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Beyond the Threshold (Duerrisms for the Week of September 23rd)

Devin Yocum and BWP put their unbeaten record to the ultimate test on the road at Elmwood/Brimfield 

Greetings everybody and welcome to the pigskin party that is DUERRISMS for the Week of September 23rd 2017. We are brought to you as always by the great people at SLEEP TIGHT, fine patrons of local sports and the kids who play them and purveyors of all the things you need to ensure yourself a great night’s rest. If you enjoy reading this column, be sure to thank them for championing our schools, our communities and our kids with both your expressed gratitude and your business.

Limping to the finishing line this week. It’s been a long time since I’ve done a solo SPORTS FINAL and OVERTIME in the same weekend and am reminded just how much teamwork (and luck) goes into making those “daily miracles” come together as reasonably presentable TV Sports entertainment every week. The Domino Effect on a Friday Night of one little thing going wrong is amplified when you don’t have someone around to help you chase a missing score on deadline or track down the Hannibal video from Kirksville that got sent to the wrong address. I think I aged an extra five years on Friday. Still, having your heart pound out of your chest at 10:14pm as you race to the set hoping you’ve got every piece of video accounted for is still one of the great adrenaline rushes in this world and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Just know I am happy to have the full crew back in play this weekend. And that I am going to sleep until Noon on Sunday. (Which is actually like 7:15am for me, but that still feels like a deserved luxury so there)

Time is running short to get your KHQA STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Nomination to us in advance of our first committee meeting on October 2nd. All resumes received before noon that day for Senior Athletes with a minimum 3.5 GPA and participation in at least one sport are eligible. We’ve already got a dozen fantastic candidates in the mix so far from West Hancock, Illini West, Beardstown, Quincy High, Central Lee, Clark County and Payson Seymour. Don’t let your school and your communities most deserving candidates be left out. On a related note, we are proud to welcome HANNIBAL REGIONAL HOSPITAL to our fine family of sponsors for this spotlight of the young people that strength our community and its future through their achievements; a road to better for all of us.

Hope you are enjoying the MCDONALD’S SATURDAY MORNING TICKET show on WTAD Radio every Saturday morning (8:00am on 930AM Radio or livestreamed on WTAD.com) as much as I am enjoying hosting the thing. We have been blessed to have extraordinary guests who are carrying this radio rookie to really good shows every Saturday. This past week, we had illuminating conversations with Quincy University Head Football Coach Gary Bass and Payson Seymour Volleyball Boss Teresa Loos-Tedrow. Come join the party with us and see what all the buzz is about. And for you “late risers” a podcast version of the show is always available at WTAD.com. And as ever, thanks to Greg Shierling and the good folks at your 13th and Broadway McDonalds for making this wonderful opportunity a reality.

Huge week ahead with Quincy High/Rocky Soccer, the renewal of the Routt/Triopia Rivalry, and a monster slate of Friday Football games on tap. You all better buckle up. It’s going to be a fun ride.

Yours in Sports,

Chris Duerr

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SEVEN BIG TAKEAWAYS FROM THE WEEK THAT WAS

1)Watching him hunt down 13.5 tackles, a pair of sacks and three stops for loss on Saturday Night while essentially willing a team with a non-existent offense to victory reminded me of two things this weekend. “Peak” Cody Leonard remains as entertaining and exhilarating a “watch” at the college level as he was in high school at Carrollton. And the Quincy University Football recruiting “pivot” a couple of years back to start kicking the tires on not just local players, but local “small school kids” previous Hawk Coaching Staffs thought simply couldn’t play at this level is worth the investment. The work that both Jason Killday (now at Truman State) and Gary Bass performed in taking the time to make high school coaching connections in the hopes of unearthing an occasional Leonard-like gem from the Class One, Two, or Three level has yielded a significant dividend here. And that is a significant leap forward for Quincy University. Think of all the past Leonard-like prospects historically that QU might have similarly profited from in their own backyard, but never even took the time to consider (let alone contact) who went on to play at places like Missouri S&T, Western Illinois, Truman State and Northwest Missouri State that were dismissed out of hand by previous staffs because they “played in conferences with 180 pound Offensive Linemen.” They sure did. But that didn’t mean that there weren’t also kids there that, like Leonard and Wyatt Green and Ashton Gronewold and Shane Smith and Ethan Decker (who went on to enormous success at some of the places I just mentioned) that could have moved the meter here. Engagement matters. Anyone who saw Leonard play his feral brand of ball-hawking defense with the Hawks knew he would be an undersized college overachiever who find a way to get on the field to clock people at whatever level of football he got to play next (simply because Cody’s football soul was forged in Old School Linebacker Heaven and he exists to knock people silly) But if you couldn’t see him play, every single high school coach who did could get in year ear as a college coach and make the same pronouncement I just did. That this dude from Carrollton is pretty special and there’s probably not a football team around he couldn’t help in some way, given his relentless fire and preternatural pursuit skills. I’ll bite here: was Cody still undersized Saturday against Lincoln University’s Division One sized bookend Offensive Tackles? You bet. Didn’t seem to stop him from being the best player on the field though, did it? Look, I am less picking at old scabs here than I am celebrating the change in philosophy and the outreach that the QU staff has established. You talk to High School Coaches (and I do that a lot) and to a man they remark how thorough and prepped they are. Mark St Clair told me QU’s evaluation on Pirate Players was as thorough as any he has ever seen. That’s a far cry from the days of a coach showing up and not even knowing the names of the Offensive Linemen he was looking to recruit; telling staffers there “you know the guys I want” as opposed to saying “I’d like to speak with Ethan and Shane, please.” The homework and legwork done here to fish Cody Leonard out of the middle of nowhere are a far cry from that. And judging from Saturday’s relentless Leonard effort: well worth the time and effort it took to get it done.

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2) Through three games this season, reigning NCAA Division Three Rushing King and Jacksonville native Chazz Middlebrook is once again leading the nation in ground yardage. The MacMurray workhorse has amassed 734 yards on a whopping 99 carries. He has also scored eleven touchdowns to date, which is also the current D3 benchmark. Not surprisingly, the Highlanders are a perfect 3-0 and hosting Iowa Wesleyan. They have yet to crack national polls radar on D3Football.com or the Coaches Poll and there’s not a lot of national regard for the UMAC, historically speaking. That said, it is becoming clear that Chris Douglas wasn’t merely satisfied with elevating his program to mere respectability. The Highlanders are making, it seems, yet another evolution. I’ve made no secret of my admiration for Coach Douglas as a play caller. His creativity and instinct aren’t on a large enough stage for most people to play “compare/contrast” with but as someone who watches a ton of football for a living, I feel at least qualified to say Chris has that “it” factor in figuring out ways to maximize his personnel. And let’s be honest, the Mac Offense these last two years has been a different animal than it was when I first started paying real attention again during the Coy Dorothy salad days. Granted, somehow stealing a kid like Middlebrook and keeping him home is a difference maker. That’s fine and all. But somehow, Douglas has even more impressively retrofit his program with real live downhill run blockers on the fly. You can’t get those kinds of kids to a D3 school with any kind of consistency in this business, the dirty secret of Division Three ball no one likes to speak out loud. And yet, here we are. I hope the good folks in administration at MacMurray realize just how good they have it with Chris Douglas and this staff in tow. Because at this rate, even on such a smallish stage, people are bound to start noticing what a special thing is happening in The Ville.

