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Bandwagonesque (Duerrisms for the Week of August 25th)

Star turns from Macon's new backfield duo of Nash Waller and Kevin Edwards were one of the many bright spots of Week One of the Missouri High School Football season. 

Greetings everybody and Welcome to DUERRISMS for the Week of August 25th where we are just thrilled as can be to have survived the Eclipse Apocalypse. Can only hope Bonnie Tyler is somewhere living on royalty checks and giving off sparks.

It’s is my great pleasure this week to welcome in the good folks at SLEEP TIGHT as our new title sponsor for both DUERRISMS and OVERTIME here at KHQA. We are thrilled to have them aboard. If you’ve ever driven past the video marquee in front of their Broadway Store in Quincy, you are well away of the tremendous support Kevin Conry and company give local teams and athletes. And clearly this is one more demonstration of that devotion to community. Remember that there are two ways to business in this world: you can profit by a community or you can profit WITH a community. SLEEP TIGHT’s support of your kids and communities is clearly the latter. Be sure to reward that commitment not just with your thanks, but with your business. Our first act in celebration of our new patrons is launching the SLEEP TIGHT SLEEPER Award in this column, a weekly celebration now of the biggest hidden hero on the Friday Night Grid or Hardcourt.

A wild Week One is in the books and hopefully the KHQA Sports Team has all the bad travel karma out of our system after our Murphy’s Law Friday Night. In actuality, we only really lost highlights for two of the games we had planned for you because of blown tires and weather delays, and both of those turned out to be blowout losses for area teams against non-area foes. Survive and advance, right? It’s time to welcome Western Illinois and Southeast Iowa to the Pigskin Party and we’ve got a really entertaining slate of games for you in Week Two. We will pack whatever we can into SPORTS FINAL on Friday. Whatever else we need cover after that, we will do so in extended form on OVERTIME on Saturday Night at 10:30pm; taking full advantage of the luxury of having a 30 minute wrap up show at our disposal.

Hope you had a chance to catch the 2017/2018 debut of the MCDONALD’S MORNING TICKET on WTAD Radio (930AM) or on the WTAD.com simulcast on Saturday Morning. Excited to be the host this year of such a fun radio project and we were blessed to be joined by three great guests last weekend in Travis Cook, Jackson Connell, and Mark St Clair. You will find us there every Saturday morning from now until the Spring talking local sports. If you want to sleep in, you can find the podcast of the show on line at WTAD.com and listen at your leisure. We plan on keeping it fun and fresh and taking full advantage of the format and the freedom that long form radio allows us to get indepth with the coaches and players who fuel the best local sports storylines. Again, thanks to Greg Shierling and McDonald’s at 13th and Broadway and Mike Moyers and the great folks at WTAD Radio for all their support of local athletes and our local communities. I will be posting this week’s guest list on Twitter and Facebook every Thursday so you can plan your schedule accordingly.

Getting lots of questions on voting on Facebook for our Player of the Week Polls. For some reason, the Facebook Poll Options aren’t compatible with all browsers. So if you would like to participate in the process, you will probably need to experiment with changing your browser to something more current; like Google Chrome. Sorry for the inconvenience, folks.

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FOOTBALL 2017

Seven Takeaways from Week One of the High School Football Season

1)As evidenced by my awful showing in Fearless predictions this week, your humble Sports Director fell prey to one of the classic blunders. The first is never get involved in a land war in Asia. The second, only slightly less known, is this: never read too much into team performances in Jamboree Setting. Both Hannibal and Mark Twain looked like completely different squads on Friday Night in posting high caliber road wins in the City of Jefferson and at Milan, respectively. Last Friday Night in America’s Hometown, the Pirate Defense couldn’t stop anyone. And the Twain run game was virtually non-existent. Apparently, both got plenty of attention to detail in practice this week, which is exactly the value of Northeast Missouri Dress Rehearsal Night. Good Coaches like Mark St Clair and Karl Asbury benefit from getting these types of issues exposed by real competition and make their teams better. Certainly seems like the kind of proposition that would benefit our friends East of the Mississippi as well, but I just can’t see the IHSA ever buying in on that concept, sadly.

