The month long hibernation is over. Vacation is over. Sacramento was a blast. Now let the work fun begin anew.
This is DUERRISMS for August 3rd, 2012 presented as always by the fine folks at GAMEMASTERS. We will be here with you in some form or another from now until Thanksgiving for all your Random Musings, High School Sports Analysis, and whatever other mental flotsam I can jam in here for you entertainment. As ever, we strive to bring you the Tri State's most complete (and entertaining) coverage of all things local sports. August is a huge month for us. It's really the start of the "new year" in Sports Coverage and we will greet it with our annual KHQA BARNSTORM TOUR of all the local football, soccer, volleyball, and softball camps and practices we can get to in a three week period. That begins this Monday, with extra special goodies right here on the web from all of our travels to try and keep you in the know. We've also got our annual Pigskin Preview Show coming later this month with our reveal of the KHQA Preseason Top 10 Teams and Top 10 Players to watch. And of course, the 2012 GRIDIRON PLAYBOOK, which we hope to have delivered in Mid-August. You can pick up a copy of the magazine, written entirely by yours truly, at the KHQA Studios, your local SUBWAY, and as always, at all of the advertisers whose patronage makes this special project possible. Please be sure to thank those folks for their support of local sports when you visit to pick up the magazine.
August 25th also marks the return of OVERTIME, the Tri-States only half hour Sports Wrap Up Show. Catch us every Saturday night at 10:30pm for extended local Sports Coverage. And of course, don't miss SPORTS FINAL on Friday Nights for the region's most enthusiastic high school football coverage. And as always, you can catch us in real time via Social Networking Sites at Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/KHQAChrisDuerr ) and with constant updates on Twitter ( https://twitter.com/ChrisDuerr ) for the most immediate Sports Coverage we can provide. And of course, all the other usual TV and Internet Goodies as well. Hope you enjoy. We could not be more excited for the start of a new high school and college campaign to cover because in brutal honesty....I hate the dog days of summer. This is the time that makes this job fun.
2012 KHQA BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
NICK LONERGAN, Jacksonville Routt
Rationale: In a stellar year for underclassmen, Routt Junior Nick Lonergan stood tallest. The Rocket All Stater proved to be the most lethal all around weapon in the area and an irrepressible force for Bob Lonergan's squad. A true five tool player, Nick hit .505 on the season and showed off great natural power hitting six home runs in this new "dead bat" era while driving in 33 runs despite hitting at the top of the Rocket lineup. The kid had an .887 slugging percentage and hit better than .600 on the season with runners in scoring position. All this for a lead off guy, mind you. Just imagine the opportunities he might have had to drive in runs with more guys on base. Given his game changing speed, however, the Rockets could ill afford to move him. Nick scored 40 runs on the year and stole 22 bases. And as if that didn't make him threat enough, Lonergan was the Rockets Ace of Staff with a stellar 8-1 record, a 1.71 ERA and 96 strike outs in 66 innings worth of work. In terms of overall production and value to his team, no one else comes remotely close to what Lonergan delivered this season. And scarier still, he's got another year to grow. The Rocket program has produced some dandy players over the years: Ben Heinemann, Collin Sheehan, Joe Zeller, Devin Vaughn et al. I am not sure Lonergan won't be the best of the lot when all is said and done.
Runner Up: DOMINIC MILES, Quincy Notre Dame
2012 KHQA BASEBALL COACH OF THE YEAR
P.J. MOORE, Jacksonville
Rationale: Lots of worth candidates here on both sides of the river but it's hard to overlook the rehab job P.J. Moore has performed in resurrecting the Crimson program. All Jacksonville did in the Spring of 2012 was shatter the school's single season wins mark with 26 victories, a win total that must have seemed borderline unreachable when Moore first took over the flagging program. Much like Mark Grounds has done with Football in Crimson Country, Moore has succeeded in making JHS Baseball relevant and meaningful again. And he has done it without smoke or mirrors. The Crimsons play hard-nosed, fundamental baseball up and down the lineup and scrap for everything the get. Granted, the reclamation process is far from complete at this point and there are even greater plateaus to achieve here; particularly in terms of postseason play. But moving Crimson Baseball forward this far, this fast is an achievement worthy of celebrating. And P.J. Moore deserves ample credit here for his efforts.