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3) Rushville/Industry is still looking for win number one of the Brian Lafferty Era. And with four losses on the slate, the Rockets have to win out (including a week nine upset of Elmwood/Brimfield) to even have a chance at playoff eligibility. As bleak as that sounds, I kid you not when I say this if far and away the best winless team in our area this year and that I can remember in recent memory. And the metrics all back that up. The combined record of R/I’s first four foes is 14-2. The Rockets currently have an absurd 25 Playoff Points (total victories by opponents) to their credit. Palantine leads the state with 27. I count a half dozen other schools with 26 including Thornwood, Macon Meridian, Elk Grove Valley, Mundalein, Breese Mater Dei and Providence New Lennox. Then it’s Rushville, Niles West, Ottawa and Sullivan-Okaw Valley with 25. The Rockets are losing games, yes, but losing to extremely good foes. And doing so competitively. They dropped nine point decisions to BWP and Farmington, and an eleven point loss this week to A-Town in a game they led at Halftime. Bottom line, the Rockets are close. As in “a play here or there” close. Which means a five game win streak to close out this slate isn’t out of the question, especially if R/I can figure out how to ratchet up the fourth quarter defense. Certainly hard to quibble with the Rocket Offense, which is built to hold onto the football and maximize possession. Through four games, Basil Buckner and Ethan Downs have combined for 814 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. In short, don’t write these guys off just yet. There’s enough bubbling here just below the surface to suggest this team is far from dead.

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4)SLEEP TIGHT SLEEPER OF THE WEEK: With a team leading six tackles and the 23 yard scoop and score that essentially transformed a two game losing streak into the year’s most unlikely 3-1 start, TYLER O’TOOL continues to be the unsung hero of the less celebrated story line in Fort Madison’s Cinderella rise this Fall. Granted, the Bloodhounds Defense is still very much a work in progress and there are probably still dues to paid there. By the same token, a team that allowed opponents to march the field for 48 points per game last season is showing signs of real growth. In four games to date, Tony Shiffman’s squad is allowing just under 27 points per game. Again, it’s not the sexy story line here, contrasted with all the glittery firepower the Hounds have amassed in Gully, The Redd-Donalds, Lennon Barker. But long range it is the most important fix on the board for this staff. Having O’Tool here to center it is the best kind of “cheat” for lack of a better description. O’Tool, as we saw again on Friday, has that rare playmaker gene and big play guys have been pretty rare in their own right on Hound Defenses over the last Decade. His presence has a back end safety net has allowed guys like Diego Lozano and newcomer Sam Hayes to feast, safe in the knowledge that they’ve got a guy behind them that can come forward and make tackles or play the thrown ball. Tyler has forced a team high three turnovers and obviously, that has proven a “switch flipping” momentum boost for a squad still working to shed its meager past. He’s good enough to fill in a lot of the defensive crevices with his two-way play against the run and pass, yet still can electrify this unit in a big moment, as he did Friday. That’s obviously paying dividends, yet if you just merely looked at a stat sheet, you might not sense O’Tool’s value here because his kind of middle of the team in total tackles and again, overshadowed a bit by flashier pieces and more accessible storylines. Don’t sleep on this kid. He’s as much the heart and soul of this Bloodhound turnabout as anyone.

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5)“You really only need to follow four people. Chris Duerr. QND Soccer. The President. And The Pope.”

My mother-in-law Diane explaining to my Twitter-intimidated wife over dinner Saturday Night the best way to ease into that particular sphere of Social Media.

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6)THE SEVEN THINGS I LOVE MOST IN THE WORLD AT LEAST FOR THIS PARTICULAR WEEK: Brilliant Mother-in-Laws. The new All Black, Lannister-inspired Sacramento Kings “International Game” themed floor at the Golden One Center. Thursday Night High School Football Games…the one week a year we get them. Emily Box kills. The KHQA Countdown to October 18th (Payson Seymour vs West Prairie Volleyball) The QND vs Quincy High Ryder Cup Golf Series (fast becoming one of my favorite Fall events) Kirsten Huffman interviews…but only when spectators don’t walk between the camera and Kirsten. Eric Hill “running commentary” on the Hannibal Soccer Sideline. Quincy University Football under the lights. Sparclone Cheerleader reaction photos in response to Fearless Duerrisms Predictions they don’t necessarily agree with. Brett Taylor repping 225 pounds a whopping 31 times in a NFL combine audition bench press videos on my Twitter Timeline (fun fact: the old man here can still hit 225 x13 so I may soon be marking my own far less impressive video pitch to Football Teams in need of a 47 year old, undersized Offensive Linemen with bad knees and a 40 time in the high sixes. Potential Employers: Inquire within) Serrano Ham Flautas at Maya. The Prospect of a GGG/Canelo Rematch.

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7)Below you will find my personal e-mail response to one of the many angry Kansas City Chiefs fans who either called to harass my KHQA Weekend co-workers because the free NFL Game we provided on our network air was not the one they wanted to see or e-mailed the same basic anger to our management. As this is a weekly event now, I thought I would share with you why your half-cocked Sunday “anger” is misplaced and completely unfair to people here at my place of employ who are powerless to effect changes in the NFL Broadcast Schedule. In the future, I ask that all of you with NFL Viewership concerns refrain from calling the station (skeleton staff on the weekends, none of whom are empowered in any way to switch to the game you want anyway) and address those venomous concerns directly to me. You can e-mail me cduerr@sbgtv.com or call me directly on my cellphone (217) 779-7295 and I will personally attend to your complaint on my day off to spare the good people who work here your obscenities. They don’t deserve your incivility. I will happily then be your scapegoat/whipping boy/huckleberry because I can rationally explain to you why we air the games we do. You all might find some illumination in the response below. Consider it carefully before you act in angry haste. And Consider this my personal invitation, nay CHRIS DUERR’S ONE MAN LIFE MISSION to save you from your own ignorance.

Dear (redacted)

As a savvy NFL fan (redacted) I assume you understand how NFL TV Clearances work.

This e-mail reads as if you don't.

So allow me to clear this up for you and perhaps spare you the need for further e-mail eloquence.

Neither KHQA nor CBS is the lone TV rights holder to the Kansas City Chiefs. The NFL itself has that honor. And it divvies up TV allotments accordingly.

CBS is the traditional rights holder to AFC Games, true. But that, Good Sir, doesn't mean we have right of first refusal on every AFC team's games every week. The NFL Network, Sunday Night Football, ESPN all have a stake. As does Fox.