2)Raise your hand if you picked the Clopton/Elsberry vs Louisiana showdown in the Hills of Clarksville as the most entertaining and exciting showdown of Week One? Me either. The Bulldogs came within three minutes of ending their current, now 31 game losing streak, seeing a 38 all game slide the IndianHawks way in the final two-plus minutes. If Louisiana people needed any further convincing that an escape to the EMO Conference might be in the best long term interest of their kids and their program, consider this game your “smoking gun” evidence that the playing field for the Bulldogs is clearly more level outside the weekly war zone that is the CCC.

3)Clark County’s improvement over last season is no mirage. The Indians gave Monroe City everything it wanted on Friday in a 44-36 loss to the Class 1 State Runner-Up. Clark rolled up 310 yard of total offense, displaying far better balance than a year ago with nearly 130 on the ground and 187 through the air in Ethan Allen’s smartly tweaked spread system. Zeb Riney’s presence proved a revelation in the passing game (4 catches, 102 yards, 1 TD) and London Brunk (pair of interceptions aside) has settled nicely into his role in year two as the maestro of the offense. There won’t be be many defenses anywhere that stop Monroe City this season and Clark did itself no favors in kicking to Zac Osborn (two return TD) That established, anyone who doesn’t think this revamped Clark squad is a player at the top of the Cannon Food Chain, dismisses the Indians at their own peril.

4)SLEEP TIGHT “SLEEPER” PERFORMER OF THE WEEK: Macon Defensive Tackle Tyrone Hicks. Playing next to Shane Levett/Jeffrey Smoot/Tynan Mitchell isn’t exactly the most auspicious environment to pad tackle stats but Hicks was hard to miss in the interior scrum that was the Tiger’s suffocating interior run defense. He made the first two tackles of the game against Palmyra and stripped away a fumble, that his teammates could not recover. After going back to look at our video, he was constantly around the football on a night where the Tiger Front Seven turned gang tackling into high art. At 5’6” and 250 pounds his low center of gravity serves him well but I was impressed with just how hard he was working, play after play in that first Quarter. He made not get the credit of some of his more celebrated teammates but his effort and strength in caving in Palmyra’s offensive line was invaluable to that victory.

5)Coaching Landmarks on Friday: Congratulations to Van-Far Boss Kevin Baldwin, who picked up career win 100 in the Indians impressive route of Missouri Military Academy. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, kudos as well to Knox County’s Bruce Vannoy; long-time assistant who picked up his first career “W” in the Eagles hard-scrabble defeat of Schuyler County. As well as the colorful Jim Newsted, who proved that Centralia isn’t going anywhere in the post-Erle Era with a most impressive 1st Career win at Highland’s expense.

6)Macon’s Defense is special. Marceline is loaded. And rebuilding is a gradual, not immediate process. Please accept these 15 words as my concise attempt to simultaneously talk Palmyra, Scotland County, and Bowling Green fans off the Week One “Overreaction Ledge.”

7)The numbers game is clearly not in their favor, but I do think it a positive sign that the Paris Coyotes got four of their six touchdowns on Friday against Harrisburg from two Sophomores and Freshman. Sophomore Kaison Berrey had a pair of scoring tallies and 64 rushing yards on 16 totes. Classmate Mac Balasdenski, one of my very favorite finds last Fall, lived every lineman’s dream and pounced on a fumble in the end zone for a score. (Mac also posted a team high three tackles for loss on the night.) And Freshman Reese Barton rushed for 32 yards and score on just three touches. In a program that is now teetering right around 19 total healthy players for 11 man football, invigorating the Ninth and Tenth Graders could have wide ranging value in growing the sport at a time when this once proud program looks more than a little vulnerable.

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THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN-Our Salute to the Top Performers of Week One

7)TREY OWENS, RB/LB-CENTRALIA

4 Carries, 80 Yards, 2 TD, 8 Tackles vs Highland

6)HAYDEN MILLER, RB-KNOX COUNTY

22 Carries, 186 Rushing Yards, 2 TD vs Schuyler County

5)DAYTON METTES, RB-NORTH SHELBY

7 Carries, 98 Rushing Yards, 4 TD vs Northwestern

4)BRECK HANCOCK, QB/LB-PARIS

26 Carries, 172 Yards Rushing, 2 TD; 3 of 5 Passing for 32 Yards; 8 Tackles, 3 TFL vs Harrisburg

3)CODY MCKENZIE, RB-SOUTH SHELBY

31 Carries, 198 yards, 3 TD; 8 Tackles, 2 TFF vs Brookfield

2)WILL WHITAKER, WR-HANNIBAL

4 Catches, 138 Yards, TD vs Helias

1)ZAC OSBORN, RB-MONROE CITY

15 Carries, 157 Yards, 1 Rushing TD; 2 Punt Return TD of 98, 65 yards vs Clark County

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KHQA PLAYER OF THE WEEK-AS VOTED BY YOU THE FANS ON OUR SPORTS FACEBOOK PAGE