Runner Up: CHRIS MARTIN, QND
2012 ALL DO OR DIE BASEBALL SQUAD
BEN SHANNAN, Scotland County
Why He's Here: Lived up to the advance billing. We told you Shannan was the best pure pitcher in Tri State Baseball coming into this season and he delivered a stat line to back that up going a perfect 7-0 on the hill this season for the Tigers with a 1.49 ERA and just 25 total hits allowed. Shannan's pinpoint control and supremely high mound IQ made him one of the toughest kids to make solid contact against in recent memory.
Methinks the College of the Ozarks just got the recruiting steal of 2012.
JARED SHOVER, Liberty
Why He's Here: Commanding presence. Shover served notice right out of the gate this season with a tremendous 7-1 victory over West Hancock, arguably the best one-nine line up in Tri State Baseball this year. He went on to register eight victories this season and posted a miniscule 1.33 ERA along the way. Jared is a kid who just had a knack for pouring the ball into the strike zone. He gave up just 18 total walks during the regular season, an example of his stellar command.
ANDREW JACKSON, Jacksonville
Why He's Here: Unrelenting consistency. "El Presidente" was as bankable a pitching commodity as we saw this season. And considering the quality of the Crimsons slate of opponents, that is no small affair. The kid just smartly worked to spots in the strike zone and rarely made mistakes; a player who truly understood the art of the game. See also his ridiculously low walk total (just 13 in nearly 60 innings.) Andrew finished with eight victories on the season and gave up just 17 total earned runs on the year. The Crimson junior was simply the model of mound efficiency and seems to be growing into a better and better prospect with each pitch.
AUSTIN HOEWING, Canton
Why He's Here: Lynchpin of the year's best feel good baseball story. Canton's workhorse Ace posted an 8-1 record in route to First Team Class 1 All State honors, fashioning a very tidy 2.35 ERA in the process. Has great mound demeanor and was as tenacious and fearless a pitcher as we saw this season. Terrific All Around player who competes on a play to play basis with almost Bryce Harper type zeal for the game.
DRYDEN CRAVEN, Griggsville-Perry
Why He's Here: Brilliant performance in the Regional Championship game upset versus Liberty. Craven had the requisite stats to make this squad anyway but really cemented his place among the elite players in the area with a Red Letter performance (on the road no less) against one of the hotter teams in the area. Dryden finished the year with eight wins, 97 strikeouts, and a sub 1.5 ERA.
Second Team Pitching Staff
KYLE FULTON, Monroe City
CALEB SHOEMAKER, West Prairie
DUSTIN WOODCOCK, Jacksonville
MASON FAIRLEY, Quincy High
MYLES TAYLOR, Rushville/Industry
KYLE MATTHEWS, West Central
Third Team Pitching Staff
HARLEY STONE, Scotland County
NICK HEILLE, Macomb
LUKE POWELL, Palmyra
ZACH CARSTENS, QND
ANDREW EILERS, Quincy High
TANNER ANDERSON, Illini West
First Team Catchers
DOMINIC MILES, Quincy Notre Dame
Why He's Here: Makes the game look ridiculously simple to play. Hard to find a kid, in any sport for that matter, who makes his craft look so effortlessly brilliant. The Raider All Stater hit over .450 this season and already as a junior possesses the most college ready swing in Tri State baseball. He's also the premier defensive player in our region. Threw out a stunning 56% of the base runners who tried to run against him and his arm might not even be his best defensive asset. Kid is ridiculously agile and explosive behind the plate in getting to every pitch, no matter how poorly it is thrown. Maybe the best Miles yet out an outstanding bloodline that includes brothers Brandon and Zach, the latter being the 2004 KHQA Player of the Year. And he's only a junior to boot.
