57
      Saturday
      66 / 50
      Sunday
      61 / 46
      Monday
      65 / 48

      Ignite the Night (Duerrisms for August 28th)

      One really fun week of the football in the books. Twelve more to go with Illinois and Iowa joining the party this week.

      Welcome to Duerrisms, where things are about to get real. Happy Labor Day weekend in advance my friends.

      For fans of this column, we are here for you every Thursday Morning when you awake. Thanks for all the kind words on the column as well as all your patronage. It means a lot and makes this labor of love feel worthwhile.

      If you love the Fall Sports season, I hope you are following along with us on Social Media, the most expedient way possible to get scores and information as it breaks. The Facebook fun happens here: https://www.facebook.com/KHQAChrisDuerr and for even more immediacy, follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ChrisDuerr Between the two media, we've got more than ten thousand folks already along for the ride in the Tri-State's most vibrant Social Media community; so don't miss out on any of the fun that goes along with the games themselves.

      GAME OF THE WEEK is getting a little tweaking this Fall. Stay tuned for your chance to win delicious Subway eats in a brand new way starting this Thursday and every Thursday at 6pm for your chance to win.

      And away we go....

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      FOOTBALL 2014

      SEVEN OBSERVATIONS FOR WEEK ONE

      1) Rarely is a loss the "whoa" moment of any given Football week. But Mark Twain going punch for punch with Westran qualifies, especially for a Tiger team playing so many youngsters. It just goes to underscore that the talent is arriving in Center. It's simply a matter of all these Sophomores figuring it all out at the Varsity Level. It's probably going to be a piecemeal process for a while. Great quarters followed by slight steps backwards. But by this time next year, Matt Hudson is positioned as nicely as any small school coach in Northeast Missouri. And for that matter, I am not sure I'd want to be a visiting Paris team this week either, just to be on the safe side.

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      2) Speaking of the Coyotes, heck of a coming out party this past Friday for Breck Hancock. The Paris Linebacker debuted with 10 tackles and 2 stops for loss in his team's win over Schuyler County. Did I mention the kid is a Ninth Grader?

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      3) Resist the urge to write off Knox County, Palmyra, South Shelby, and Scotland County too quickly. Those four teams caught monster Game One matchups against a host of tremendous head coaches and suffered for it accordingly. The potential is still very capably realized by all of those 0-1 teams. By the way, if you look up the word "serendipity" in the dictionary it's defined as "being able to coax Kent O'Laughlin into being your last second football hire" by Webster. Marceline has hit the jackpot. I suddenly find myself caring deeply about the outcome of The Bell Game and I have no vested stake, coverage or other. Brookfield/Marceline promises to be that darned good.

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      4) You''ll hear a lot of different takes from different people who weren't there on Saturday about Hannibal's win over MICDS: the rise of Shamar Griffith, the continued brilliance of Jerry McBride, the difficulty of the conditions et al. Here's the opinion of a guy that was there and lost six pounds in the sweltering heat: from start to finish, the single best Football Player on the field for that singular game was Hannibal's Dalton Overstreet. Offensively. Defensively. No single player was more relentless for four quarters, especially in the face of such miserable conditions. It started with his tremendous bail out catch for Touchdown on the games first drive and continued with his lockdown play in back. That's one super tough kid.

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      5) Too early to start championing David Kirby for Coach of the Year? Okay, yes but the amount of "get it" in Monroe City among players of all ages from this year to last is undeniably impressive. Friday's victory over Clark County was one of the most business-like we've seen from any team we saw on opening night; and this came, mind you, from a team that had a prior reputation for being up and down with its focus. If Friday wasn't just a bizarre one-off, Monroe City is going to be an incredibly hard out, especially at the Class 1 Level.

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      6) It's not easy to get seen on a Defense that already features hit parade producers of the caliber of Brandon Sontheimer, Bradley Burkhardt, and Skyler Thomas but don't sleep on Macon's "other" guy Nate Richardson. The Tiger Junior Rover had eight tackles on Friday and upon reviewing our post game tape, was seemingly everywhere against Palmyra. It's not like Pete Claas needed another weapon with which to suffocate and offense but like it or not, he may well have one.

