for the fourth down play, he dutifully announced that "the play-by-play guys say they always go on first sound". Well...of course...this was one of the rare times the Falcons went on two. Offside Clark County...Falcons continue the drive and score. On the last play of the first half, the coach slammed his hand on the counter and slammed the door to the press box on his way out. He didn't come back for the second half.
2008: No extras
This was the famous Justin Eiken's shoulder game. Justin Eiken was superman in green and white. In 2008, playing quarterback, Eiken threw for more than 25-hundred yards and ran for more than 15-hundred. He was the fastest man on the planet, could pick apart opposing secondaries and spin through defensive lines like Baryshnikov. But then there was this punt drill on Thursday before the quarterfinal. During the drill, Eiken, who also ran back punts and kicks, suffered a hard knock on the right shoulder...separating it. There was real doubt that he could play on Saturday.
But on a bitter cold day that rivaled Friday night in Wardsville, only much more windy, Eiken took a cortisone injection, and out he came. Blair Oaks went to a two back offense with tight end Nathan Lepper playing fullback in an I-formation. Clark County jumped out early on two long touchdown runs from running back Javis Vineyard...but the Falcons righted the ship..and Eiken began to trust the shoulder a little more...running and throwing as Blair Oaks trailed 13-6 at halftime. The game hung in the balance in the third quarter until Indian quarterback Ethan Allen hit receiver Mason Owen with 12 seconds left in the third quarter. As they ran to tackle Owen, Eiken, the safety, and a corner back collided...and Owen ran untouched for the score, 80 yards, taking a 19-6 lead. The Falcons would rally in the fourth quarter, but two missed extra points left the Falcons just short in a 19-18 heart-breaker. For the game, in a howling wind, the kickers went 1 for 6 on extra points...Blair Oaks 0-3, and that was the ball game. Clark County would go on to win the Class 2 state championship that year.
2012: Breaking it Open
Clark County came in with all the swagger in this Class 2 quarterfinal. 13 and oh and ranked number 2 in the state. Blair Oaks was no slouch, 13 and 1 and ranked seventh. This game was savage for 24 minutes. The two teams almost literally slugged it out for the first half. Blair Oaks was known for their hard hitters, but they were getting as good as they gave. Finally, with about 4 minutes left in the first half, the Clark County kicker used a strong wind at his back to line through a a 34-yard field goal, and Clark County lead 3-0.. That was to be the Inidians last score of the game.
On the ensuing kickoff, Ashton Maasen took a reverse handoff (a Brad Drehle favorite) and went 90 yards for a touchdown...and the rest is history. From there, Blair Oaks reeled off 28 more unanswered points pulling away to a 34-3 rout. Corbin Singer ran a pick six from 15 yards, and the Bruise Brothers, massive runing backs Derek Otto and Eli Roberts controlled the game there after, Otto scoring two touchdowns...Roberts one. The Falcons would go on to lose in that titanic championship match with Lamar. And Lamar hasn't lost a championship since.
So...it's round four...with Blair Oaks up 2 to 1. Back to Kahoka we go with a lot on the line. See ya on the road.
No More Video
Sorry about this...but the MSHSAA makes it cost prohibitive for us to video webcast our games at this stage of the playoffs. So, we will bring you the play-by-play, radio style. I know that my camera work isn't always the best...it seldom is actually...but I hope that you all have enjoyed another season of video webcasts of Blair Oaks football. Just keep coming back for the rest of the games. They'll be linked through our website the same way as always.