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Another is Waiting: Duerrisms Returns with Your Week One Pigskin Primer


Back in full effect for another fun Fall Season of Sports Coverage, this is DUERRISMS. We are brought to you, as always, by the fine people at GAMEMASTERS, your outfitter for all things sports. If you need it, they have it. And remember to thank them with both your business and your words for their unyielding support of local athletes. It matters and makes extras like this possible.


Go time has finally, mercifully arrived and we are happy once again to be a part of feeding the local Sports Culture. On that front, a few business notes. This column is now back, full time, through Thanksgiving and we hope to have it ready and waiting for you every Thursday morning when you awake. SPORTS FINAL launches into full tilt High School Football coverage this Friday Night at approximately 10:20 with all the highlights of the night that was. OVERTIME has also returned and is yours every Saturday Night at 10:30pm with 30 minutes of extended local coverage, thanks to the good folks at Conn Communications. And we are launching a new feature in OVERTIME beginning Saturday, September 7th called the Burrus Hybrids "Seeds of Greatness" in which we will be profiling the future stars of Tri State Sports. If you know of a young man or woman, ages 13 or below, who has a unique talent, attribute, or has accomplished something truly impressive in Sports at such a precocious age and you would like to see them featured, please contact me at cduerr@khqa.com and we will endeavor to introduce these "blooming sports stars" to the Tri States.


If you have not received a copy of the GRIDIRON PLAYBOOK yet and would like one, there is a full list of advertisers, in each area city and town, listed atop the KHQA Sports Website.


One more business note: given all the late, heat related starts on Friday night and the expected water delays during the game, we are going to do Sports Final as best we can live on Friday; then re-record the whole thing later with final scores and more extended highlights for the Web. Be sure to check the web in the Morning or when you arrive home from your road trip for a more updated version of the show.


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KHQA PRESEASON POWER POLL


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1) CENTRAL PANTHERS


Last Season: 12-1


Up First: at North Greene


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Players of Gravity: Muddy Waters, Cole Phillips, Jared Starman, Mike Johnson, Bobby Keltz


Sleeper to Watch: Alger Saldana, Michael Huston


Areas of Strength: Offensive Line, Linebacker, Skill Position Depth, Running Game


Question Marks: Inexperience in the Secondary


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THE SKINNY: Heard some of the scuttlebutt around the WIVC North about people projecting the Panthers to "come back to the pack" this season and I flat don't see it. Yes, Brad Dixon loses his big name players from a year ago but the man has proven adroit at developing Franchise Runners on the fly. Moreover, this might be as a collective, the most athletic backfield Central has posted in his tenure given the unique contributions Cole Phillips can make as a running quarterback and the unique package of attributes (read length and jumping ability) Alger Saldana adds to an already solid base with workhorse Bobby Keltz and game breaker Austin Kramberg in the mix. Still, on the list of reasons I like Central this much, Skill Position talent still paces a distant third. For me this is about Offensive Line talent and Front Seven/Eight Defensive guys. And the Panthers have them in abundance (actually they are all the same group of about a dozen guys) who are just flat out players. That whole Starman/Johnson/Diller/Shake/Waters/Houston/Eilers/Dormire base is just rife with no-nonsense, no frills kids who go out and do their jobs at a high level with a great degree of pride. And they are all so balanced, one singular star won't emerge here. To wit, I think on a less talented team Andrew Shake has the play making ability to be bona fide Lead Linebacker and lynchpin of a defense. Here, he is just view as another shark in the feeding frenzy. This is just a really well constructed team with even better chemistry. And that may be my favorite aspect of Central going forward: for all the tangible skills in play here, it is the overall sense of team purpose here that is very rare and special. No one cares who gets the credit. The kids all get it organically and that makes Central a legit DeKalb Threat come November.