KEVIN CAMPBELL, RB, HANNIBAL PIRATES

You voted, we listened. Though I would argue you could make a valid case for about a half dozen Pirates given the outcome Friday Night in the City of Jefferson. Huge show of fortitude. Ridiculously impressive Offensive Onslaught that produced 300 rushing yards and an eye-popping 263 passing yards in route to nearly 600 yards of total offense. When did Mark St Clair morph into Don Coryell? Hey, whatever gets you the win, I suppose. The fleet of foot Mr Campbell led his team in rushing with 100 yards on 9 carries, two of which netted late touchdowns to polish off the comeback. We saw flashes in the jamboree of just how electric Kevin can be when you get him out in his space, as his feet dart a bit like hummingbird’s wings. Just a constant blur of chopping feet and direction change. He’s really nimble and darting. And in that sense, I have come to think of the Hannibal running game as kind of a variation of the Augustana Wing-T. Not in construct or appearance mind you. But notice how Mark St Clair is exploiting his arsenal of running backs. You get one look from Billy Smashey. A different profile and type of performance from JaQuez MacGruder. Kevin Campbell gives you Wing-Back Feel with his skill set. These guys are all now maybe 10 carry a night propositions. And just when you think you have a bead on one, the Pirates are trotting a different kind of weapon out into the backfield to trying to change the view. Heck, to some degree, St Clair is even doing that a bit with Quarterback in swapping Gabe Worthington for Wyatt Waelder when the vibe hits him. I’ve never seen a Hannibal Offense with more moving pieces. And last week’s win is proof it works. No selfishness. Different “heroes” nightly. As long as the wins flow, what more can you ask. This week Kevin Campbell gets to wear the mantle and good for him. He’s a guy who has waited in the wings for his turn and is now maximizing the window. And talking to him this Summer, you get the sense his buy-in is high and his self-confidence is really starting to kick in, in the best possible way. Hard not to root for a kid like that.

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FOOTBALL 2018

KHQA PIGSKIN POWER POLL FOR WEEK TWO

1)WEST HANCOCK TITANS (0-0)

LAST WEEK: IDLE

THE DEBUT: at Putnam County

TITAN TALES: Fun fact: The Titans won’t play an opponent from the state of Illinois until facing Quincy Notre Dame on September 22. Does that feel problematic to anyone else? Perhaps to any of the fine people in Bloomington at the IHSA Home Offices?? This scheduling thing that has arisen out of the breakdown of the West Central Conference is pretty darn inelegant. Maybe Travis Cook should petition MSHSAA for “annexation” and try to compete for a trip to the Show-Me Bowl. The upshot here is that we are going to get a fabulously interesting West Hancock/Clark County showdown out of the deal in a couple of weeks. The rest of the Missouri portion of the Titan’s schedule? Meh. Week One opponent Putnam County got off to a good strong start at Hallsville’s expense, going up 14-0 on Friday before giving up 33 unanswered points in an eventual loss. Word is that the Midgets do have a Quarterback who could test the Titan Secondary in Levi Fowler, but this feels like a game West Hancock has a very good chance to put to bed early if the Titans attend their business. Hard to get a proper read on the Titans Week Two foe Miller Career Academy yet. The Phoenix gave up nearly 70 points in their opener. By the same token, that opener came against traditional powerhouse CBC, a Class 6 school. That’s kind of like the Titans playing Jefferson City. Career Academy was ranked ninth by the St Louis Post-Dispatch among city small school programs to open the season and has fashioned a 66-22 record over the last eight years, including a State Semifinals appearance in 2016. The also come with a much touted Offensive Line that returns three starters from last year’s playoff run. On paper, it looms as a very big test and a scheduling upgrade. By the same token: 69 points surrendered to anyone gives you pause. West Hancock follows that up with Clark County, who looked dynamic and dangerous in a loss to Monroe City. And finally, the Titans end their three game tour of the Show-Me State by returning to Warsaw to face Schuyler County in the home opener; a team that did a very credible job defending everyone on the field in Edina on Friday not named Hayden Miller in a 16-8 loss. Bottom line, there’s not a lot of easy to be found here and if the Titans don’t get off to a sharp start Friday, this is a team that could very easily find itself 2-2 heading into the QND rematch. With four road games in the first five weeks; three of them in really tough places, this will be an interesting test of a very talented Titan team’s resolve, discipline and maturity. There’s been plenty of hype heaped on here after last year’s stellar season. Time now to see how these guys handle the mantle.