On Sunday, as the Chiefs/Eagles Game was an AFC/NFC Crossover Game, those rights belonged to FOX, not us. I tell you this so you may better direct your future e-mails in a direction where the criticism may resonate. That way, we spare you the time spent penning off e-mails to people who can't fix the problem you seem to be having.

Your e-mail rant below (misdirected to the wrong Affiliate) reads a bit like you walking into an Italian Restaurant and throwing a fit because the free meal you were provided here was Spaghetti rather than Sushi. Or in this case, Patriots/Saints rather than Chiefs/Eagles.

You got frustrated and angry without understanding that the problem here is your lack of understanding, not our inability to provide the product you seek.

A basic economics lesson, sir. The NFL is big money. The Kansas City Chiefs are big money for CBS, KHQA and our Advertisers. We are a business. We make money and feed our families off the money we make.

Do you really think it behooves us in that respect to intentionally not show the Kansas City Chiefs games to an audience that wants Kansas Chiefs Games from us just because we have some deep, secret desire to ruin (redacted’s) Sunday??

KHQA has taken every single Kansas City Chiefs game we were afforded this season as part of our coming slate of NFL Games. EVERY SINGLE ONE, sir. Minus Fox/Monday Night and Sunday Night Games/Thursday Night NFL Network , I think it works out to nine total FREE TV games that air on KHQA this Fall/Winter. And the only place you will see those games is on KHQA-TV.

That established, I sincerely respect your bold show of your anger with us (misdirected as it is as explained above) to punish yourself as a "CHIEFS FAN" by not watching a single one of those KHQA-aired Chiefs games because you are never watching KHQA again.

We will miss you. The Chiefs will miss your support. And we wish you nothing but the best in your future TV Sports Watching Endeavors.

God Bless you sir and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Chris Duerr

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THE MAGNIFIENT SEVEN FOR WEEK FIVE

7)DARIAN DRAKE, FB/LB, Brown County

11 Carries, 166 Yards, TD vs Routt

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6) NOAH MENCER, PK, Palmyra

2 FG (42, 45 Yards) vs Clark County

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5)WILL FROMM, QB, Scotland County

12 of 23 Passing, 246 Yards, 3 TD vs Salisbury

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4)DRAKE WROBLESKI, RB/LB, Beardstown

7 Carries, 145 Rushing Yards, 4 TD vs Unity/Payson

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3)NOAH STROKIRCH, LB, Central

17 Tackles (3 Solo, 14 Assists) vs Concord Triopia

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2) JIREHL BROCK, RB, Quincy High

22 Carries, 244 Rushing Yards, 4 TD vs Galesburg

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1)MASON UHLMEYER, QB, North Shelby

230 Rushing Yards, 4 TD; 61 Passing Yards, 3 TD vs South Nodaway

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KHQA/SLEEP TIGHT PLAYER OF THE WEEK (AS VOTED BY YOU THE FANS ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE

DALTON CRANE, QB, Pleasant Hill/Western vs Calhoun

Rationale: Wow, a high school fan base actually defeated the mighty Mount Sterling Voting Bloc heads up this week. Not by much, obviously, as the margin of victory for Dalton Crane with week was a paltry eight votes. Talk about down to the wire voting. That established, it’s a pretty darned good week to get to talk about Dalton and the Wolves, who changed the telemetry of their season with that Old Oaken Bucket win over Calhoun. After such an ugly start against Beardstown and that heart breaker in week two to Triopia, the Trojans have won both of their South Division Games and essentially could be dueling Carrollton next Friday night for the Division Crown; provided they attend business at Greenfield this week. Rich Thompson told me in the wake of his Triopia squad’s showdown with the Wolves that he had never seen an opponent make as much progress over the course of a week as PH/W did from Beardstown to their game; and he warned me at the time that this was a very dangerous squad moving forward. Rich’s words have proven prophetic. And obviously, the Wolves multi-dimensional Quarterback has had a huge hand in that ascent. Dalton has a hand in all four of PH/W’s touchdowns, rushing for a pair and passing for a pair in giving dimension to the Wolves very difficult to defend scheme. He finished the night with 213 yards of total offense. His passing skills are really starting to blossom. He hit a dozen completions on 63% accuracy for 126 yards. And after a couple of shaky decisions early, Crane hasn’t thrown an interception in his last eight quarters of play. As we saw from Basketball season as well, this is one heady, talented kid. He’s the kid on your team who needs the least amount of coaching; which is nice because he is at least PH/W’s most important positional player if not its best at this point. Four years of Quarterback experience have made him a tough kid to spook on the field and there’s a quiet confidence there that resonates. In short, he’s a guy who inspires confidence in those around him and he’s earned that honor with four year’s worth of effort and dedication to get there. His two-way ability doesn’t tend to get enough play given the quality of quarterbacks in our area but he belongs in that mix with the London Brunks and Blake Hays and Jacob Kroegers as guys who can hurt you either way. And thinking back now, some of that same poised play, though overshadowed by his deservedly celebrated Senior teammates, was a critical part of the Wolves basketball rise as well. He’s a really nice weapon, who up until last week, had been getting slept on far too much. I doubt that happens from here on out and I know that he has Carrollton’s full attention this week. And just to underscore his quiet toughness, I might add that Crane also had seven tackles this week and returned a kick for 10 yards. Not many quarterbacks fill those voids and hit those touchdowns as well.

All that established, I feel it would be remiss of me not to take advantage of this window to sing the praises of the Wolves Defense this week as well. You’ve no doubt heard by now that that unit made two huge defensive stands in the final four minutes of the game to close the door on a 32-22 win; including a critical fourth down stop at the one yard line. This is not your Week One PH/W defense any more. Ron Edwards has clearly found the push buttons in tightening up that run defense. Sure, Jacob Watters injury (told reliably it was a knee strain, not a ligament tear as originally feared) took some of the gusto out of the Warrior run game. By the same token, the Wolves activity rate was sky high. Sophomore Sensation Kodiak Rogers had 20 tackle in the win. Jesse Crowder had sixteen. And Ervin Martin posted three stops for loss. We are starting to see some of these young guys really deliver to the level that Mike Giles suggested they could. Obviously, Carrollton in two weeks is that next level test but I’m not sure the Wolves could be more prepared (or more tangibly hungry) to meet that challenge at this juncture.