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2) JACKSONVILLE CRIMSONS


Last Season: 6-4


Up First: at Lincoln


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Players of Gravity: Blake Hance, Gabe Megginson, Devante Clark, Collin Ryals


Sleeper to Watch: Kody Wood


Areas of Strength: Quarterback, Wide Receiver, Size, Depth, Offensive Tackle, Secondary Play


Question Marks: Strength of Schedule


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THE SKINNY: This is the window of opportunity this program has been waiting for. If the Crimsons are ever going to win a Central State Eight title, this is the year. They get The Big Three at home, no small break. They are stacked at nearly every position on the field with top of the league level talent. The only real question marks in play, from an internal standpoint, are (1) does the Quarterback platoon with Bryce Schnitker and Zac Lonergan operate smoothly and (2) can the Crimsons adequately replace the ton setting hustle/grit of Harley Van Bebber on the interior defensive line to help keep the back two tiers of the Crimson Defense clean. Beyond that, there is nothing left for Mark Grounds and company to do but complete their overthrow of THE power conference on this side of the state. It would be no small accomplishment but the Crimsons are well heeled to do so. Bottom line, if this team plays at Max-Q, there is no one in the state that may be able to keep them out of DeKalb Thanksgiving Weekend.


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3) ILLINI WEST CHARGERS


Last Season: 8-3


Up First: vs Pittsfield/Griggsville-Perry


Players of Gravity: Brayden Carroll, Braxton Squier, Dylan Chandler, Tyler Wildrick


Sleeper to Watch: Leighton Johnson, Blaze Murfin


Areas of Strength: Top to bottom Team Speed, Backfield Depth, Offensive Guard, Defensive Line


Question Marks: Linebacker


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THE SKINNY: There is no bigger non-story in Tri-State Football than the Chargers Coaching Change. Lyle Klein is as good a hire as you can ever hope for in Illinois Small School Football and Tim Lafferty is still on staff doing Tim Lafferty things, like coaching up Offensive Linemen and obsessing over every minute special teams detail. More to the point, I am not sure I personally saw a more impressive talent base in my travels this season. The speed here is incredible, across the roster. No there isn't a Ser Whitaker in the mix but as a collective the Charger Offensive Backfield can flat go. Leighton Johnson is going to bring an added speed element at Fullback to go along with an abundance of burner elements on the Wings. It sounds like Coach Klein wants to get back to the old traditional Carthage "three twelve hundred yard rusher scheme" rather than relying on one particular feature back type and that means Johnson, Brayden Carroll, and Jacob Sholl likely all have incredible value going forward in your Tri State Fantasy Football Leagues. From where I stand, the Chargers are as good up front from from Guard to Guard as any team in our area with Tyler Wildrick flanked by Blaze Murfin and Braxton Squier. If the two tackle spots flesh out, these guys will lead our area in scoring and points per game. Defense is Lyle Klein's specialty and he will have some screws to tighten here. Still, the man has a track record for coaxing production here and his Secondary is a known commodity going in. And for my money Dylan Chandler looks like the breakout 2013 Defensive Line product in Tri State Football. I've picked these guys to win the WCC, even with Martel Hunter around and QND moving into the neighborhood. It's more a feel thing than anything but at Max-Q this team just present so many system and talent matchup issues that they have the ability to make even elite teams uncomfortable.


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4) HANNIBAL


Last Season: 10-2


Up First: vs QND (KHQA GAME OF THE WEEK)


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Players of Gravity: Lijah Harrison, Mitch Nichols, Jordan Wilson, Dylan Powell, Austin Davis


Sleeper to Watch: Dalton Overstreet, Wyatt King


Strengths: Offensive Line, Size in the Trenches, Mitch Nichols, Defensive Physicality