2)MONROE CITY PANTHERS (1-0)

LAST WEEK: 44-36 win at Clark County

UP NEXT: vs Macon

TALE OF THE TITLETOWN TAPE: Speaking of large targets: Monroe City discovered first-hand the pressure that comes from being “the hunted” rather than “the hunter.” The Clark County Indians, who were so very impressive in the Friday Night Jamboree at Hannibal, picked up right where they left off on an emotional night in Kahoka (new stadium improvements unveiling) and came out of the locker room throwing punches with Vasyl Lomachenko precision and in fact scoring the first points of the night on a Zeb Riney 44 yard touchdown reception. What’s the old Mike Tyson-ism? Everyone has a plan…until they get hit. To their credit, the Monroe City kids proved there ain’t no “chandelier jaws” on this roster. The Panthers rose to the fight and matched Clark County’s new found explosiveness (hat’s off to you London Brunk; that was a heck of a game dude) with an return volley of firepower of their own. Better than 400 yards of total offense of their own, not to mention those two field tilting Zac Osborn punt returns (98 yards in the first quarter, 85 yards in the third) that actually spelled the final difference in the game. All that talk all us media types did in the preseason open Monroe City’s Offensive Line strength? That was no idle chatter. The Panthers amassed 330 rushing yards from among seven different backs. Osborn led the way with 157 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns. Cole Pennewell added another 70 between the tackles. And all of this came against a Clark County defense that is a far better and more experience entity than it was a year ago. This was a big show of force from the enterity of the Monroe Offense. It doesn’t get a lot of play among all of the other flash here but Blake Hays completed all five of his passes on Friday Night. Not a single one of those strikes netted a touchdown of their own accord, but that accuracy proved to be incredibly clutch in helping Monroe City hang on to the football (and conversely not allowing the Indians to do more damage) And when Clark bowed its neck and scored fourteen unanswered points in the late third/early fourth quarterback to roared back to within eight points, that much vaunted Panther secondary shut down the oxygen on Brunk’s passing night when it mattered most. Bottom line, it was a very good team win. Certainly not a perfect performance but a game that David Kirby can spin forward and derive great value. His team was tested; exposed even in some respects and can now be mended and bettered in those areas. Interestingly, however, the challenge facing Monroe in Week Two is of a completely different ilk; and thusly another chance for Monroe to show its volition. Macon’s run defense against Palmyra on Friday was nothing short of sublime, holding the Panthers to just 70 ground yards on 28 attempts. That’s a paltry 2.5 yards per carry average and Jeffrey Smoot spent the night making Palmyra’s young and smallish Offensive Line look concave. Monroe’s Body Guards are a little different animal and we will not see a better one-on-one matchup this Fall anywhere than Jonathon Saxbury vs Smoot on the nose of the football Friday Night. We are talking All Stater vs All Stater, tearing into each other over six inches of carpet at Lankford Field that will either make one team’s bid for victory…or destroy the others. And here’s the thing we learned about Macon on Friday. Smoot and Shane Levett remain the catalysts for destruction on this Tiger Defense, but they ain’t showing up alone. The tenacity with which that Macon front barged its way into the Palmyra backfield on every play and the pursuit speed to the edge (looking at you in particular Kendrick Waddle and Tynan Mitchell)

Is most impressive. Let’s not also forget that Macon rolled up 357 yards on Friday and unleashed new Quarterback Nash Waller to great effect. If the Tigers had not turned the ball over five times, Friday’s victory might have looked even shinier. Make no mistake, Monroe is in for another war on Friday Night against the Defending Cannon Champs. In a week of great games, this might be the most intriguing on the slate.

