71
      Friday
      80 / 65
      Saturday
      80 / 65
      Sunday
      83 / 64

      The Rising Tide (Duerrisms for September 20th)

      Hard to believe, we have reached the midway point of the High School Football Regular Season. This is Duerrisms for Week Five of the Fall Campaign, brought to you as always by the fine folks at GAMEMASTERS here in Quincy. Our continued thanks to Don and company for their support of this column and all the local kids it represents.

      Your friendly neighborhood Sports Director took another Monday off of "column duty" this week, this time to take part once again in the Keokuk Chamber Golf Outing as a Caddy, so I am again running behind this week. But again, well worth it. The folks at the Keokuk Country Club and Deer Run do an amazing job hosting this tournament and the good people at the Keokuk Chamber make this one of my favorite events of the year. Honored that I could help out and get to hang out with some great folks in Southeast Iowa. And at the risk of a humble brag here, Ryan Franks isn't the only Gem City Caddy to see the top of a golf leaderboard this week. Apparently, I have some mystical Bagger Vance-like skills in my repertoire. Who knew?

      Beginning October 3rd, the eighth annual KHQA STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE WEEK campaign begins anew as we honor, every Wednesday the best senior leaders in the Tri States. If you know of a deserving Senior athlete (minimum 3.5 GPA) worthy of nomination, be sure to bring it to the attention of your high school athletic director. They should all have received nominating forms from us earlier this month but if not, the form can be printed off from our Website under the Student Athlete of the Week header at the top of the page. It's well worth the time to do so. Every year, we award two scholarships (one male, one female) to our overall Scholars of the Year at our Honors Banquet. Our first vote will take place on the 1st, so act quickly, because this first meeting is your best chance to get your candidate of choice seen. Typically, we have about 15 nominees for the first meeting and 40 for the second, once the program gears up. We already have 10 quality nominees in the pool for meeting one so get cracking my friends. And again, our thanks to CELL TECH, SUBWAY, and PETERS HEATING AND AIR for their support of local athletics and academics.

      A reminder to all you social media users out there: you can follow me on Twitter ( https://twitter.com/ChrisDuerr ) for instant feedback, scores as the happen, and stories as they break in real time on Twitter. And if you are up late on Friday Night after the games, the Pigskin Party continues for KHQA on our Facebook site ( http://www.facebook.com/KHQAChrisDuerr ) We are there until Midnight delivering opinions and sharing your observations and comments on the night's action. Plus it's your chance to vote on our Star of the Week Poll, the winner of which is unveiled below every week in this column. We've got something akin to 2100 Twitter Followers and 2200 Facebook users on those specific sites, so come join the party with us. It's fun and easy and I guarantee you it will heighten your enjoyment of local sports.

      Finally this week, our heartfelt condolences to the good people at Jacksonville High School and the extended Crimson community on the death of Bobby Hoffman this week. A nicer man you will never meet. I had the good fortune get to play golf this Summer in the Crimson Basketball outing with Bobby (and for a few holes, his lovely young daughter as well) and I can't remember when I had a better time on the course and and in the cart at a scramble. Stunned to learn of his death and I know how much his kids in Basketball and all around the school looked up to Bobby. All I can say with any certainty is that heaven is a much finer place these days with Bobby up there flashing that big smile and chatting every one up.

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      FOOTBALL 2012

      THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN-WEEK FOUR

      7) DILAN PARRISH, FB, Palmyra

      14 Carries, 133 Yards, TD vs Highland

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      6) SETH STROEMER, FB, Pleasant Hill/Western

      27 Carries, 154 Rushing Yards vs West Central

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      5) SCOTT BECK, RB, Unity-Payson

      24 Carries, 114 Yards, TD vs Routt

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      4) MITCH NICHOLS, RB, Hannibal

      12 Carries, 148 Yards, TD vs Mexico

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      3) CHARLES FRACTION, RB/WR, Clopton-Elsberry

      7 Carries, 126 Yards, 2 TD; 5 Receptions, 55 Yards, 2 TD vs Principia

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      2) BEN GITTINGS, FB/LB, Illini West

      25 Carries, 210 Yards, 3 TD; 11 Tackles vs West Hancock

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      1) NICK WEIMAN, RB/LB, QND

      24 Carries, 138 yards, 3 TD including Game Winner with :20 left vs PND

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      KHQA HERO OF THE WEEK

      (as voted by the fans at http://www.facebook.com/KHQAChrisDuerr)