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      7) Clopton-Elsberry's opened the season with an absolute beat down of Winfield and could go to a very tidy 2-0 with a win over North Shelby this week. IndianHawks Running Back Jeremey Jennewein may be my new "favorite name" for the 2014 season and contributed two rushing and one receiving touchdown to the effort on Friday.

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      THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN-YOUR FINEST WEEK ONE LUMINARIES

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      7) LOGAN ARMONTROUT, QB/DB, Centralia Panthers

      4 Carries, 51 Yards, 2 Rushing TD; 2 Interceptions vs Highland

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      6) TARIQ GARNER, RB, Monroe City Panthers

      17 Carries, 177 Yards, 2 TD vs Clark County

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      5) SHAMAR GRIFFITH, RB, Hannibal Pirates

      15 Carries, 130 Yards, 2 TD including Game Winner vs MICDS

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      4) ANTHONY CUPP, QB, Brookfield Bulldogs

      9 of 17 Passing, 243 Yards, 3 TD; 47 Yard Rushing TD vs South Shelby

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      3) ADAM HOLT, RB, Bowling Green Bobcats

      7 Carries, 144 Yards, 3 Rushing TD; 2 Receptions, 70 Yards, TD vs Louisiana

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      2) AUGUST HAYHURST, DL/OL, Paris Coyotes

      13 Tackles, 4 Stops for Loss, 2.5 QB Sacks, Pick Six Interception (30 yards) vs Schuyler County

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      YOUR KHQA PLAYER OF THE WEEK FOR AUGUST 22ND:

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      LUCAS ROBINSON, QB, VAN-FAR INDIANS

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      RATIONALE: Based on a combination of factors (early season ease of schedule/better surrounding talent/the kid's own skill set) we had pegged Lucas Robinson as arguably the area's best Quarterback sleeper back in June; a kid tucked away on a Van-Far club that has struggled mightily to ping radar in recent years. Friday's performance was certainly a tremendous pay off in our faith. As advertised, the kid can clearly tuck the football and run and he hit North Shelby with 236 yards of ground damage and four touchdowns on just six total carries. That's an average tote of 39 yards per rumble. I got a chance to watch Lucas run a little bit at the Monroe City Jamboree and clearly he is a kid not only with some explosiveness, but a good bit of strength and toughness running the football. He's surprising good through contact for a quarterback. That added benefit here is that Lucas was tremendously sharp throwing the football again on Friday, completing all but one of his eight passing attempts for eighty yards and a touchdown as well. For a program that was in need of traction, Friday's Robinson powered start could not have been better timed. And I think he and his Indian Teammates (don't sleep on rising Defensive guys Conner Albrecht, Anthony Fairchild, and Jamie Householder) have a legitimate shot to be 2-0 this time next week with a very winnable game coming Vandalia Friday against MMA. But until then, well done Good Sirs on creating some positive polarity for the program.

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      KHQA WEEK TWO POWER POLL

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      1) CENTRAL PANTHERS (0-0)

      Last Week: Idle

      Up Next: vs North Greene

      THE SKINNY: Certainly, not the easiest WIVC crossover game in the world for the Panthers to open with as North Greene has drawn near universal praise as the most intriguing "dark horse" in the South this season. It's a team with outsized toughness and physicality, which should give us an instant litmus test on those same qualities in the Panthers rebuilt Offensive and Defensive Lines. Again, all we've heard this off-season is how well those kids have responded; how tough they were in the weight room and how ready the new trench warriors in Camp Point were perfectly ready to step up. The time for talk is at an end and Friday the rest of us get to see just how hard/successfully these guys have worked on perfecting themselves to the goal of team greatness. If we are being honest, I think the Panthers produce no less then four new lynchpin kids over the next two weeks (gotta think Quarterback Ryan Freiburg is one of him after watching his workout in the Barnstorm Tour) and we quickly turning the page to this year's squad and its potential, rather than lamenting what was lost much longer. This week, against a legit opponent, is the perfect time to start that narrative.