3) BEARDSTOWN TIGERS (0-0)

LAST WEEK: IDLE

THE DEBUT: vs Pleasant Hill/Western

THE STRIPE STORY: A New Hope or a serious overhype job? We will find out for certain on Friday as the much-touted Tigers take on a Pleasant Hill/Western squad generating plenty of darkhorse buzz of its own. You know the deal. Robbi Howard’s crew returns the best “on paper” scenario in Tri-State Football with twenty-one starters back, the most athletic small school talent in Western Illinois in Pascal Guilavogui, a gigantic Offensive Line, and arguably the best Linebacker Corps in the WIVC, if not the entire Eastern Side of the Mississippi in our region. That established, the Tigers Defense was not particularly stingy last season and has to prove it has matured into a more proficient, better across-the-board tackling unit. The Wolves pose one heck of a physical test, especially with the transfer of West Central’s Justin Shireman adding to a Defense that is already loaded with quality Defensive End/Linebacker options. The Wolves pose very specific threats that hit Beardstown at areas of 2016 weakness. Dalton Crane is an experienced, savvy Quarterback who can find the open receiver in the spread. Granted PHill’s spread is not nearly an approximation of Dunker/Miller; but see also how mightily B’Town struggled with Unity/Payson’s ability to unravel the Tiger secondary when multiple receiving threats emerged. And just as importantly, the Shireman/Kodiak Rogers backfield threats are not exactly fun or easy guys to tackle. Those are dudes who can absolutely trample a defender who exhibits the least bit of reticence to contact. You better to want to hit if those are the guys in the crosshairs because they are just as libel to lay you out for the attempt. I don’t know think this is the best game on on our schedule, but it might be the most telling. About both clubs. And it could seriously legitimize one or may be even both of these preseason rankings darlings.

4)CENTRALIA PANTHERS (1-0)

LAST WEEK: 44-8 win at Highland

HOME DEBUT: vs Clark County

ALL THE NEWSTED THAT IS FIT TO PRINT: Nearly twenty years after joining the Centralia staff and becoming one of the preeminent Line Gurus in the State of Missouri, Jim Newsted has career coaching victory Number One on the resume. And appropriately enough, it turned out to be an exercise in “best line wins” against Highland. Defensively, the Panthers held the Cougars to negative seven rushing yards and got big nights from both Gus Stidham (eight tackles) and hard-hitting speedster Trey Owens (seven stops) in projecting terrific play from the middle and back end of the Centralia Defense as the front line provided easy stats. And Offensively, the Panthers reeled off 34 points with ease operating under the aegis of dominant protection provided up front. Kaiden Davenport and Trey Owens combined for five touchdowns (told you those guys are terrific) on a relatively short night of work as the Panthers reeled off 174 rushing yards and 229 total yards before essentially shutting down the sparring session. It was exactly what it should have been. And now the challenge ramps up significantly as Centralia tries to fine tune for a far more potent offensive threat in Clark. Granted, a lot of it was soft yardage late but Highland did manage to throw the football for almost two hundred yards on Friday. London Brunk comes in with a hot hand for the Indians and he’s got really dangerous targets in Zeb Riney and Dalton Albert who are going to be a clear “next-level” challenge for a completely rebuilt secondary. Moreover, Clark County’s Offensive Line has spent the last two weeks proving it is light years better than it was at this time last year. I think this is a real moment of truth game for two legit “top of the conference” level teams. Clark’s Cannon hopes disintegrate with a loss on Friday, so there will be no lack of urgency on their end. Fun pairing here, to be sure and one I’d say delivers great value for your ticket dollar.

5)SOUTH SHELBY CARDINALS (1-0)