Past Winners:

Week One: KEVIN CAMPBELL, RB/DB, Hannibal (vs Helias)

Week Two: DEVIN TYNAN, RB/DB, Brown County (vs West Central)

Week Three: ALEX GULLY, RB/DB, Fort Madison (vs Central Lee)

Week Four: JOE HENDRICKER, QB, Brown County (vs Beardstown)

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FOOTBALL 2017

KHQA POWER POLL FOR WEEK SIX

1)WEST HANCOCK (4-0)

Last Week 54-6 win over Schuyler County

Up Next: at QND

LOGAN’S RUN: My visit to Warsaw was short on Friday and god bless Jim Unruh for hooking me up. The Titan’s Offensive Coordinator dialed up three passing plays (four if you count West Hancock’s first two-point conversion) on the team’s first three possessions, netting two touchdowns. I believe I was on the road for Carthage by 7:12pm, which may be a new record. Bryce Buckert opened the evening with a 78 yard play action strike to Logan Koechle, who couldn’t have been more wide open if he was standing in the middle of downtown Warsaw at game time. Not sure how Schuyler County lost him so badly in coverage, but the Titans had an 8-0 lead thirty seconds into the First Quarter clock. After a quick defensive stand fueled by nice tackles from Ryan Adams and Andy Bird, Buckert went back to work with a pair of reverse pivot play action passes; first to Koechle on the Schuyler sideline and then to Chase Hartweg for a 29 yard scamper down the home side of the field to extend the lead to 14-0. Bryce Allen Wilson threw down one of the most bruising three year conversion runs you will ever see, and I was out the door and thinking ahead to next week’s Titan showdown with QND. Obviously, we will get to that in a bit but let’s not gloss over the fact that West Hancock’s tenuous scheduling situation forced this team to play four games against Missouri competition to start the season, three of them on the road. That this crew handled that scenario so well speaks volumes about the maturity Travis Cook said he was hoping to cultivate from this talent squad preseason. This group is attending its business like a much more seasoned, successful program. And that was really the leap forward that had to be made. There was no questioning the talent here. This was about turning the page full on a more mediocre recent past. The Miller Career Academy win was a watershed moment, sure. Just as importantly is how this group has responded since. The Titans roster doesn’t lack for big personalities and colorful kids. The prevailing default profile here, however, has been maturity tinged with fun, rather than the other way around. Without sacrificing the fire that this team has simmering. I love the nuanced job here Travis Cook and his staff have done in crafting the personality of this team, while not negating the elements that make it unique. Smart football prevails. The rise of Chase Hartweg this season is maybe as endemic of that as anything. He had 119 rushing yards and three touchdowns on Offense against the Rams. He’s posted nearly twice as many tackles as anyone on the squad. And he’s an honor roll student. Ditto for Riley Langford. The nameplate of West Hancock Football is enhanced by their success in every way. But also by the all hands in approach. We’ve seen new names rise this season on that defense (Van Fleet, Corvaia, Adams) We’ve seen star players like Andy Bird really bring it in new fashion in the less celebrated part of his role here paving the way as blocker. The “webbing” here is just really strong right now. Obviously, Friday’s trip to 10th and Jackson is a huge test. And I’ll be the first to say it: hopefully a far better Defensive showing for both teams than last year’s track meet in Warsaw turned out to be. Both the Raiders and Titans are, I surmise, better heeled for this contest after playing tough opponents early on and I like where both teams are right now, given QND’s bounce back against Lutheran. This is an incredibly simply synopsis but there’s no avoiding the root issue here: he who tackles better wins. I’d could spend three days writing here about the matchup fun that is Riley Langford covering Reed Hyer, but Friday Night’s contest is about the boring, unsexy fundamentals of defense. QND was a squad, as I have said often this preseason, whose defense never performed to the sum of its talented parts. If the Raiders fail to do so Friday, they could get run off the field. And if West Hancock digresses into last year’s defensive form, Dalton Venvertloh and Jonathon Ohnemus are good enough backs right now to hand West Hancock a loss. Again, it’s not the preview I want to pen on this thing but it is the essence of the entire matter. And as such, a revealing look into who each of these teams might really be long range. And to be honest, if I walk out of 10th and Jackson next Friday having seen 70 to 80 combined points like last September, I am probably going to have long range playoff type concerns about both clubs.

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2)MONROE CITY (5-0)

Last Week: 35-0 win at Highland

Up Next: vs Brookfield

CAT POWER: The biggest victims of the Jack Pluta Nuptials were the Monroe City Panthers, who had their KHQA video camera pulled at the last minute due to our limited staffing situation this weekend. Apologies Panther fans but your anger is best directed at former KHQA Reporter Jack Pluta for having the audacity to get married in Chicago on a Friday Night during High School Football season. And let’s just throw in an obligatory “Blame Nico” for his taking part in the festivities for good measure. Alright….I kid. We are happy for The Plutas and happy that Nico got to be there to celebrate with them. Let’s just plan all future matrimonial bliss for Saturdays in June, where it belongs. Bottom line, I had to use limited resources to make it look like I had the normal number of Friday Night Highlights and a trip to Ewing just wasn’t in the cards on deeper reflection. Thusly, I don’t have much to offer in the way of Monroe City illumination this week, save for what I gleaned from the final stat sheet. The Monroe Defense pitched a shutout, limited Highland to just 107 yards of total offense. Zach Osborn added three touchdowns to the cause. Blake Hays got to wing the ball around a bit for two passing strikes. And the Panthers dominance remains unchallenged to this point, having now nearly tripled up on their first five opponents in outscoring them 220-70. It’s been a nice run. The bigger challenges loom in this second half of the season for David Kirby’s crew. Brookfield and Paris to start. Then the dread Centralia/Palmyra two-step that should eventually crown us a Cannon Conference Champion. And barring an un-planned elopement within the KHQA Family this weekend, I promise you we will have a camera in Title Town on Friday.

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3)CENTRALIA (5-0)

Last Week: 49-14 win at South Shelby

Up Next: vs Mexico

FEAT OF CLAYTON: The ease with which the Panthers moved the ball at South Shelby’s expense is just a scary indicator of how balanced and effective Jim Newsted’s offense can/could be by District Time. Granted, Mexico (who beat Hannibal and help the Pirates to 14 point two weeks ago, just to remind you) obviously represents a more stern examination. Still, Centralia goes into the home showdown with the Bulldogs still on the ascent. Clayton Simpkins is coming off his cleanest game yet as a passer. Sure, the 90 yards he produced may not leap off the stat sheet compared to some of the spread offense numbers posted around our area this year. By the same token, three passing touchdowns from one of the most dedicated and sophisticated run-based approaches (against a super-athletic South Secondary, no less) is quite a bonanza to consider for future opponents. The Panthers have also found a nice rhythm it seems in divvying up the carries behind Simpkins. Granted, Centralia started slowly in that endeavor against South but eventually got out of its own way and sort of counter-intuitively figured out the right course of attack at the Cardinals expense. Tyler Dorman led that charge with 92 yards and touchdown. Kaiden Davenport added 70. Trey Owens ponied up yet another touchdown. And from what I can glean, Jared Holiman seems to be rising nicely as a pass catching target as well. As if Centralia needed more weapons. Defensively, the Panthers First Team Defense pitched another shutout. Weirdly, this Centralia team has not been very good at kick coverage this season, surrendering yet another special teams touchdown this week. Granted, it was Brock Wood doing the punt return honors (who is as good as you will find in that department in the Tri-States) but if there is an area that appears to need tightening up here before the Great Wars Ahead…there you go. Back on the positive side, Chris Hicks led the Defensive charge with 10 tackles, eight of them solo and a Quarterback Sack. Davenport continues to shine despite his position change and added a half dozen solos. Again, this is a team heading into its most telling game to date playing a really high level of football on both sides of the ball. And the Mexico game is really a no lose proposition for Centralia. When he was still coaching, Erle Bennett told me he prized this chance every year to expose things in his team with Mexico’s athleticism (and this year brute strength) that couldn’t be replicated in normal Cannon Play. In short, the things Centralia does, win or lose Friday, successfully against the Bulldogs figure to work against Monroe and Palmyra and more importantly, when things get amped up in Districts. I feel like we know a lot about this Centralia team. Moreover, I think Jim Newsted will know everything about his team in great detail by this time Saturday morning. And that’s a wonderful luxury to have moving forward towards bigger goals.