LANE HANZEL, Liberty
Why He's Here: Obscene batting average. Eagles Offensive Lynchpin hit nearly .600 this season and had just a half dozen strikeouts in 102 at bats. Stellar contact hitter who had an almost 2012 edition-Melky Cabrera approach to spraying the baseball around the yard. Super smart hitter who showed greatly improved chops as a pitcher and defensive player as well. Scary thing is, Lane continues to get better with each passing year.
Second Team Catchers
DALTON BRYANT, Central Lee
TYLER NIEMANN, Canton
BEN BROWN, Macomb
Third Team Catchers
KENDALL SUMMERS, West Hancock
SHANE WILLIAMS, Monroe City
First Team Designated Hitters
COLLIN SHEEHAN, Routt
Why He's Here: Pure, unadulterated masher. Sheehan clubbed seven home runs and drove in 51 runs for Routt this season, hitting .464 along the way. Natural power in a contact hitters swing. He may be pledged to the Lindenwood-Belleville Football program, but someone would be wise to get him onto a baseball diamond sometime in his College Career.
WILL MEFFORD, South Shelby
Why He's Here: Power and resilience. The Cardinal Senior bounced back from after missing the entire football season with a shoulder injury to hit .475 on the season with 4 home runs and 72 RBI.
Second Team Designated Hitters
EVAN MCGAUGHY, Illini West
BRETT TAYLOR, Macomb
Third Team Designated Hitters
NICK REICHERT, QND
MATT GUNTERMAN, Pleasant Hill
First Team Infielders
COLLIN DOOLEY, West Hancock
Why He's Here: Best First Baseman in the Biz. Dooley fashioned a .533 and .900 slugging percentage as the breakout star on a loaded West Hancock Offense. The Titan Senior drove in 44 runs, hit five bombs, and struck out a grand total of two times this season. Hard to find any other First Baseman in our area who can match that level of production.
MATT LAWVER, Macomb
Why He's Here: Rare Offensive Production at Second Base. Though better known coming into this Spring for his pitching prowess, Lawver really delivered at the plate with a team best .402 batting average and 22 RBI. Matt also had 15 doubles on the season to break the school's career record...previously held by his coach Brock Bainter.
BRODY GRONEWOLD, Illini West
Why He's Here: Speed. Reached base in nearly half of his at bats. More intriguingly, Brody was plenty dangerous when he got there, stealing 39 bases and scoring 39 total runs for Todd Porter's crew. The Charger junior proved to be an superb catalyst and a kid you better watch out for come the 2012 football season as well.
BROCK RUMPLE, Griggsville-Perry
Why He's Here: Toughness. Tornado Senior and future MacMurray Highlander was a hard man to get out, particularly in a clutch spot. Hit .360 this season with 28 RBI and four home runs.
AUSTIN HARDY, West Hancock
Why He's Here: Tremendous All Around skills. Titan Shortstop was the best defensive infielder I saw this season and a do-it-all cog at the heart of the West Hancock Offensive attack. Pretty darned good pitcher on top of that as well.
Second Team Infield
DALTON POWELL, Hannibal
TREVOR ROTH, Keokuk
BRONSON MELVIN, Quincy High
JOHNNY MANION, Payson-Seymour
JACK CANTER, Rushville-Industry
Third Team Infield
BRADY LONG, Jacksonville
JORDAN BOEHS, West Central
ZACH VAHLE, QND
WYATT PROPER, South Shelby
ETHAN BORROWMAN, Pittsfield
BRENDAN ROSS, Lousiana
First Team Outfield
BRYCE ROSE, Keokuk
Why He's Here: Perfect Combo Player. Chief Senior hit a whopping .473 this season to earn honors as Southeast Conference Co-Player of the Year. Tremendous speed in Keokuk's spacious Joyce Field held augment his area benchmark 11 triples on the year. Rose also stole 20 total bases. Do-it-all talent who helped elevate a young Chiefs club.