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      2) HANNIBAL PIRATES (1-0)

      Last Week: 28-14 win at MICDS

      Up Next: at Helias (Saturday)

      THE SKINNY: Tremendously gutsy win for the Pirates on Saturday morning in Frontenac in conditions that weren't really fair to either team. The Heat Index during this game, hovered right at 104 degrees. The game was going to be stopped if it hit 105. And Hannibal somehow won this war of attrition essentially playing eighteen kids against an opponent with better numbers. Hard to remember seeing a team that looked more gassed than Hannibal did in the late second quarter. And to be honest, the Rams only Offensive Touchdown came against a Pirate unit that zero resistance left late in the first half. It was the only time all day a Pirate Defense that was otherwise stellar, looked mortal. And to me, that was the most encouraging thing about this win. Hannibal's defense, in hostile climes against a very good opponent, showed out. More to the point, it wasn't just the name kids. It was Eric Jones and Colten Brummell and Mika Taganeca and Colton Gottman who, in reality, outplayed some of their more known teammates (and more exhausted) and put legitimate teeth into this thing. MICDS simply could not move the football on these guys with any consistency. More to the point, Hannibal's D bowed its neck multiple times, with their backs up against the red zone and just kept delivering stops. And the most salient thing here is the resolve the Pirates showed in adversity, after getting hit with a potentially game changing (and unwarranted) pass interference call in the end zone, Hannibal got angry and never let the momentum grow. The Pirates responded with a goal line stand (forcing MICDS to turn the ball over on downs) and followed that up with another red zone stop before Shamar Griffith delivered the game winning score. We watched a good team grow up on Saturday. With every reason and opportunity to feel sorry for themselves, the Pirates never conceded and that has to bode well into the future. Beyond that, it was really hard to glean much more out of this game. Offensively, Hannibal's best drive was a two play affair late in the first half that came at the expense of a Rams Defense that was as gassed as the Pirates were. I mean, I love the potential of the Wyatt King/Shamar Griffith backfield but other than on a pounding, unsexy but effective opening drive, I don't think we ever saw either of these guys at the kind of Max-Q we will see them at under more optimal conditions. Jerry McBride, who I think might be the best weapon in Tri State Football, had as uneven an Offensive game as he had a brilliant Defensive one. And Austin Kirby's usually steady play and thought processes under center were even shaken by the heat. This wasn't elegant; nor was it an even remotely fair gauge on just how good any of these guys are on a normal night. But there's not a player on this team who didn't demonstrate an A+ force of will (be it mega-talent or glue guy) in getting this thing won and as Mark St Clair said following the ball game, he really could not have been prouder of a group of kids. And the same should probably be said of MICDS as well, which never stopped fighting either in losing a game that wasn't a "fair" stage to them either. Just a lot of gutty, super tough kids on both sides of the aisle. But in the end, Hannibal was just tough enough. And in so being, the Pirates position themselves incredibly well in guaranteeing at least a split of their horrific two-game opening slate. Play with the kind of heart they showed at MICDS and Hannibal is good enough to play with and beat anyone. Here's hoping they summon it again against Helias and create arguably the best head to head we will see in Northeast Missouri this year.

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      3) MACON TIGERS (1-0)