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4) BROWN COUNTY (4-0)

Last Week: 49-14 win at Routt

Up Next: at Unity/Payson

TOO GOOD: Happy Darian Drake Night in the Ville. Granted, as our video clearly shows, his first touchdown against the Rockets probably should not have counted as the football was pretty obviously not in his possession as he neared the goal line. Nevertheless, Darian didn’t let the moment linger. He responded with an interception to kill the Rockets ensuing drive, flipping the field and allowing Devin Tynan to extend the lead to 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. From that point forward, the Hornet Feeding Frenzy was on. Joe Hendricker was again dealing from the Quarterback spot with 124 yards on seven of twelve passing with three touchdowns. Drake rushed for a cool 166 yards on just eleven carries. Tynan was even tidier with 102 yards on just five totes. Gavin Lancaster and Cameron Zimmerman also added touchdown runs. And the Hornet Defense didn’t allow a score until the fourth quarter, when mass substitutions had taken effect. All in all, a very dominant effort for BC in all phases. Which now places Tom Little’s crew in a very weird spot on Friday against a Unity/Payson team I can’t really get a bead on after last week. The Mustangs got absolutely throttled in Beardstown on Friday, dropping a 40 point decision while being out gained offensively 431-198 in yardage. Is fully healthy Beardstown just that good? Has the Mustangs early season momentum so fully dissipated? This is a U/P team that seemed to be populated with pretty good tacklers early on. At least while we were there Friday, the Mustang Defense didn’t really make a meaningful play period. And that’s a recipe for further disaster against the Hornets. Conversely, the Mustangs can move the football with the spread and could just as easily flip the script on BC as well. It’s a pretty volatile matchup either way and one that I think deserves the Hornets full attentions. If BC gets caught looking ahead to the next two weeks, there’s enormous trap game danger here at this particular moment. Much like West Hancock last week, this I think is a game that will quantify the Hornets collective maturity and team resolve. It’s not nearly as sexy as the Beardstown game. But it is a road contest in a tough environment against a wounded grizzly bear of a team. I think there’s more here to pay attention to this week with BC than what you might find at face value.

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5) BWP (4-0)

Last Week: 22-6 win at Illini West

Up Next: at Elmwood/Brimfield

A SPARC OF GENIUS: Given the combined record of their first four opponents (a paltry 2-14 to this point) I think it is still wise to practice some restraint in making sweeping pronouncements about the Sparclones perfect start. By the same token, I don’t think it is too big a leap to say that this might be the team in Tri-State Football most secure in its own identity and most comfortable in its own skin. And truthfully, I don’t think they care one iota about the doubts you or I might have in them or how we couch their season to date. They do what they do. And on Friday, the did it well even if they didn’t play particularly well. That may be as telling as anything; on both sides of the ledge, in fact for Illini West and BWP. Friday was big win optically, more than from a talent standpoint. The Chargers were coming off an embarrassing loss to Farmington; a virtual no-show. It has not happened often, but typically in those situations, teams that have called Carthage home over the years have made it an imperative to make a statement, to offer up a pride game showing in the wake of disappointment. I fully expected the same from the Chargers Friday night at Fuzz Berges Field (no less) in much the same way you expect a wounded animal to be at its most dangerous. They may have wanted to do exactly that. The Sparclone Defense, and particularly the Sparclone Front Eight just wasn’t going to let that happen. The old Mike Tyson theory made real: everyone does have a plan…until they get punched in the mouth. BWP would not allow IW to run the football. End of story, end of ballgame. They smothered the Chargers to the tune of giving up just 154 total yards. Nearly a quarter of that ground production came on Colton Sargeant’s first quarter touchdown run. I was in the weird position of listening to the first quarter of the IW/BWP game on radio while trying to get over from Warsaw. I heard that IW scoring drive on radio and arrived in Carthage just in time to see the Chargers trying to break an 8-8 tie in the Second Quarter by driving to the BWP 30. I fully expected, based on what I heard on radio, IW to convert. I don’t know what changed between the radio broadcast and me getting there, but from the moment I sprinted up to the field, the Sparclones put the Chargers in reverse. It started with a massive Brody Mynatt sack to create negative traction for IW and just kept spinning out of control from there. Off the top of my head, I can think of maybe two IW plays in the second and third quarters that maybe amounted to some kind of positive yards. The rest was BWP just simply teeing off on an Offensive Line that was being overrun. The Chargers couldn’t go between the tackles. And the first time I saw them try to test the edge, Wes Rhodes nearly broke a guy in half. I believe it was also Rhodes (guessing because the video wasn’t 100% clear) who made the biggest play of the game in the third quarter, by stripping a fumble from the Chargers on their opening position of the second half. You could literally feel the entire stadium deflate. David Roddis proceded to make that turnover count largest, using a little modified flea-flicker action on 4th down to create a Charlie Hensley to Devin Yocum touchdown “option play” that gave the Sparclones the lead for good. And that only seemed to sharpen the BWP Defensive fury. After I left and headed for the studio, Carter Weaver made three huge fourth quarter tackles to snuff whatever life was left out of IW. It was just a very complete defensive owning of a foe most of us thought was reasonably talented on that side of the ball. See also that IW didn’t complete a pass all night long. Virtually nothing went right for the Charger Offense for three quarters on Friday and BWP imposed its will to make it so. And here’s the catch: I thought the Sparclones were pretty pedestrian, if not a little lousy on Offense Friday. Turnovers. Missed blocking assignments. They still found a way to be a quality foe, on the road, with like their C-level Offensive Fastball. Sure Nate Ferguson had a nice final rushing total but we’ve seen three infinitely better Offensive Line performances from this team already this year. The Defensive Line picked up their slack and made it almost immaterial. Granted, this leaves David Roddis with plenty to recalibrate moving into an even hard road trip this weekend; like trying to synch up the timing on an exotic supercar. By the same token, BWP has to be brimming with confidence right now knowing that its considerable team resolve is an outlier in its own right; that this Sparclone team can win in hostile climes on off-nights on sheer toughness and grit alone. And in that sense alone, this group made a believer out of me. They are still underdogs again this week. And I’d still say I’d be pleasantly surprised if BWP beats E/B at its own place in a Battle of Unbeatens. But the fact that the Sparclones have convinced so many of us that is it clearly not out of the realm of possibility speaks volumes about where this team is and how far it has come.