      TYLER STEINKAMP, RB, Mark Twain High School

      For the second time in three weeks, the fans saw fit to honor Mark Twain's emerging franchise back and I am not sure anyone could fashion much of an argument to combat his worthiness. All Tyler did to Louisiana this past week was drop 303 yards and 5 touchdowns on the Bulldogs, powering his Tigers to arguably the most surprising 2-2 start in Tri State Football. The really impressive thing here is that despite the fact that Tyler garnered a pretty nice reputation for himself in that Mud Bowl Showing at Lankford Field a few weeks back and became the Tigers most schemed for weapon, the kid is still getting it done. He's also not the biggest dude in the world but apparently shows now wear down. Tyler had 37 total carries in that game against Louisiana and saved his best effort for last: a 58 yard deal-sealer for touchdown with just two minutes on the clock to close out the victory. More to the point, this isn't just a novelty story any more. We are talking about a young man who is starting to amass the kind of stats that All Conference campaigns are born from. Granted, the sledding gets much tougher this week with Clark County in town but I like the fact that very few people ever get a clean hit on Steinkamp and that he works so darned hard even after contact; which will probably make him more effective than you think even against the Indians vaunted defense. All I can say is Bravo, Mr Steinkamp. You are quickly making believers of us all.

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      Previous Winners:

      Week One: ANDRE REYNOLDS, Macon

      Week Two: TYLER STEINKAMP, Mark Twain

      Week Three: BROCK BUTLER, Palmyra

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      KHQA POWER POLL FOR WEEK FIVE

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      1) CLARK COUNTY (4-0)

      Last Week: 42-21 win over Macon

      This Week: at Mark Twain (KHQA GAME OF THE WEEK)

      THE SKINNY: From a psyche standpoint, a key win for the Indians as they get over the Macon Stumbling Block. Granted, this isn't the same Tiger Team, on either side of the football, that it was a year ago. By the same token, when Craig Smith and the Tigers came out on the first series and marched the ball 55 yards to score on the Indians, the feeling of dÃjà vu had to hit a little too close to home for the Clark County faithful. The positive here is that the Indian Offense answered immediately and via a 65 yard touchdown strike from Austin Egley to a wide open Jacob Trump that smothered any spark of a Macon uprising as quickly as it appeared. Hard to quibble much with a Clark County Offense that grinds out 442 yards of total offense and disperses the ball so readily. When Scott Murdock draws up an offensive game plan during the week, this is what he's looking for. The mainstays (Egley, Bryce Boudreau) do a lot of heavy lifting but ultimately just as a defense tries to ferret out a distribution pattern, the Indians serve up a curve to one of the many guys on this team who can change a game in touch. The Trump touchdown was an obvious case of that. Ditto for Logan Prewitt's 44 yard touchdown run, just the latest offering of goodness from this emerging playmaker. Not sure Prewitt isn't a great number one option for about half the teams in Northeast Missouri. Here is just one more weapon in an overloaded arsenal. Defensively, Clark County was more solid than great on Friday. Give some credit to Macon, which can create advantages with its edge speed (see also Levi and Tyrone Walker) and a smart, sound Quarterback in Craig Smith. And the Tigers did a nice job themselves mixing things up on the Indians, creating balance and opportunities. What Clark's defense did largely on Friday was step up big in critical spots (after that initial scoring drive) to disrupt Macon's rhythm or to deny a chance for the Tigers to build any meaningful momentum. Macon is a very decent team and this is easily Clark County's highest value win to date. The schedule is only going to get progressively more interesting with two very physical and gritty defenses on tap in a road trip to Mark Twain and a hosting date with Palmyra on the immediate horizon, before the huge trip to Centralia in three weeks. The Indians can ill afford to lose focus or their own momentum against either of these teams, both of whom have demonstrated an ability to exact a toll on their opponents with physical play. To be honest, I am not sure Centralia could have asked for Clark County to be presented two more fitting games in advance of their own showdown with the Indians. These are two teams that will tenderize you and want to beat you up. Clark County has the physicality to overpower both on paper, but this is high school football and with high school kids, you never know what variables will crop up, making this a much trickier gauntlet for the Indians to run than anyone realizes. How Clark County attends its business the next two weeks will say a lot, I feel, about how the Indians fare in Centralia on October 5th.

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      2) CONCORD TRIOPIA (4-0)

      Last Week: 56-6 win over ISD

      This Week: vs Unity-Payson (Saturday)

      THE SKINNY: Speaking frankly, there really isn't much to be gleaned from last Friday's whitewash of an ISD team way out of its depth. It was a game that was essentially over after Derek Schone returned the opening kickoff for touchdown (the second week in a row the potential All Stater has done that, mind you.) And it was essentially a sparring session for the Trojans, who dropped 35 points in the first quarter and probably could have named their score. Here's the one thing I do like here: Rich Thompson gave opponents one more to chew on by letting Tanner Huddleston showcase his arm with such impressive results. The Trojan QB went 6 of 7 on Friday night for 166 yards and a couple of touchdowns. There is not one person I have talked to in the WIVC who doesn't think Triopia is sitting on an ace with its passing game. The question is when or how much Rich Thompson is will to play that card and that X-factor is going to make it very difficult for the better opponents down the road to game plan these guys. That established, I think Saturday will be an important showing for Triop. Traditionally, this Trojan team hasn't been particularly sharp during Saturday games. There's also the CSE Showdown looming in the horizon. (Not even going to pretend that anything else will be Game of the Week next Monday) And Unity/Payson is coming off an upset win over Routt in which the Mustangs displayed a heightened improvement in their nastiness and resolve defending the run in route to a rare shutout of the Rockets. Anxious to see what tone Concord Triopia sets with this performance in advance of their next.