      Last Week: 21-0 win at Palmyra

      Up Next: vs MONROE CITY

      THE SKINNY: If Hannibal posted Week One's best road win, Macon's shutdown of Palmyra in the Flower City looms as a close second. Playing with a new starting quarterback (the very efficient Aaron Brown) and without their projected Franchise Tailback (Joe Lewis-team reasons) the Tigers showed a lot of grit, if not art, in grinding away at what is clearly still a very talent Panther Defense. Austen Harrison had a pair of hard scrabble touchdowns among his seven carries, but only 35 total yards rushing. And the Tigers as a whole netted just 54 ground yards. Which brings us back to Brown, who debuted in hostile climes by completing 10 of his 18 passes for 158 yards and touchdown on a night where clearly his contributions were paramount. Even if Macon had been able to use Lewis, I am not sure the Palmyra Defense is going to let anyone win a game this season via the ground. You have to be able to balance the attack to beat the Panthers and Brown's tidy effort and surprising poise were revealing and highly encouraging for the season ahead. Granted, it doesn't hurt to have Brendan Watts as a target, but take nothing away from Brown's approach and demeanor. One of the nicest surprises of Week One. What should not have been a surprise is the absolutely tremendous performance again of a Macon defense. Shutout. Five Quarterback Sacks. Three takeaways. And all of this comes mind you against a Palmyra team that by the end of September, will probably be very highly regarded for its Offensive Line Play. But on Friday, the Tigers made that unit look green and jittery and overmatched. Brandon Sontheimer is probably going to end up as your CCC Defensive Player of the Year and he's just such a center of gravity guy, it's hard to imagine anyone keeping him blocked. While Sontheimer had his typical dominant night (hard to believe he was only credited with nine tackles) it was the rise of Skyler Thomas that really caught our eye. Nine tackles and a pair of Quarterback Sacks may signal the rise of a new pillar on this already loaded defense. It's a very tight group that is just naturally brutish and physical. And on Friday, the Tiger Defense draws an opposing offense nearly tailor made to their strengths, as Macon looks horns with a Monroe City team that is going to line up and try to run the football over people. Granted, Monroe City looked sensational in doing exactly that against Clark County last week, with a veteran Panther line really shinning in front of Tariq Garner and the rising Logan Minter. But trying to run over Macon is a completely different level of hard, especially between that tackles and we may be poised to see one of the great battles of wills in Friday's bruise bowl. But until I see somebody actually have success against this Macon D on the ground, I am not betting against these guys; who are now my odds on favorites this season to lead the Tri-States in shutouts.

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      4) JACKSONVILLE CRIMSONS (0-0)

      Last Week: Idle

      Up Next: vs LANPHIER

      THE SKINNY: Considering the strength of their schedule, Jacksonville likely needs to be a very impressive 2-0 heading into their pivotal Week Three contest with SHG. The slate is set up nicely for a focused, sharp Crimson squad to be exactly that out of the gate. Look, I am not sure this is the most talented JHS team we've seen, but it seems to be the least flawed, both physically and mentally to this point. If the off-season is indicator, this squad is all about its own business and seemingly not nearly as prone to some of the emotionally peaks and valleys that withered some of Mark Grounds more mercurial teams. I also think this team is the most overtly physical we've seen, from starter one to eleven. I don't know that we will have any real gauge on just how good this Defense is until after SHG week but from everything I've seen and heard, this group is as sharp as we may have in the Tri States this season and driven to punish. I suspect these first two weeks will be rather impressive sparring sessions for the JAX defense to that end, even as others dismiss them as being the product of playing lesser CS8 foes. And that's fine. The Crimson themselves know better than anyone the rubric they are graded on and the past failings they will be judged upon in Conference until they forcibly overturn the apple cart themselves. Maybe feeling a little disrespect, overlooked, and undervalued is the X-factor that puts them over the top come Week Three. In the interim, we will simply enjoy the highlight carnage and the build.

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      5) QUINCY HIGH BLUE DEVILS (0-0)

      Last Week: Idle

      Up Next: vs EAST MOLINE

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      THE SKINNY: If history has taught us anything, dating back to his days at Routt, Jason Kirby knows how to build a program. So while it would be hard to imagine the Panthers, who haven't had a winning season since 2001, showing up at Flinn Stadium on Friday and completely reversing thirteen years of mediocrity in a single summer, it's not a stretch to think this East Moline squad will be thornier then what Quincy High has been accustomed to in recent years. The fact that UT Basketball lynchpins Jerry Myles and Lamont Mitchell are playing football this year (apparently both at Wide Receiver, per the Marc Nesseler of the Dispatch/Argus) certainly has to be an indicator that Coach Kirby is accelerating the growth of his program. So there may be just a smidgen of trap game potential here; largely based on the idea that while we think we know the talent base in play here (very, very good) we as yet have no idea as to the psyche of this particular Blue Devil team just yet. There is no body of work to draw from. Do these guys pick up where last years QHS team left off and re-adopt a mentality that led to what Rick Little termed the best ten quarters of football (that stretch from the start of the Richwoods Game through the First Quarter of the Providence Catholic loss) of his career? Or is this team different in approach, mentality, and focus? This is a game Quincy High is expected to win and win big. I think we learn a lot more about this squads ceiling based on what we see in terms of approach. If the Devils, with this balanced talent pool, put boot to throat on UT from Play One through whenever it is the starters come off the field, I won't envy any team on the Blue Devils schedule.