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THE NEXT LEVEL

6)CENTRAL (3-1)

Outside of Pleasant Hill’s Old Oaken Bucket grab, I thought Week Five’s most telling moment came by way of Central’s stellar Defensive outing at Don Kemp Field. Based on all I’ve seen from the rising young offensive talent in Triopia’s coffers, I didn’t think there was defense in the WIVC capable of holding the Trojans scoreless for three quarters. Or keep Triopia under 250 yards of total offense for a night. That’s a huge plot point win/great preparation for Brad Dixon’s crew, especially with Beardstown coming to town Friday. The indefatigable Noah Strokirch continued his run of marvelous Linebacker play with 17 tackles, one of four Panthers to reach double figures Friday while somehow managing to keep Michael Burns out of the end zone. Cole Williams led the Offensive Charge with three rushing touchdowns and 101 yards on the ground. I think, pretty clearly, this was Central’s best win to date with a chance to grab an even bigger one Friday on Homecoming. Beardstown got healthy last week, destroyed Unity/Payson 48-8, and looked for the first time like the squad that everyone raved about preseason. Not sure there is a more interesting Subplot on the Week Six docket…or better head-to-head game.

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7)PALMYRA (4-1)

Noah Mencer’s two field goals and a Dalton Perkins blocked punt recovery accounted for the lion’s share of Palmyra’s scoring output in Kahoka, helping Palmyra win on a night when it could manage no better than nine first downs and just 238 yards of total offense. No word yet on the injury status of Quarterback Jacob Kroeger moving forward into the Louisiana game, but Corder Lehenbauer did throw a late touchdown pass in a clutch situation against Clark County, so the Panthers appear to be decently set up if their virtuoso QB can’t make the trip. Again, I think Clark County is a really quality team so I would read nothing but positives into this latest chapter in the Panther’s current four game win streak.

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8)FORT MADISON (3-1)

Told you right here last week that the quality of the Hounds response to their first bit of adversity this season would be revealing. Tony Shiffman can’t help but like the way his squad roared back from a 17-7 halftime deficit to best WB/ND; complete with a late Defensive Stand that returned some of the lost mojo at Oskaloosa. Tyler O’Tool’s 23 yard scoop and score really changed the polarity of this game. And Quarterback Lennon Barker was good when he had to be, spinning out 124 yards and a touchdown on a night when his accuracy wasn’t at its apex. Would think Friday’s home date with Mount Pleasant is now a must have for both teams in terms of playoff aspirations. And isn’t that a fun phrase to get to use in conjunction with Bloodhound Football for a change? These kids are really forging a delightfully elevated profi for this program on the fly.

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9)BEARDSTOWN (2-2)

Scary good stuff out of the Tigers Friday, who returned to full strength and dismantled U/P 48-8. Your most telling “factoid” of the week? Beardstown amassed 404 rushing yards on just 33 carries, meaning the Tigers averaged 12.2 yards per attempt against the Mustangs. Yes, that is the sign of an Offensive Line doing work. Four of Drake Wrobleski’s seven touches resulted in touchdowns. Chad Grimm had 90 yards on just nine carries. Pascal Guilavogui eased back in with just three carries and one reception, but end the night with 63 yards of total offense and a pair of scores. And Ike Riddle continues to impress, even in limited windows, chucking the football around. For my money, Friday Night’s showdown with Central is the most interesting on the board.

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10)CENTRAL LEE (3-1)

The Jared Brisby Tour of Terror continues as the Hawks continue to find their Defensive Footing. A shutout this week against Albia was in large part powered by Brisby’s big play panache, which included 4 tackles for loss and a pair of quarterback sacks. For the season, he’s already posted 8 TFL and 5 quarterback sacks to go along with a team leading 32 and half tackles, double his next closest teammate. In short, the Hawks are returning to the form we all predicted for them preseason. What no one saw coming, however, was Austin Gaylord’s rise as a passer. He completed 6 of 7 for 138 yards against Albia and rushed for a pair of touchdowns to boot. But a trip to PCM-Monroe (3-1 on the season) certainly raises the ante on Friday and will tell us just how much forward progress this team has made since the Fort Madison debacle.

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11)QUINCY HIGH (2-2)

A simple tweet from Jirehl Brock summed it up perfectly this weekend: “we’re back.” The Blue Devils caved in a pretty fair Galesburg club Friday Night for Homecoming, powered by Brock’s 244 rushing yards; 80 of which came on a toss sweep the first play from scrimmage. The Devils got nice balance around Jirehl as well with 80 yards plus each from Jake Kelley and Adonte Crider, as well as its second straight clean effort from an Offensive Line starting to put it back together. Road trips to Rocky are never easy. And the stakes are sky high for both teams Friday Night (particularly the Rocks, who are put in some precarious playoff positon if they enter the final four games of the year with three losses, not to mention 0-2 in WB6 Play)

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12)QND (2-2)

The Raiders claw their way back to the .500 mark with a well-crafted stomping of Lutheran. Bill Connell’s crew rolled up some 432 yards of total offense and 61 points, and forced four turnovers on Defense to tune up for the big showdown with West Hancock. Running game by committee seems to be working well here as Jackson Connell amassed 126 rushing yards and Dalton Venvertloh and Jonathon Ohnemus combined for five touchdowns. The question at sway this week, however, is can the Raiders must any kind of resistance against the Titans potent attack. Last year the answer to that question was a resounding no in Warsaw. Consider this, one way or the other, the pivot point of QND’s season.

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THE BEST OF THE REST

13)HANNIBAL (3-2)

14)SCOTLAND COUNTY (3-2)

15)TRIOPIA (2-2)

16)PLEASANT HILL/WESTERN (2-2)

17)UNITY/PAYSON (2-2)

18)ILLINI WEST (2-2)

19)BOWLING GREEN (3-2)

20)KNOX COUNTY (3-2)

21)MACON (2-3)

22)SOUTH SHELBY (2-3)

23)NORTH SHELBY (2-3)

24) CLARK COUNTY (1-4)

25)BROOKFIELD (2-3)

26)VAN-FAR(3-2)

27)PARIS (2-3)

28)CLOPTON/ELSBERRY (2-3)

29)WEST CENTRAL (1-3)

30)MACOMB (1-3)

31)ROUTT (1-3)

32)MARK TWAIN (1-4)

33)RUSHVILLE/INDUSTRY (0-4)

34)KEOKUK (0-4)

35)HIGHLAND (0-5)

36)JACKSONVILLE (0-4)

37)PITTSFIELD (0-4)

38)LOUISIANA (0-5)

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KHQA MIDSEASON MISSOURI FOOTBALL AWARDS