Question Marks: Defensive Consistency


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THE SKINNY: The good news coming off Friday's Jamboree? Hannibal's Offense could not have looked much sharper or more explosive. The eye is instantly drawn to the size that Mark St Clair's team brings up front and those veteran Pirate blockers, led by guys like Jordan Wilson and Gus Meyer have no problem getting off the football and doing so with mean intentions. This game isn't rocket science. If you can put a bunch of aggressive, talented big guys in front of a group of quick skill position weapons, you tend to do well and Hannibal has the capability. Was impressed (in a limited window) with what I have seen from Lijah Harrison moving under center at Quarterback; and perhaps more broadly, with the depth and talent Hannibal has lined up at the position. On the flip side, I thought Hannibal's Defense didn't exactly have a momentum building performance on Friday as both Clark County and Bowling Green found ways to victimize the Pirates Linebackers and exploit them being out of position. Is that mere clean up work or something more concerning? I learned long ago never to put too much emphasis on Jamboree or Scrimmage performance but clearly the Pirates better tighten up in the Front Seven before QND comes to town on Friday. Long range, the Pirates have ample talent on that side of the ball, led by All Stater Lijah Harrison at Safety. Right now, it just seems like the Pirates timing is off and small mistakes are snow-balling on them; especially in getting beaten by opponents Quarterback decision making. I suspect that is being addressed even as we speak. Long range, there is no reason not to love this team as a deep player into November. The Pirates return a talented core that gave State Finalist Helias all it could handle last year before an unfortunate late coverage mistake did them in. There is a great Senior Nucleus comprised of smart, tough kids and a host of what might be the area's richest well of underclass talent. Come late October, these guys will be (as usual) a tremendously difficult out.


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5) PALMYRA PANTHERS


Last Season: 7-5


Up First: at Macon


Players of Gravity: Brock Butler, Caleb Kizer, Ben Althoff, Mark Hoerr, Case Doyle


Sleeper Watch: Austin Hightower


Strengths: Depth, Quarterback Play, Linebacker, Defensive Line, Athleticism


Question Marks: Psyche, Finishing Ability


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The SKINNY: On paper, Palmyra is as good and deep a team as you will find in Northeast Missouri. Will it translate? The Panthers don't have many red letter wins on the books over the last half decade and that is a niggling concern going forward. What will this team do when the lights come on and the glare is brightest against Centralia in Week Two or a tight spot against Clark County. I think that is the really exciting X-factor in this entire Clarence Cannon Conference equation. Palmyra has the best chance to be the elite team here with home run capability on Offense and Defense that could be downright ferocious with Althoff, Doyle, Hoerr and company ready to pounce. If Kevin Miles gets his team to play at Max-Q and stand up in adverse moments, they might not lose a game. I have also heard critics say Palmyra is the "good" team most vulnerable to laying an absolute egg against an inferior opponent and going off the rails. I am not going to pretend to be able to predict psyche. All I can tell you is this group has passed the eye-test at every turn thus far and plays an entertaining brand of football. I guess we will have to wait for a crossroads moment to see what this team is really made of upstairs. On that front, we shant have to wait long with a Macon road trip and visiting Centralia coming to town in the first two weeks of the season.


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6) CENTRALIA PANTHERS


Last Season: 11-2


Up First: vs Highland


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Players of Gravity: Zach Etzler, Cullen Ralphs, Chandler Blackwell, Gannon Peavler


Sleeper: Logan Armontrout, Hunter Williamson


Strengths: Wide Receiver, Defensive Back, Quarterback, Mystique, Team Speed


Weakness: Inexperience in the trenches, Player availability


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THE SKINNY: My plans to visit Erle Bennett Country got thwarted when my talent assistant became a news anchor and I suddenly became a one man Sports Department. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to gauge the development of Centralia's largely rebuilt Offensive and Defensive Lines. Nor did I get an update on an individual player discipline issue that may shuffle the starting line-up early in the year in a potentially important way. Most disappointingly of all, I did not get a chance to compare/contrast the Panthers with Illini West to make a definitive analysis of just who is the fastest team in Tri State Football. I suspect it would be a very close race. The Panthers are not only blessed with difference makers in the skill position spots but Zach Etzler has some of the best speed/size combo targets around to work with. There is probably no team in our area who will make more big plays, nor allow fewer. What concerns me on paper, at least, is not knowing if Centralia can be overpowered. That seems weird, given this programs history, but Erle doesn't have as many givens coming into this season as we are used to seeing. Obviously, these guys coach up Linemen well but I am to ignore that perception, especially in light of Palmyra's up front physicality this year seems short-sighted. I guess we will just have to wait for Game of the Week on September 6th to get it all sorted.