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      6) ILLINI WEST CHARGERS (0-0)

      Last Week: Idle

      Up Next: ROCKFORD CHRISTIAN

      RATIONALE: My favorite quip from the entire Barnstorm Tour came from IW Assistant Coach Zak Huston. In making note of the irony that both his Chargers and the QND Raiders would be opening their seasons in the city of Rockford this weekend...and that his kids would be riding "Old Yellow" north, Zak inquired of me as to whether I would ask Bill Connell if the Chargers could "tag along" on the Raiders Charter Bus. It's actually an idea with incredible merit. Come on. Who wouldn't want to be a fly on the bus wall listening in on Bill Connell and Lyle Klein seated together for four hours? But I digress. The Royal Lions of Rockford Christian are coming off a winless 2013 campaign (one in which they surrendered an average of 46 points per game) and are now tasked with the unenviable job of trying to corral the fastest team in Tri State Football on Night One, against a system that is hard enough to defend if you see it every week. This isn't going to be pretty.

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      7) CENTRALIA PANTHERS (1-0)

      Last Week: 42-6 win over Highland

      Up Next: at CLARK COUNTY

      THE SKINNY: The Panthers opened impressively in dropping 35 first quarter points on a young Highland squad before Erle Bennett took his foot off the accelerator. As advertised, the Panthers are gigantic and physical in the trenches and the Ethan Leighton/Logan Armontrout star turns came predictably on cue. We saw the star quality in flashes from Leighton last year as a battering ram option in the run game and he delivered three touchdowns on just eight carries at Highland's expense. Granted, this was a Highland defense that is going to need some time to find itself but I suspect such shows of force from Centralia's emerging Franchise Back are not going to be an isolated incident. He's the ideal combination of physical and just fast enough; the kind of kid any rational defender hates to have to deal with. Late start in Centralia cost us highlights, but I am told that Armontrout has looked really sharp at Quarterback and that his ability to run the football (4 carries, 51 yards, 2 TD vs Highland) is "special." I suspect the Panthers will see more resistance Friday in Kahoka, provided Jacob Trump is healthy, but its hard to imagine many teams being able to stand up to brutish ground profile this Centralia team presents. Again, no video to glean from this week, but I did see that Korbyn Steffen had a pick six interception and Armontrout had a pair of picks in the offing. Hard to say what read we will get on the Panther Defense this week with Clark County nursing major injury issues with starting Quarterback Collin McKee (neck) and Feature Back Jacob Trump (concussed) both in question for this week. By the same token, Clark County Coach Scott Murdock is among the most clever improvisers in our region and even short-handed, if there is a flaw in the Centralia Defense to be exposed, you can expect it to get attention this week from the Indians. By the same token, I don't envy Clark County this Monroe City/Centralia back-to-back draw; which given the physical nature of both teams, is like fighting Ken Norton and George Foreman back-to-back in their primes.

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      THE NEXT LEVEL

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      8) BROWN COUNTY HORNETS (0-0)

      Have spent much of this week lamenting that the Hornets have to open on the road at Greenfield-Northwestern, because I think this expected slobber-knocker would have been an incredibly entertaining, if not for the faint of heart Game of the Week. See also last years 8-6 thriller to open the season in Mount Sterling. Brown County's outlier strength this season is Offensive and Defensive Line play. And that is their distinct advantage this week in a contest with a Tiger program that has graduated a host of starters, particularly up front. There may be no more telling debut this week. The Hornets are a team that, if the pieces fall right, top this list in November. Zero glamour, all grit. But there is a lot to be said for Blue Collar and punishing in the WIVC North.