MIDSEASON COACH OF THE YEAR: JIM NEWSTED, Centralia

Rationale: Reigning KHQA Coach of the Year David Kirby certainly deserves his due here as the Monroe City Panthers look to be every bit the monster they were at the end of last season, but without last September’s early growing pains. That dude and his staff can flat coach and it would not shock me in the least if I am penning a repeat winter column here on Kirby and Company in December. To this point, however, Monroe City has been exactly who we thought they would be and maybe in this discussion at this moment, that works against the Panthers and Kirby. I also think past KHQA COY winners Kevin Miles and Kevin Krietemeye5r deserve a mention here for pulling their programs out of early season spirals and coaxing rapid turnaround from their kids; which is the truest measure of coaching in my mind, progress made from point A to point B regardless of talent level. And in kind, I think Kevin Baldwin should be credited here for getting Van-Far to win more games in three weeks than the Indians won all of last season. All that established, I am going to champion the guy in Centralia who was charged with no less than succeeding a living legend. Did Erle Bennett’s “retirement” change the power structure of the Cannon? Not in the least. The Panthers, who I will concede are every bit as talented as Monroe City, haven’t missed a beat either. I’d argue the degree of difficulty in maintaining the Centralia Mystique, especially with every Monday Morning Quarterback in NEMO looking for any sign of performance attrition, is the highest bar any coach on this list has hit to date. So bully for Jim Newsted. We probably shouldn’t be surprised by this team’s play, given Jim’s invaluable contributions to the Panthers historic success as a supremely talented line coach. Still, running the whole show on your own for the first time is a significant leap forward. And from what I gather from Centralia’s fan base (one of the area’s savviest) the execution of the Panthers sophisticated offense has gotten more nuanced and polished with each successive week; especially relative to their opponents. That’s not to suggest here that everything is perfect. Centralia’s pass defense still needs fine tuning. And the Panther passing game is still a tinkering work in progress for Newsted. By the same token: what are power isn’t in this boat? I can make the same in progress critiques at this moment of Monroe, West Hancock and Brown County. Again, coaching is the art of “getting there.” And I like the trajectory that Jim “The Anvil” Newsted has put his program on. And I love the fact that he still attacks his job every day as a Line Coach at heart. Some of my very favorite people in this world have been Offensive Line coaches, so it’s hard not to be happy for this guy translating what he has done in microcosm to the macro. Sure there are much bigger challenges ahead in the second half of the season (Monroe and Palmyra most notably) but I feel like Erle Bennett’s was dead on when he told me Centralia Football is in good hands. He wasn’t lying.

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OFFENSIVE MVP OF THE MIDWAY POINT: THE MONROE CITY PANTHER OFFENSIVE LINE

Rationale: You go right ahead and have that Cole Pennewell vs Zach Osborn debate with yourself. I want no part of it at this point. Heck, I would be inclined to argue that as talented as both those guys are, neither would be quite the same level of weapon absent the dudes who have spent the last two years toiling to pad both those gentlemen’s All State Resumes. The Panthers are averaging 44 points a game this season. And they’ve done so featuring and profiling not just those two terrific backs but a host of weapons along the way. If David Kirby wanted to get Gage Bottoms 200 yards in a night or was so inclined to say “let’s see home yards Blake Hays can rush for” on a given Friday, do you really think anyone would have the defensive wherewithal to impede those causes? The skill position guys are almost immaterial at this point. And I am saying this about a handful of guys who might all belong in the top 25 of area skill position talents. And that is the compliment that reveals just how good Center Jonathon Saxbury, Guards Brad Cheek and Jadon Underhill, and Tackles Michael Ryan and Alex Joseph WIlson have been to date. And let me underscore this point: that group graduated its calling card All State leader. The most under-reported storyline in Tri-State Football right now (and neatest plot point) may be just how good Jadon Underhill has been in replicating the production of his big brother Josh. Jadon’s understated nature off the field is a far cry from the work he has done moving guys around off the ball (different profile than Josh but weirdly powerful push off the football without sacrificing mobility) and solidifying the one preseason question mark here. Jadon is actually a terrific fit alongside Brad Cheek. It’s like having two different go-to-“punches” to throw when you start pulling these guys. Cheek is super nimble and athletic, more a tight end playing guard than a traditional offensive linemen. Here’s the rub here. Watch Brad on Defense and it more obvious but his ability to fight with his hands and control guys is bizarre. He doesn’t look like a traditional “bench press strong” guy. It’s all functional, natural strength; the ability to turn defenders away from the ball and create a lane. (Eighteen year old Chris Duerr is supremely envious of this under-appreciated talent because I spent a fair amount of time as a 200 pound guard trying to bend kids 70 pounds bigger than me to my will. Brad makes it look easy.) It goes without saying that Saxbury is probably the best Center in Tri-State Football and likely has been now for two years. His size belies just how well he moves and his aggression. And his motor is that of a 180 pound, not 270 pound kid. Show me another dude of his size, playing both ways, who never seemingly takes a down off. To me though, the real storyline here is just how good these bookend Tackles have gotten. “The Kid with Three First Names” is just a gamer. Alex Joseph Wilson’s great calling card here is that textbook flat back he plays with. Couple a low center of gravity with his size and a strong base and AJW comes out the block like a torpedo. He’s not an elegant player and it ain’t pretty. His job is to knock guys off the football and he seems to relish it. And Ryan is the unsung set piece here. Blind side tackle who is as quietly good a two way blocker as you’ll find in our area. Scroll through our video archives. Hard to find Blake Hays flushed by backside pressure when Michael is pass blocking. And while he doesn’t look the part of “hulking” run blocker, Michael is savvy enough to get leverage on his man and churns those legs of his from snap to whistle ceaselessly. That you don’t ever notice him might be the greatest tribute to Michael Ryan of all. I’d love to see how the Monroe City staff grades him out because the consistency of the stuff we have on him (granted, we only save highlights in our archives, not plays that go awry) is ridiculous. Don’t leave good looking Sophomore Max Hays out of this equation either, who has showed up with nice work at Tight End on our radar as well. So that’s my argument and I am sticking to it. We will attend the more difficult arguments down the road with skill position guys. And besides, those dudes already get too much credit anyway.

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DEFENSIVE MVP OF THE MIDWAY POINT: PEYTON PLUNKETT, Palmyra