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7) BROWN COUNTY HORNETS


Last Season: 5-5


Up First: vs Greenfield


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Players of Gravity: Nathan Banta, Brady Long, Braxton Phelps, Nathan Fisher, Nathan Mekdara


Sleepers: Collin Clinging, Coltan Behymer, Wyatt Jones


Strengths: Experience, Athleticism on the Offensive/Defensive Line, Depth, Running Back potential


Question Marks: Quarterback, Leadership


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THE SKINNY: We won't have to wait long to find out how much this team has grown up. Greenfield will be an Instant barometer on the Hornets progress moving past a disappointing 5-5 campaign last year where the team's inexperience was clearly on display. That can't be the case this season, from Night One forward. The traditional blueprint for success in Mount Sterling has been rooted in Defense and Offensive Line play and the Hornets have ample reason to believe both those groups will be greatly improved going forward. The holes will be there for Brady Long and Braxton Phelps to exploit. And I was very impressed with the athleticism and range the Hornets Defensive Line displayed in the preseason. Like Palmyra above, the question marks here are more specifically rooted in psyche and ability to close. I like the fact that after all their early struggles last year, this team kind of figured it out and clawed its way to the playoffs. If that trajectory continues, I think we are looking at team here that will win 8 or 9 games in the regular season. What Tom Little can't afford from his troops is a regression back to the 2012 mean in terms of performance and toughness, both physical and mental.


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THE NEXT LEVEL


8) CONCORD TRIOPIA


Forget the WIVC. These Trojans are physical and imposing enough to contend in the NCMC. This is also a young group with a huge leadership void to fill and that gives me some pause. Derrek Schone was our POY for more than just his talent and play; his tone setting might have been his most critical attribute. Absent that, it will be interesting to see how the Trojans attend their business. This is a team that could slug its way to greatness or struggle in a 2012 Brown County fashion to find its identity and voice. History and outstanding coaching suggest the former, which is why I have them this high. And don't be surprised if Matt Parker leads our region in rushing


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9) CLARK COUNTY


Originally, I wasn't overly high on the Indians given how much they lost to graduation. After seeing them in Camp and at the Hannibal Jamboree, I view Clark through a more positive prism. If the Offensive Line continues to gel; if Jayvin Ray is as good as he looked at QB at Porter Stadium, and if everybody stays healthy, these guys have enough ammo to enter that top tier of CCC play with Palmyra, Centralia and Brookfield and give those teams fits. And for whatever it is worth, for my money, Jacob Trump as a Junior is the best two-way player in Tri State Football.


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10) SOUTH SHELBY


Rob Wilt held a number of kids out due to injury during Saturday's Jamboree at Paris, including All Stater Trace Windsor, so don't read too much into that performance. To be honest, I am interested as heck to see what these guys really are as a team and I am not sure we will know that until Districts. Its an evolution with some really interesting parts and some questions I don't have answers to yet. Is there a go to Defensive Rainmaker? Will the line compete as well with less size? How much more diverse will this Run Game be with some really interesting pieces around Windsor? There are genuine concerns here so this is probably a leap of faith pick based on favorable Size Classification for the Playoffs, my history of watching Rob Wilt and Zach Grassley coax continued game to game progress out of their team every single year (which I contest they do better than anyone else in our area right now) and my assertion that a healthy Windsor is a game changer most teams South's size can't negate come playoff time.


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11) QND


This is a very different QND team in composition for good (see also our area position best lists) and bad. From my vantage point, this is also a Raider team playing in a much more favorable conference and it's hard for me not to see a minimum of six wins here. Point blank, I think QND's Offense goes as Joe McCaughey goes at Quarterback and so far through pre-season and Mizzou Camp, that kid has my faith. Defensively, I am enamored of the Logan Schutte/Brady Genenbacher pairing (if the later stays healthy) at Linebacker and I don't see much drop off on that side of the ball. This is a pretty safe pick, to be honest, despite all the changes.