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      9) BOWLING GREEN BOBCATS (1-0)

      We see you Adam Holt. Making us look all smart and all for pegging you as the most dangerous X-Factor in the Player of the Year race. Four touchdowns and 214 All-Purpose yards on just nine touches will do that for you. And BG clearly has found good complimentary weapons in Drew Jacyna and Kaeden Jenkins, to go along with rising QB Jacob Niemeyer. There was, however, a bit of an undercurrent to the Bobcats lopsided 47-14 Mayor's Cup win over Louisiana. The Bobcats still gave up a lot of rushing yards to a Louisiana team that couldn't seem to stop shooting itself in the foot with turnovers. Considering the the Bobcats struggles last season, that is a bit worrisome still. Jeff Gschwender's crew could really answer a lot of questions and legitimize itself completely this weekend with a high value win over Palmyra. Another game on the slate that absolutely fascinates me this week.

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      10) QUINCY NOTRE DAME RAIDERS (1-0)

      The Raiders return essentially one full time and three part time starters from their 2013 Defense. They test that unit against arguably the best Running Back in the state of Illinois this week in returning First Team All Stater James Robinson, who has already rushed for 3877 yards and 66 touchdowns in his Freshman and Sophomore year campaigns. Methinks we find out an awful lot, very quickly about how good this Raider Defense is right out of the gate. We are also going to get a nice read on the Raider Offense, as any foe with game tape is going to defy anyone other than Daylan Anders to beat them. In that spirit, Coach Connell told the Quincy Exchange club on Friday that Senior Max Venverltoh would be the likely Quarterback starter for Game One.

      By the way, Bill Connell as told the Exchange Club this past Monday he had a hot tip on a potential Week Nine opponent and told me last week that he found a pair of Florida teams that seemingly had scheduled the same foe and was in contact with both. When asked if he would legitimately consider a Florida trip to get an extra game, Bill's response was "you're darned right. If we have to get on a bus and travel 20 hours and then 20 hours back, then we will do it." So just something to keep in mind here looking forward, if the playoff math does/doesn't start to make sense.

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      11) PARIS COYOTES (1-0)

      Here's what you like about Opening Night for Gary Crusha's group: the Coyotes won (and won big) without their good offensive fastball at Schuyler County's expense. In the humidity, Kyle Popkes could barely grip the football to sling it like he usually does (still ended up 16 of 29 for 2 TD and 197 yards) and the Paris run game was a bit hit and miss blocking for Tucker Gruber (14 carries, 80 yards, 2 TD) So what does this say? That the Paris Defense is legitimately bolstered. And it starts with incredible Line Player. Briar Hancock had 19 tackles to lead his team on Friday. August Hayhurst had thirteen, four stops for loss, three quarterback sacks and a pick six interception of 30 yards. If these guys continue that kind of withering assault up front, who knows how good this may be? Fantastic matchup coming Friday in Center with a rising Twain squad awaiting.

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      12) TRIOPIA TROJANS (0-0)

      The Trojans struggled mightily with Pleasant Hill/Western's size in a Game One upset last Fall. The Wolves haven't gotten any smaller. We've heard a lot about how much better this talented but mercurial group of Trojans have answered the bell this Summer. Now it's time to see if it translates to game night, on the road, with the tone for an entire season in balance.

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      13) KEOKUK CHIEFS (1-0)

      Lightning cost us our chance to see the Chiefs under live fire on Saturday as Keokuk's scrimmage with Burlington got scrubbed. So we will just have to settle for Game of the Week treatment at Calvert Stadium against Central Lee to see how legit these guys may be moving forward.