LAST WEEK: 26-14 win over Brookfield

UP NEXT: vs LOUISIANA

BIRD DOGGING THE CARDINALS: I didn’t get to spend near the amount of time I had hoped in Shelbina, due to a bunch of bizarre circumstances that cropped up and complicated the evening for the KHQA Sports Team. Essentially, I got to watch South’s first drive of the second half and got to listen to the rest of the third quarter and part of the fourth in the Sports Runner on the way home. So apologies in advance if this sounds overly simplistic or elemental, but man is Cody McKenzie one tough son-of-a-buck. He posted a 31 carry workload on Friday against a good (and quick) Brookfield Defense and netted 196 yards and three touchdowns. And he worked for every bit of it. He ended with no carry longer than a 26 yarder, so most of what he accumulated came after initial contact. And he showed no relent. He’s really got a knack for pinballing his way off tacklers and his legs are constantly churning for that extra yard. He averaged six and half yards a touch and he’s one of those runners who seems to get stronger the deeper you go into a game. He’s just not a lot of fun to tackle, especially for a kid who weighs 180 pounds rather than 220. To his credit, McKenzie also had a team high eight tackles on Friday as well as three stops for loss. In short, his fingerprints were all over this win. Rob Wilt kept it pretty simple on Friday; which is to his credit. The Cardinals only attempted eight passes and Brock Wood and Dylan Threlkeld had 22 total carries in counterbalance to Cody McKenzie. The Cardinals found traction, built a lead, and essentially tried to keep the explosive Brookfield offense on ice. Defensively (and I didn’t see a single Cardinal Defensive snap in person) rising Sophomore Cason Wilt and Brett Hall each posted six tackles to help preserve the win. It was a nice statement effort by a group that hasn’t really gotten much ink. In talking to some other folks around the Cannon this week; especially those who had seen Brookfield in Jamboree action; I suspect this final result probably turned some heads around the league. South is kind of weirdly undervalued; questions persisting about this team’s depth and line play. Friday’s win should put a lot of that to rest. The Cardinals have a nice cache of weapons and really only had to use one of them on Friday to beat a good foe. And they have a head coach who uniquely understands his teams strengths and weaknesses and how to deftly calibrate them to the opponent in question. So my initial early season assertions here all stand: this is going to be a team that wins a lot of games and finds ways to take down high profile opponents.

6)BROWN COUNTY HORNETS (0-0)

LAST WEEK: Idle

HOME OPENER: vs West Central

THE NESTING STAGE: No one ahead of them in the Power Poll dropped a game, so the Hornets remain parked at the six spot and Skyler Moorman and Friends have more grist for the motivational mill. Brown County will begin staking its case for deeper respect on Friday in the Alex Ebbing Bowl, as the former West Central Cougar Head Coach turned BC Assistants watches his past and present collide. Even absent that subplot, it’s an interesting head to head battle. Based on what returns, the Cougars should have a quality Offensive Line fronted by Bryan Wade and an intriguing collection of running threats augmented by the rise of Adrian Starks as the kind of potential game breaker here who could stretch the field. Thusly, this becomes a high level litmus test for the Hornet Defense. BC graduated six on that side of the ball, including unit cornerstone Carter Lewis. Defensive Line play is a bit of an unknown commodity coming in. By the same token, BC has two true Linebackers of Gravity in Darian Drake and Tanner Sussenbach and are playing against a Wing-T system they see every day in practice. And in that interplay, we get our first glimpse of what the Hornet Defense might be. A chance to kind of figure out where the ceiling is for those guys. And I think that is really the line of demarcation for Brown County on this season. There is easy consensus found out there that Tom Little has put together what looks to be his most explosive and diverse offense in the last five years; if not one that could ultimately rival the best in his Mount Sterling tenure. Does BC have the stopping power to match?

7)QUINCY HIGH BLUE DEVILS (0-0)

LAST WEEK: Idle

HOME OPENER: vs Belleville West

THE DEVIL DETAILS: Rick Little finds himself in a similar preseason situation to his brother Tom; tightening the screws on a rebuilt defense that will either make or break the 2017 campaign. There are some nice pieces in play for the Blue Devils, particularly at Linebacker, but on paper the questions outnumber the known quantities headed into opening night against the Maroons. The Blue Devils should be able to score and score a lot; and there’s more to that equation than just highly touted Junior Tailback Jirehl Brock, who already holds five Division One Scholarship offers and was been told by no less than Lovie Smith that he could be the best running back ever to line up for the Illini if he were to choose to play in Champaign. Logan Ross has been impressive in camp at Quarterback. Jake Kelley’s time has finally come at Fullback and he looks like a guy who doesn’t waste a rep in wanting to take advantage. Blue Devil Basketball star Aaron Shoot is going to command more touches in different ways. And the Blue Devil Running table stable is maybe four deep with kids who could start and perhaps star in other programs. Great first test for QHS in 2016 Playoff Qualifier Belleville West.

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THE NEXT LEVEL

8)CENTRAL (0-0)

Instant barometer time for Brad Dixon’s Panthers who open with one of the toughest road trips on the docket; heading south to play Aaron Elmore’s fast improving Calhoun squad. Panthers are, as ever, well heeled at Linebacker and Running Back and boast a gigantic Offensive Line.