AUSTIN DORMIRE, Central-Southeastern
Why He's Here: Unbelievable breakout campaign. Made this remark to someone earlier this year: in the half dozen times I saw CSE play this year I never saw Austin make a single out. His batting average pinged in at .490 and he proved a wonderful mix of speed (47 runs scored, 29 stolen bases) and power (5 home runs, 20 extra base hits.) One of the best kept secrets in Tri State Baseball this year.
BRANDON BERHORST, Canton
Why He's Here: Ideal Offensive Catalyst now and for the future. Tiger's All State Outfield tormented foes with a .423 batting average and 24 RBI.
His aggressiveness on the bases netted 14 stolen bases and 26 runs. One of the most polished Sophomores we've seen in recent memory.
GARRETT KESTNER, Central-Southeastern
Why He's Here: Home Run Pop. The Human Muscle hit seven dingers on the season and had 50 RBI to go along with a tidy .444 batting average. Terrific all around athlete who was among the best at his given craft in the area in all three seasons (Football, Wrestling, Baseball)
Second Team Outfield
ISON SMITH, Griggsville-Perry
RYAN KEMP, Keokuk
NICK HUNTER, Fort Madison
JAKE WYATT, Macon
Third Team Outfield
WES MEFFORD, South Shelby
DEREK MABREY, Macomb
DALTON CHANNELL, Lousiana
J.T. GRAY, Highland
KHQA Preseason Position Power Rankings-Top Seven Returnees, in our estimation, by position
1) DIONTUE ARMSTRONG, Jacksonville
2) BEN HOLTSCHLAG, Quincy Notre Dame
3) NICK SEVERS, Macomb
4) LUKE ROSS, Clark County
5) HADEN MORRIS, Centralia
6) KYLE KOVAR, Clark County
7) DAKOTA LONGLEY, Triopia
Sleeper Picks: ALEX APPEL, Illini West; SETH HOLTSCHLAG, Quincy High
Important DE prospects potentially changing Positions: WES MEFFORD, South Shelby; BOBBY GRUENLOH, Palmyra; ZACH ABNEY, PGP
Defensive Tackle/Nose Tackle
1) BRANDON BURGEOIS, Clark County
2) BOBBY GRUENLOH, Palmyra
3) RILEY SCHMITZ, South Shelby
4) ROLANDO LUNA, Beardstown
5) BLAIR THALL, Centralia
6) BRENDEN WILLIAMS, Monroe City
7) AUSTIN ROSSITER, CSE
Sleepers: JACK FINLEY, QND; BRAXTON SQUIER, Illini West
1) BRETT TAYLOR, Macomb
2) DALTON KEENE, Jacksonville
3) BLAKE RICHARDSON, Concord Triopia
4) AUSTIN KINKEAD, Centralia
5) BEN GITTINGS, Illini West
6) DEVIN LINTON, Clopton-Elsberry
7) DAKOTA DOWNS, Quincy High
Sleepers: ACIE SPARROW, Highland; ELI COUSINS, Macomb
1) NICK WEIMAN, QND
2) BLAKE GRICE, Monroe City
3) WES MEFFORD, South Shelby
4) DYLAN SMITH, Louisiana
5) DOUGLAS WEESE, Central Southeastern
6) REED BENTZINGER, Unity/Payson
7) KASEY SIMMONS, Mark Twain (tie)
7) BRYCE BOUDREAU, Clark County (tie)
Sleepers: BRETT WESSEL, Hannibal; JESSE ARNOLD, Centralia
1) CALEB BIENIEK, Hannibal
2) DARRION SANDERS, Keokuk
3) DALTON HEUBNER, CSE
4) DERRICK SCHONE, Concord Triopia
5) COREY BROWN, Bowling Green
6) ETHAN ROCKHOLD, Quincy High
7) JAYVIN RAY, Clark County