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12) QUINCY HIGH


Love the talent. Hate the schedule. I started this process this season with the Blue Devils as high as number five on my list. And there is not a Defense in Tri State Football I like more than this, especially with as good as transfer Malik Bondon has looked next to returning All Conference pick River Bugh. And yes, this is also home to KHQA Preaseason POY Malique Robbins and a backfield of assorted goodies (Blue Devils legitimately have 4 number one backs here, including the unsung Cambron Adams as a power alternative to Josh Osborne and Bryce Unmisig.)


Here's my legit question here: is the Blue Devil Offensive Line good enough to past muster? Hard to tell, especially playing against this Defense every single day.


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13) KNOX COUNTY


Another team I had much higher on the list to start but chickened out. From a skill position standpoint, these guys are easy to be enamored of with guys like Royce Poore, Brody Moubry and Quarterback Weapon Donovan Edwards able to quicken the pulse at a moments notice. Like Quincy High, however, I want to see more of this Offensive Line before I can fully buy in. And Alex Van Delft has some soft spots to mask on Defense as well. Still, I see the Eagles as a really great swing for the fences option.


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14) BEARDSTOWN


Look, Aaron Elmores don't grow on trees and the Tigers just bid good bye to one of the most quietly impressive coaches to grace our area in the last decade. I suspect that Tyler Buhlig learned well by his side the last couple of years. We will find out soon enough. I think the Offensive Line is better than advertised here and that could really ignite this situation. Great quarterback in Gus Vermillion. Two quality backs in play. And the area's most unsung Defense. Yeah...I am buying in on these guys.


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15) MACOMB


He's only got 35 kids, which scares the bejeezus out of me. By the same token, Kelly Sears only has to play 11 at a time and some of the parts here are really, really impressive. You won't find better Defensive Ends than Alema Stone and DJ Williams. Jacob Poore looks like a different kid at Quarterback. And the Bombers may be just fine at Linebacker after graduating the best tackle producer in the state. Macomb can't afford to lose a single front line kid; which seems a statistical impossibility in this sport. But if they somehow sneak under injury radar...wow.


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WORTH CONSIDERING


16) BOWLING GREEN


17) PITTSFIELD/GRIGGSVILLE-PERRY


18) UNITY/PAYSON


19) WINCHESTER WEST CENTRAL


20) PLEASANT HILL/WESTERN


21) MACON


22) FORT MADISON


23) KEOKUK


24) RUSHVILLE/INDUSTRY


25) MONROE CITY


26) CLOPTON-ELSBERRY


27) CENTRAL LEE


28) MARK TWAIN


29) HIGHLAND


30) WEST HANCOCK


31) NORTH SHELBY


32) LOUISIANA


33) SCOTLAND COUNTY


34) ROUTT


35) WEST PRAIRIE


36) BPCA



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RANKING THE TALENT BASES



Best Position Groups By Team



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DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD



1) CENTRALIA



2) QND



3) HANNIBAL



4) SOUTH SHELBY



5) BEARDSTOWN



6) JACKSONVILLE



7) ILLINI WEST



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Sleeper: KEOKUK



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LINEBACKER



1) QUINCY HIGH



2) CENTRAL



3) MACOMB



4) QND



5) PALMYRA



6) CLARK COUNTY (tie)



6) PITTSFIELD/GRIGGSVILLE-PERRY (tie)



7) MACON



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Sleeper: MONROE CITY, BEARDSTOWN



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DEFENSIVE LINE



1) MACOMB



2) PALMYRA



3) UNITY/PAYSON



4) BROWN COUNTY



5) ILLINI WEST



6) CLARK COUNTY



7) TRIOPIA



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Sleeper: RUSHVILLE/INDUSTRY



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WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END



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1) JACKSONVILLE



2) QND



3) CENTRALIA



4) MONROE CITY



5) UNITY/PAYSON



6) QUINCY HIGH



7) FORT MADISON



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Sleeper: LOUISIANA



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OFFENSIVE LINE



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1) CENTRAL



2) ILLINI WEST



3) JACKSONVILLE



4) CONCORD TRIOPIA



5) BROWN COUNTY



6) HANNIBAL



7) WEST CENTRAL



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Sleeper: PLEASANT HILL/WESTERN