9)QND (0-0)

After missing the postseason for the first time in thirteen years, the Raiders say their a driven bunch with greatly improved chemistry and leadership. I’ve seen them work out twice this off-season and they certainly look the part. Winning what looms as likely the last meeting in what has been a great rivalry series with Hannibal would certainly reinforce that notion.

10)MACON (1-0)

The Tigers try to complete the Panther Twin-Killing on Friday with a road trip to Titletown. Sure, he threw three picks but for the most part, Nash Waller’s quarterback debut was a huge program plus. Kevin Edwards settled wonderfully into the feature back role ( 114 yards and a score on 20 touches) and looks like one of the Cannon’s emerging elites. And again: that run defense is just a huge wow. Pete Claas’ crew looks legit. A Friday win at Monroe would end any doubt.

11)CENTRAL LEE (0-0)

New skipper Nick Ehret makes his Hawk Debut at home on Friday against Keokuk and he does so armed with what on paper appears to be a Top Three Tri-State Defense and a proven Franchise back in Adam Rooney. Austin Gaylord’s transition to Quarterback here is a critical piece, as is the continued growth and continuity of excellent Offensive Line play that has fueled the Hawks back-to-back playoff run. Keokuk defense is very underrated. This could be a low scoring slugfest.

12)HANNIBAL (1-0)

Much has rightly been made of the resolve these Pirates demonstrated in coming back out of a 45 minute rain delay to rally for a fourth quarter win at Jeff City Helias. But in talking to Mark St Clair this week, he seemed to be very pleased with the totality of the Pirates effort in spoiling the opening of the Ray Hentges Stadium complex. The way his team responded after giving up the Crusaders initial score; their answer to each big play. And the fight they showed on both sides of the ball. The Pirates get some key pieces back who had to sit out for team reasons as well last week. Heck of a fun test looming with QND.

13)ILLINI WEST (0-0)

With three tremendously difficult opponents lined up for them from Weeks Two through Four, the Chargers have very little margin for error on opening night in hosting Monmouth United. Lyle Klein’s Junior laden ball club poised to loom very large in these power polls over the next two seasons.

14)BWP (0-0)

Ex-Sparclone Assistant Coach Brian Lafferty makes his head coaching debut…where else…but Bushnell as the fates would have it. Maybe the best subplot in a week full of good ones. David Roddis will come well armed to the “reunion” with a BWP team armed with uber-athletic Quarterback Devin Yocum and well-heeled at Offensive Line

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THE BEST OF THE REST

15) PALMYRA (0-1)

16) CLARK COUNTY (0-1)

17) KNOX COUNTY (1-0)

18) PLEASANT HILL/WESTERN (0-0)

19) TRIOPIA (0-0)

20) BROOKFIELD (0-1)

21) RUSHVILLE/INDUSTRY (0-0)

22) VAN-FAR (1-0)

23) NORTH SHELBY (1-0)

24) PARIS (1-0)

25) UNITY/PAYSON (0-0)

26) MARK TWAIN (1-0)

27) CLOPTON/ELSBERRY (1-0)

28) JACKSONVILLE (0-0)

29) WEST CENTRAL (0-0)

30) MACOMB (0-0)

31) SCOTLAND COUNTY (0-1)

32) KEOKUK (0-0)

33) FORT MADISON (0-0)

34) PITTFIELD (0-0)

35) ROUTT (0-0)

36) HIGHLAND (0-1)

37) BOWLING GREEN (0-1)

38) LOUISIANA (0-1)

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FEARLESS DUERR PREDICTIONS FOR WEEK TWO

WEEK ONE: 7 of 11 Correct (63.6%)

SEASON TO DATE: 7 of 11 Correct (63.6%)