Sleeper: ZACH MILLER, Scotland County; ANDY MILLS, Jacksonville
1) NICK SEVERS, Macomb
2) ALEX GOSS, Keokuk
3) BRANDON BURGEOIS, Clark County
4) JACOB BORGMEYER, Hannibal
5) ROLANDO LUNA, Beardstown
6) WES BRADLEY, Keokuk
7) CLAY FINKLEA, Quincy High
Sleepers: NATHAN BEASLEY, West Prairie; COLE GARRETT, Brown County; BRADEN DAMON, Pleasant Hill
1) TAQUAN KELLY, Macon
2) MALIQUE ROBBINS, Quincy High
3) BRYCE BOUDREAU, Clark County
4) DERRICK SCHONE, Concord Triopia
5) CULLEN RALPHS, Centralia
6) DALTON HEUBNER, Central-Southeastern
7) BRODY MOUBRY, Knox County
Sleepers: JARROD ROCKHOLD, Macomb; BRAXTON PHELPS, Brown County; TRACE WINDSOR, South Shelby
Impact Newcomers via Position Change: NICK LONERGAN, Routt; BLAKE GRICE, Monroe City
1) TREVOR ROTH, Keokuk
2) NICK WEIMAN, QND
3) DILAN PARRISH, Palmyra
4) DOUGLAS WEESE, CSE
5) CHRIS SPARKS, Highland
6) ZACH ABNEY, PGP
7) DEREK JOHNSTON, North Shelby
Sleepers: WILL MCROBERT, Scotland County; LANDON DOHMAN, Fort Madison
Wide Receiver/Tight End
1) DALTON KEENE, Jacksonville
2) BLAKE HANCE, Jacksonville
3) CHARLES FRACTION, Clopton-Elsberry (tie)
3) COREY BARNETT, Winchester West Central (tie)
4) WES MEFFORD, South Shelby
5) DAN WILLIAMS, Keokuk
6) REGGIE BRATTON, Jacksonville
7) KOLBIE SCHILSON, West Hancock
Sleeper: DELANEY ORTIZ, Beardstown
1) GABE VANDENBERG, Keokuk
2) GREG PITZER, Louisiana
3) CALEB POWELL, Hannibal
4) DAVID HEATHMAN, South Shelby
5) TANNER HUDDLESTON, Concord Triopia
6) TIM WOODWARD, Brown County
7) CAMERON NUTT, Palmyra
Sleepers: AUSTIN EGLEY, Clark County; REED BENTZINGER, Unity-Payson; BRYCE SCHNITKER, Jacksonville; BROCK BUTLER, Palmyra
The Tri States Best
1) CLARK COUNTY
5) SOUTH SHELBY
3) ILLINI WEST
4) CONCORD TRIOPIA
5) CLARK COUNTY
1) BOWLING GREEN
3) MONROE CITY
Sleeper: WEST PRAIRIE
Sleepers: PLEASANT HILL/WESTERN, BROWN COUNTY
5) CLARK COUNTY
Sleeper: QUINCY NOTRE DAME
Running Back Groups
2) QUINCY HIGH
4) ILLINI WEST
5) ROUTT CATHOLIC
First Jim Unruh. Now Jack MacKenzie. Taking early odds now what legendary coach brings their career to an end next July when I am on sabbatical. Only half joking here....
Don't know what more I can add to all the great stuff that has already been said and written about the the legendary Quincy University Soccer Coach other than my quick two cents: Jack is truly a better gentleman than he was a coach. Considering the "Hall of Fame, put Quincy on the map and change the sports paradigm" career he enjoyed speaks volumes about the man's character. Beyond sports, Jack MacKenzie belongs on that rare list of coaches who gave the sport, his program, and his community more than any one person should be able to contribute in a lifetime. And to echo the sentiment so better articulated by many others, anything short of putting the man's name on North Campus Field forever would seem too little to recognize his accomplishments.