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RUNNING BACKS



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1) QUINCY HIGH



2) SOUTH SHELBY



3) HANNIBAL



4) ILLINI WEST



5) CENTRAL



6) BROWN COUNTY



7) TRIOPIA (tie)



7) WEST CENTRAL (tie)



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Sleeper: NORTH SHELBY



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QUARTERBACKS



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1) JACKSONVILLE



2) CENTRALIA



3) PALMYRA



4) BEARDSTOWN



5) BOWLING GREEN



6) HANNIBAL



7) QND



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Sleeper: CENTRAL LEE



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WEEK ONE FEARLESS DUERR PREDICTIONS



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QND 24



HANNIBAL 35



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JACKSONVILLE 50



LINCOLN 7



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PGP 12



ILLINI WEST 35



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LIMESTONE 14



MACOMB 30



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WEST CENTRAL 27



UNITY/PAYSON 20



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PLEASANT HILL 14



TRIOPIA 28



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GREENFIELD 18



BROWN COUNTY 20



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CENTRAL 35



NORTH GREENE 7



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ROUTT 10



CALHOUN 27



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BEARDSTOWN 18



LEWISTOWN 0



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NORTH FULTON 20



R/I 28



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MONROE CITY 13



CLARK COUNTY 31



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PALMYRA 28



MACON 14



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LOUISIANA 14



SOUTH SHELBY 42



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HIGHLAND 13



CENTRALIA 30



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SALISBURY 21



SCOTLAND COUNTY 6



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WESTRAN 48



NORTH SHELBY 21



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KNOX COUNTY 28



MARCELINE 38



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KEOKUK 14



OTTUMWA 30



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FORT MADISON 20



WB/ND 6



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RANDOM MUSINGS

Holy Trinity Volleyball will open the Iowa Spikes Season as the Preseason Favorites to title. Melissa Freesmeier's crew has been picked 1st in Class 1A this season, ahead of the usual suspects Janesville and Tripoli. Holy Trinity also tops the KHQA Preseason Spikes Power Poll followed in order by 2)West Prairie, 3)QND, 4)Quincy High, 5)Hannibal, 6)Jacksonville, and 7)Camp Point Central.

Hannibal Outside Hitter Gabbie Wiley has joined the early season list of Division One Commitments, pledging Louisville. She will be the second local player in to land as a Cardinal in the last few years, following the lead of former Quincy High Setter Hannah Kvittle. Pirate Teammate Brooklyn Watson also has her college future mapped out and has made a verbal commitment to McKendree.

With Wiley's pledge, the Tri State's has potentially four Division One Hitters at play in area Gyms this Fall. Holy Trinity's Mikaela Foecke (Nebraska) along with the still uncommitted Jaelyn Keene of Jacksonville and Quincy High's Monica Bumbry, Worth a ticket to see these girls in action.

Incredibly impressed with Quincy High Sophomore Setter Maliah Blakemore, who will fill the shoes of All Stater India Green this season. Very poised, talented young lady.

Palmyra Softball star Katee Hinkle has also ended her recruiting drama. The Panther Three Sport star has given a verbal pledge to continue her career at Bowling Green.

Quincy High Freshman Alexis Petty has wasted little time in impressing on the Blue Devil Tennis Team. She won the Number One singles title at the Ottawa Invitational as the Blue Devils claimed their third straigth team title in that event. The Blue Devils also took first place at #2 Doubles behind Amy Dawson and Alyssa Daly.

After originally starting his career at Lindenwood-Belleville (as an early graduate during his senior season) Former Jacksonville standout Andy Mills has had a change of heart and opted to continue his football career at Illinois College. As a true Freshman, Mills appears at this point to be running number one on the depth chart at Defensive Back. Ex-Triopia star Brad Dinsmore is also back out for Football and playing at Illinois College after taking a year off.

Central High alum Nathan Knuffman has won outright all of the kicking duties for Western Illinois University and will make his debut Thursday night at home in the Leatherneck's opener with Hampton.

Fort Madison Tight End Wes Bernhardt is receiving Division One recruiting attention from a handful of Missouri Valley Schools, Western Illinois among them.





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