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      14) MONROE CITY PANTHERS (1-0)

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      The week's highest riser after putting together the kind of brutish, physical beating that brought to mind some of the old Dale Labuary coached teams. Re: Logan Minter. Told you so. The Panthers didn't do much fancy on Offense and really didn't need to, pairing their stellar young Fullback with proven star Tariq Garner behind an Offensive Line that played as well as any we saw last week. Toss in a little Taylor Birt special teams magic and you have the recipe for a really impressive win over a quality foe. These were the kinds of maddening games that some more recent MC teams had found a way to lose. This group appears to have figured it out and thusly has a real shot of, at the very least, laying some really good leather on a gifted Macon team on Friday.

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      15) SOUTH SHELBY CARDINALS (0-1)

      Brookfield may be the single best small school team in our region and Nile Thudium's Bulldogs clearly caught the Cardinals on the chin from the bell with the vastly improved passing skills of Anthony Cupp. A shell shocked South squad then fumbled away a punt for a safety and it all quickly devolved from there. The Cardinals won't be the first or last team Brookfield does this to this season. Rob Wilt's crew just needs to turn the page quickly, but they won't find easy sledding in Louisiana against a Bulldog squad that is still kicking itself for the self-induced issues that cost it a chance to be competitive with Bowling Green. Neither one of these teams came really afford to be 0-2 from a psyche standpoint...

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      16) PALMYRA PANTHERS (0-1)

      Palmyra looked really green on Offense last week, but I suspect getting away from a uber-stingy Macon defense will cure some of those ills moving forward. As will a week of needed experience. This week, the onus falls on John Kliewer's Blackshirts. Bowling Green is riding sky high off Week One and virtually scored at will on Louisiana. Can the Panthers keep Adam Holt and company under wraps enough to pull this one off on the road? Winless into September is not a place that Panthers want to be.

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      WORTH WATCHING

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      17) WEST CENTRAL COUGARS (0-0)

      18) CLOPTON-ELSBERRY INDIANHAWKS (1-0)

      19) PITTSFIELD SAUKEES (0-0)

      20) BEARDSTOWN TIGERS (0-0)

      21) CLARK COUNTY INDIANS (0-1)

      22) SCOTLAND COUNTY TIGERS (0-1)

      23) FORT MADISON BLOODHOUNDS (0-0)

      24) KNOX COUNTY EAGLES (0-1)

      25) PLEASANT HILL/WESTERN WOLVES (0-0)

      26) VAN-FAR INDIANS (1-0)

      27) MARK TWAIN TIGERS (0-1)

      28) MACOMB BOMBERS (0-0)

      29) RUSHVILLE/INDUSTRY ROCKETS (0-0)

      30) UNITY/PAYSON MUSTANGS (0-0)

      31) LOUISIANA BULLDOGS (0-1)

      32) WEST HANCOCK TITANS (0-0)

      33) BWP SPARCLONES (0-0)

      32) NORTH SHELBY RAIDERS (0-1)

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      FEARLESS DUERR PREDICTIONS FOR WEEK TWO

      Week One Performance: 9-1 (90%)

      Overall Performance: 9-1 (90%)

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      THE PICKS:

      ILLINOIS

      QND 14

      ROCKFORD LUTHERAN 22

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      EAST MOLINE 7

      QUINCY HIGH 35

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      LANPHIER 6

      JACKSONVILLE 42

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      ILLINI WEST 49

      ROCKFORD CHRISTIAN 0

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      WEST HANCOCK 12

      SOUTH FORK 18

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      MACOMB 8

      BARTONVILLE LIMESTONE 14

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      PITTSFIELD 20

      VARNA MIDLAND 28

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      NORTH GREENE 12

      CENTRAL 40

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      BROWN COUNTY 21

      GREENFIELD-NW 6

      TRIOPIA 18

      PLEASANT HILL/WESTERN 13

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      ROUTT 6

      CALHOUN 28

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      UNITY 14

      WEST CENTRAL 28

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      BWP 21

      BIGGSVILLE WEST CENTRAL 30

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      BEARDSTOWN 18

      SOUTH FULTON 14

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      HAVANA 20

      R/I 14

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      IOWA

      CENTRAL LEE 8

      KEOKUK 24

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      FORT MADISON 30

      WB/ND 35

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      MISSOURI

      HANNIBAL 14

      HELIAS 24

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      CENTRALIA 35

      CLARK COUNTY 13

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      PALMYRA 14

      BOWLING GREEN 23

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      MONROE CITY 12

      MACON 21

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      BROOKFIELD 42

      HIGHLAND 7

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      SOUTH SHELBY 40

      LOUISIANA 22

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      PARIS 28

      MARK TWAIN 20

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      KNOX COUNTY 15

      SCOTLAND COUNTY 22

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      NORTH SHELBY 7

      CLOPTON-ELSBERRY 44

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      MMA 14

      VAN-FAR 38

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      RANDOM MUSINGS

      Former Macomb star Nick Severs will enter Iowa State's season opener against North Dakota State listed second on the depth chart at Center. Nick is currently a Redshirt Freshman.

      Fellow Bomber alum Brett Taylor is listed second on the WIU Depth Chart at Middle Linebacker in advance of Thursday's home opener with Valpo. QND's Eddy Holtschlag is currently listed as the Leathernecks starter at one Defensive End positon, with twin brother Chip as his backup.

      Got a chance to watch Culver Stockton's football scrimmage with Coe last Saturday, but unfortunately, Clark County alum and current Kohawk Junior Seth Williams didn't dress out due to injury. I can tell you, however, the Wildcat's First Team Defense was very impressive in it's eight play cameo.

      When Illinois College opens under the newly installed lights at England Field next Saturday, expect to see a new role for former Routt star Michael Tonry, who appears slated to move from his Tailback position to slot receiver, to make better use of his ability in space. It's also appears as of this writing that former Triopia star Blake Richardson is in the mix for the Blueboys at Linebacker as a potential starter; or at the very least as a reserve who will see reps this season.

      The Illinois College Basketball team just missed out on Monroe City star Kyle Fulton this past spring, but don't expect that to deter the Blueboys from continuing to work the recruiting circuit hard for talent West of the Mississippi this Winter. I am told the IC reliably that Palmyra's Trevor Meny, Highland's Austin Richmiller, and Macon's Jon Murray are among a host of prospects that the Blueboy staff sees great value in.

      Congratulations to new Hannibal Volleyball Coach Kelsey Ortwerth, who opened her career in victorious fashion on Tuesday in leading a young Lady Pirate squad to a straight games victory over Columbia Hickman. The program is in good hands, it appears.

      Fast start for the very athletic Illini West Volleyball program already this season at 2-0 with an impressive win over Central. The Chargers tend to get a little overshadowed by the Southeasterns and West Prairies of the world up north but it looks like IW is going to be a very difficult team to contend with. Love the hitting power here with Jenna Bryan and Aubrie Carlisle really starting to come into their own.

      Quality comeback road win this week for the very talented Highland Softball team, which rallied back from a 3-0 deficit to a loaded Bowling Green team to pull off the 4-3 victory. After giving up early runs, Avery Johnson settled in to claim the win (10 K) and had the game tying RBI in the sixth inning. Credit the talented Miss Karley Smith with your Game Winning RBI here.

      Knox County's Lauren Dale is already back up to her old tricks. The Lady Eagle ace fashioned a no-hitter on Tuesday at Novinger's expense over five innings and recorded 14 of her team's 15 outs as K's.

      With your indulgence, a couple of personal notes this week. On a Joyous Front, congratulations to one of the area's best coaches and leader of young people, Reno Pinkston on his recent engagement. I know it sounds cliche, but the West Hancock skipper has clearly out-kicked his coverage and I hope you will join with me in wishing Reno and Mari every happiness going forward.

      Our deepest condolences this week to a couple of really great people experiencing personal loss. Our heartfelt prayers to former Quincy High Basketball standout Bryce Bushmeyer and his wife Callie on the loss of their infant son Roman. And back here on the home front, blessings to my co-worker, the great Carol Sowers and her family, after the loss of her delightful mother Esther this week at the age of 97. Esther was one of the sweetest people in the world and Heaven is a richer place for her presence. Please keep these folks in your prayers.

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