Not a lot of preseason respect for Western Illinois Football in the Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Poll. The Leathernecks have been picked 9th overall and ahead of just Missouri State. QND Alum Jimmy Holtschlag was the only Neck to receive First Team Preseason All Conference honors.
Clopton-Elsberry Football suddenly finds itself in the market for new High School Football Coach at the worst possible time. Adam Falloon, who oversaw the IndianHawks from Varsity start-up to District Championship, is getting out of the coaching game and becoming the new Athletic Director at his alma mater: Montgomery County High School. Falloon tells KHQA he hated the timing of the move, but that this was an opportunity that he could not turn down in order to spend more time with his family. Adam did a remarkable job in bringing the IndianHawk program up to speed so quickly and leaves considerable shoes to fill.
Clopton-Elsberry All State Quarterback Scott Kroeger, Pittsfield Wrestling star Coltyn Pease and Lousiana High School Track and Field sensation Na'Kea Shepherd were among the late summer recruiting bargains who have pledged to schools in the last six weeks. Kroeger, who finished second in the nation among high school quarterbacks in All Purpose yardage according to MaxPreps, is bound for Lindenwood. He will start his career, at least initially, as a Safety. Pease, one of the more physically gifted Heavyweights to grace our area in some time and a kid who is only now starting to scratch the surface of his potential after a late start to his career, will spend the next two years grappling at Rend Lake with an eye on a future Division One career. And Shepherd, your reigning Missouri Class 2 400 Meter State Champion, is going to continue her sprinting exploits at Truman State. Congrats one and all. Three really super kids here.
Scotland County's Brock Bondurant revealed via Twitter that the circumstances surrounding his walk-on at the University of Missouri have changed. Rather than playing Defensive Back, Bondurant will vie for a spot on the depth chart at Quarterback.
You've heard me make a big deal about the stellar recruiting interest our area's Class of 2013 is receiving (Severs, Keene, Vandenberg et al) but that could well pale in comparison with what's ahead for Tri State Volleyball in the next few years. The quartet of Holy Trinity's Mikaela Foecke, Jacksonville's Jaelyn Keene, and Quincy High's India Green and Monica Bumbry might represent the most coveted well of talent this area has seen at any time in any sport. By the way, Foecke is fresh off leading Team Iowa to an Under 15 National Title in Club Volleyball this off-season. It's a stellar group. Would love to see all these girls play head-to-head at some point in their still young high school careers.
Morgan Martin's decision to transfer from Quincy Notre Dame to Cedar Rapids Kennedy has seemed to touch off a bit of a backlash against the talented pivot on the internet. Part of being a fan is being emotional I guess but lets also remember we adults are also talking about a teenage girl and high school basketball. Perspective, my friends. It's not worth the venom. Everyone is likely going to be better off going forward. And in my mind, the same principal holds sway here that I did when Chloe Barnes and Tori Kuhn transferred into QND. High School careers are too short to be unhappy and I begrudge no kid the opportunity to find a situation that is more to their liking. I have found Morgan to be an unfailingly polite and nice kid in two years worth of dealings with here. And she is clearly a talented basketball player. If she sees an opportunity out there that guarantees her a more enjoyable experience, she should seize it. It's not an indictment on QND, the Lady Raider Players, Eric Orne. It's simply a choice and I wish her well in making it. And with all respect to Morgan's considerable talents, the Lady Raiders aren't going to miss a step. Better to have a roster full of players who want to be where they are at then one with kids on it trying to play their way out from under a constant black cloud of doubt or unhappiness. Chemistry has been a huge ingredient in QND's success under Eric Orne and I don't expect that to change any time soon. I'd think in the long run this parting works out for the best of all involved.
Had an absolute blast last weekend delivering the key note speech for the 9-10 Boys State Baseball Tournament in Rushville. Tim Ward and his crew do an amazing job putting on a party and I hope those visiting teams realize just how lucky they are to get to travel and play to such unbelievable hospitality.