Rationale: Jeffrey Smoot is still Jeffrey Smoot. Monroe City has a guy at all three levels of the Defense that is probably worthy of some consideration here. Ditto for that loaded Centralia Defense. Palmyra’s Braxden Neil has seven interceptions in five games. Hayden Miller and Cory Moubry are irreplaceable in Edina. And Breck Hancock just joined the MSHSAA All Time Top Ten list in Career Tackles. You all know me well enough to know that I like to play iconoclast and champion the under-radar kid in this mix. Sometimes, though, the obvious choice is just too obvious to ignore. I’ve said it from the jump: Peyton Plunkett is the best two way player in Tri-State Football. And his Linebacker work is the better of his “ways.” He has been good for a dozen tackles per game on average and has ten tackles for loss in five contests so far this year. Those are great numbers made more impressive by the collective nature of Palmyra’s Defensive attack. They only tell part of the story. On a unit mostly comprised of Juniors, Peyton is the Defensive Backbone of the entire structure and one of the most effective “safety nets” of any kid I can remember in recent history. Palmyra has a ton of big play Defensive performers over the years. Peyton can obviously make the splash play with the best of them, given his size and shot-out-of-a-cannon quickness to the ball. The difference here is that Peyton bridges the gaps between his teammates in ways I think some of those other celebrated Panthers didn’t. They had free license to go out and create havoc. Plunkett is the guy whose play erases the mistakes of those around him. Some of it is instinctual. Some of it is athletic talent. But I also tend to think this is a super smart kid who gets his role as well as any Palmyra “superstar” in recent memory. There’s a measure of intelligent restraint to the way he patrols the field. I could see Peyton being a tremendous Strong Safety at the College Level just because he sees the field and all that impacts him and his team so well happening around him. Not to mention he is an exceptional tackler; maybe as good as our area has seen since Nick Weiman at QND. And that rare fusion of mental and physical outliers is why college recruiters are so darned intrigued with him moving forward. Peyton Plunkett is nothing shy of the total package. He’s been the one constant for Palmyra in a season that started off-key (go back and look how good Plunkett was that night on Defense against Macon with 13 tackles and 3 stops for loss) and has crescendo impressively since. Not surprising that a team with this kind of by-example leader found equilibrium. And thusly, there may be no one kid more valuable to his team in Northeast Missouri than this one. That’s probably the highest compliment I can pay.

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FEARLESS DUERR PREDICITIONS

Last Week: 21 of 26 Correct (80.7% accuracy)

Season to Date: 88 of 117 Correct (75.2% accuracy)

Week Six Picks

IHSAA

CENTRAL LEE 14

PCM 22

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KEOKUK 14

WB/ND 20

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MT PLEASANT 24

FORT MADISON 30

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IHSA

QUINCY HIGH 32

ROCKY 18

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WEST HANCOCK 35

QND 28

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MACOMB 12

EFFINGHAM 49

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BROWN COUNTY 38

UNITY 16

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ROUTT 14

TRIOPIA 42

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BEARDSTOWN 28

CENTRAL 20

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PH/W 30

GREENFIELD/NW 14

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WEST CENTRAL 7

CARROLLTON 27

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ILLINI WEST 42

PEORIA HEIGHTS 16

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BWP 12

E/B 18

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NORTH FULTON 12

R/I 40

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ATHENS 49

PITTSFIELD 21

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ROCHESTER 50

JACKSONVILLE 12

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MSHSAA

FULTON 6

HANNIBAL 40

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BROOKFIELD 18

MONROE CITY 49

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PALMYRA 50

LOUISIANA 14

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CLARK COUNTY 35

HIGHLAND 8

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MEXICO 22

CENTRALIA 20

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SOUTH SHELBY 14

MACON 20

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MONTGOMERY CO. 24

BOWLING GREEN 42

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CLOPTON/ELSBERRY 14

VAN-FAR 20

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KNOX COUNTY 28

SALISBURY 6

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SCOTLAND CO. 27

WESTRAN 21

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FAYETTE 32

PARIS 13

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NORTH SHELBY 28

ROCKPORT 45

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RANDOM MUSINGS

Confirming what has previously been reported by James Taylor at WRMJ Radio and The Burlington Hawkeye, West Hancock holds not a single contract for a 2018 High School Football game at this juncture. I am no logostics expert, but that would seem "bad" from this vantage point. Travis Cook's exhaustive efforts to get his team into a conference, any conference have been thrwarted at every turn; be it the WIVC, the Prairieland, and even the Clarence Cannon over in Missouri. It would seem the Titans success the last two years has made them an unattractive add in some cases. So why have a state athletic governing body like the IHSA if they are not willing/able to attend to a situation such as this? Macomb and Quincy Notre Dame are largely in the same boat. It would seem to be long past the time for action here.

Keokuk Point Guard Michaela Davis is the latest area college pledge after giving a verbal to Missouri S&T on Sunday. This was the “pending commitment” blurb I put on Twitter Saturday. I ran into Michaela’s “Dad/Coach” Mike on Saturday at the Chiefs Volleyball Tournament and congratulated the family on the recent Scholarship Offer, telling Mike that I was sure the fun was just starting. Mike told me that he was hoping that the recruiting fun would actually be ending by the weekend and that he thought there was a strong chance Michaela would commit Sunday Night. Michaela is a tremendous scholar athlete with designs on being a neuro-surgeon some day, so Rolla was a great fit on that front. And Mike told me that he loved the fact that of all the schools Michaela talked to, S&T was the only one that never raised her size (or lack of ideal size thereof) as an issue in the recruiting process. Feels like a nice fit on all fronts for a very talented and successful young lady.

Fort Madison’s defeat of Holy Trinity Volleyball on Monday marks the first time in a decade the Crusaders have not defended their own Tournament Title. The Crusaders were also denied the Keokuk Tournament Title on Saturday via a loss to New London and tourney tie-breaker. That's not a 72 hour run we've seen very often in Southeast Iowa Volleyball. It might also signal that Holy Trinity's long standing greatness in this sport, in this corner of the world, is starting to become contagious.

Nice article here http://www.nba.com/grizzlies/news/grind-city-football/high-scoring-rhodes-hidden-gem-of-mid-south-170913 on the rise of Rhodes College Football and its transformation into one of the most bankably explosive Offenses in NCAA Division Three. The man at the tiller of that attack? Fort Madison’s own Peter Jennings. The Former standout Bloodhound and Illinois College Quarterback is Rhodes Offensive Coordinator and Associate Head Coach. Since Peter’s arrival in Memphis, the Lynx have averaged 34 points per game. And lest anyone ever forget, Peter Jennings also famously dueled with Pac Man Jones on the nationally televised “Pros vs Joes” Sports Competition at the height of its cultural relevance.

Don't sleep on Hannibal Lady Pirate Softball, currently riding a five game win streak and coming off an impressive tournament championship win at Warrenton, rallying from a 6-1 deficit against the host school in the championship game to do so. Pirates have gotten a nice mix of pitching from Taylor Wilson and Desarae Garcia. Olivia Pfeifer is the headliner at the plate, currently hitting a robust .537 on the year with 29 steals. Josie Zeiger has 20 RBI as well.

No less than the Doctor Tom House will be in Quincy this weekend to help promote healthy and effective pitching practices in youth baseball. If he was good enough to elevate Nolan Ryan during his Texas Ranger Days, I'd say he can probably help your kid. Tom will hold a lecture at John Wood on Friday from 6:00-9:00pm and conduct on field instruction Saturday and Sunday in specialized events for the National Pitching Association. For information and sign up instructions, you can contact Rich Shover at @ejshover@yahoo.com or call 217-430-8791. Again, this is a pretty rare opportunity to work with an esteemed for MLB Pitching Coach and the man who caught Hank Aaron's historic 715th Home Run. Nice article here for your enjoyment on Tom House: http://www.wtad.com/dr.-house-i-presume.html

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