WEEK TWO PICKS

IOWA

KEOKUK 12

CENTRAL LEE 20

DAVIS COUNTY 6

FORT MADISON 28

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MISSOURI

QND 28

HANNIBAL 21

MACON 16

MONROE CITY 20

LOUISIANA 14

SOUTH SHELBY 42

CLARK COUNTY 28

CENTRALIA 35

HIGHLAND 14

BROOKFIELD 28

BOWLING GREEN 18

PALMYRA 45

MMA 12

CLOPTON/ELSBERRY 50

VAN-FAR 30

CENTRAL HOME 6

WORTH CO/NODAWAY 45

NORTH SHELBY 35

SALISBURY 18

PARIS 6

FAYETTE 24

SCOTLAND CO. 14

KNOX COUNTY 12

MARCELINE 42

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ILLINOIS

BELLEVILLE WEST 20

QUINCY HIGH 42

WEST CENTRAL 18

BROWN COUNTY 42

PLEASANT HILL/WESTERN 30

BEARDSTOWN 40

GREENFIELD/NW 18

UNITY/PAYSON 21

CARROLLTON 21

TRIOPIA 28

CENTRAL 18

CALHOUN 24

ROUTT 6

NORTH GREENE 20

MONMOUTH UNITED 14

ILLINI WEST 49

RUSHVILLE/INDUSTRY 20

BWP 35

WEST HANCOCK 42

PUTNAM COUNTY 6

LINCOLN 13

MACOMB 18

SHG 52

JAX 20

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RANDOM MUSINGS

Hannibal LaGrange has announced that the Old Ball Coach himself, Steve Spurrier, will be the keynote speaker for its 76th Annual Alumni Booster Banquet, slated for November 16th. Full details as to ticket availability are available here on the HGLU Website here at: http://www.hlg.edu/news-events/booster-banquet/

My Louisiana sources tell me that the School Board voted last night to apply for Membership to the Eastern Missouri Conference. Told a formal announcement of changing conference affiliation to the EMO could come as early as the September School Board Meeting.

Heard from North Shelby Boss Seth Bass this week, who after exchanging film with Worth County, told me that this week’s opponent might be the best eight man football team he has seen. The Raiders are coming off a huge win last week. If you’ve never experienced the hyper-kinetic pace of Eight Man Football, might be a great week to get thee to Shelbyville.

Few things in Tri-State High School Football are cooler than seeing the entire Macon Tiger Football team shake Hugh Dunn's hand before heading off to the pre-game locker room.

Your 2016 South Shelby Starting Quarterback, Alec Patterson, has landed like an F5 Tornado in Missouri Eight Man Football. The Patterson's have relocated to Chilhowee, where Dad Brian is the new Basketball Coach. Alec's opening night numbers in a 28-22 win over Osceola: 28 rush attempts for 161 yards, 6 of 14 passing for 101 yards, and 19 tackles.

The recruiting push for Quincy High Outside Hitter Sierra Erke is heating up nicely. I am told she is talking most seriously with a trio of Division Two Schools, one of whom is a nationally ranked power at that level. She’s also had some cursory contact with a couple of Division One Schools, but I get the sense they were too far away from home and that proposition doesn’t interest her. Sounds like the pulverizing Right Side Hitter is not going to lack for choices or options.

If you missed it this week, the story of Sarah Harness is almost beyond belief; what she quietly and successfully endured on her way to a 17-3 resume last Fall during her Sophomore Season pitching for Bowling Green. After successful back surgery this off-season, Sarah is now three full inches taller and I am told reliably she painted 67 on the radar gun at Troy this week on her final pitch against Zumwalt South. This is a feature worth watching. And it was an honor to tell both Sarah’s story and that of her father Cecil: http://khqa.com/sports/content/resolve-in-red-sarah-harness-rises-above/

Got my first look at Knox County Pitcher Katie Hamlin this week and wow, did her fastball have nice zip on it against North Shelby. There are a lot of really good young pitchers out there this Fall and maybe Katie is a little off your radar. But if you are looking to tout a “sleeper” and impress your friends, Miss Hamlin is a nifty option.

Canton Softball is off to a perfect 2-0 start; both wins belonging to a pitcher named Jarvis. Olivia's season opening No Hitter against Mark Twain is no surprise to any who have followed her career to day. Freshman Abby Jarvis' win in relief against Clopton on Tuesday is a bit more eye-opening a certainly portends the extension of this line of circle succession into a potential family dynasty.

The Ron Bridal Era of Quincy High Soccer is off and running. The Blue Devils earned their new skipper Career Victory Number One on Monday in a 7-0 blowout of Beardstown. Jaeden Smith scored a hat trick in the win and is poised for a monster statistical season.

Mitchell Murphy’s first soccer game in over a year was an unqualified success. The QND Junior Forward notched a hat trick in his Season Debut against Hannibal. He missed all of the 2016 campaign with a knee injury. The Raiders are tremendously deep up front and will get even more so when much touted Freshman Seth Anderson joins the rotation up front

Quincy High’s Olivia Clayton claimed the Number One Singles Title at the Ottawa Invitational last weekend. This could be a very telling development for Mike Terry's crew in setting the tone for the rest of the Autumn slate.

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