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      3) CENTRALIA (4-0)

      Last Week: 26-8 win over South Shelby

      This Week: at Brookfield

      THE SKINNY: There aren't a lot of great games on the Week Five Schedule. Centralia/Brookfield is the exception. The Panthers haven't been overwhelmingly impressive in getting to 4-0, but last week's fourth quarter in Shelbina was a step in the right direction. It bears noting that the Centralia Defense did not surrender a single touchdown in the last eight quarters of play and that South Shelby's lone score on Friday came off an Alex Blackford pick six. The Panthers limited a potent Cardinal offense to just 203 yards of total offense to boot. Centralia's "Bermuda Triangle" of Jason Anders, Austin Kinkead and Jesse Arnold continues to snuff out running backs at a prodigious tackle rate with Kinkead leading the charge with 15 stops vs the Cardinals. The Defense Line really stepped it up with huge games from Jacob Hockman and Blair Thall. And the Defensive Backfield limited David Heathman to just 53 passing yards, including a pivotal pick six from Dixon Dollens that ended the upset threat. The good news for Erle Bennett is that his Defenses appears well primed for the JJ Abongo experience next week. The downside here is that the Centralia Offense is still producing only in spurts. I'll say this, however. You have to like the way these guys respond with their backs to the wall. Down 8-7 with 6:45 left to play, the Panthers erupted for three quick touchdowns. Dollens ripped of 132 yards against a South secondary that is very athletic. Now if only the Panthers could find some consistency in the run game. That is an issue Erle Bennett needs to patch up right now. Brookfield is surrendering just 6 points per game against and Nile Thudium is a coach with a proven track record of finding the weak links in an offense and exploiting them. If Brookfield makes the Centralia Offense one-dimensional, the Bulldogs have got a real chance to steal this game on the road and end the CCC streak. Both of these traditionally powerful teams have struggled to find offensive rhythm at times this fall. That said, Brookfield will come into Friday's game off a school record 525 yards rushing outing at Monroe City's expense. So each of these clubs hit this head-to-head with different kinds of momentum working in their favor.

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      4) CENTRAL-SOUTHEASTERN (4-0)

      Last Week: 36-19 win over Brown County

      This Week: at Routt

      THE SKINNY: We were victims of circumstance on Friday in Mount Sterling with a camera that went south on us, so I unfortunately don't have a whole lot to share. All I got to see from film was Bobby Keltz's touchdown run in the first quarter for the Panthers and the 29 yard Braxton Phelps score that came before it. Then...kaput. Strange how the cameras never, ever go down in that battle of 0-4 teams, huh? It's always the big games that we get burned on. Nonetheless, it sounds like Brown County rebounded nicely from the Triopia Debacle and gave a very good Panther squad a heck of a fight for three quarters. A late Dalton Heubner touchdown rumble and a scoop and score from Jacob "Muddy" Waters broke a three point game wide open and allowed the Panthers to pick up their highest value win to date. It's never easy for anyone to win in Mount Sterling, which has the best big game atmosphere of any school in Tri State Football. But the Panthers found a way, even for a team that I am told didn't really have its good fastball Friday Night. Brad Dixon's crew heads to Routt on Friday night, then has a week to tune up for the titanic bout with Triopia. Conventional wisdom says both of those teams will be undefeated coming into that night. And by reading the early tea leaves, that same wisdom says CSE might well be underdogs on its home field on homecoming. Anxious as can be to see how all that sorts itself out. And we will bring a backup camera that night to Camp Point...just in case.

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      5) MACOMB (4-0)

      Last Week: 22-20 win over Orion

      This Week: at Sherrard

      THE SKINNY: Couple a big, powerful offensive line with two of the toughest, grittiest backs in Tri State Football in Jarrod Rockhold and Eli Cousins and you have the Bombers recipe for success against Orion. The Bomber Runners amassed over 350 rushing yards between them as Macomb literally bludgeoned the Charger Defense into submission. It was a good finish to a night that didn't particularly start well (again) for Kelly Sears crew. Orion marched the opening possession right down the field for a quick touchdown on the Bomber Defense and for the second week in a row, Macomb had to fight out of an early hole. This time, it would be a Brett Taylor interception on Orion's second possession that reversed the polarity of this game and allowed Macomb to get back to business. And that's exactly what they did. The Bombers rode the Cousins/Rockhold train for the rest of the night, with Jarrod tallying over 200 yards on the ground and Eli busting for close to 150. In the end, it was another workman like win for Macomb, a team which seems to play just a notch above the level of its competition. The Bombers embark on a two game road trip the next few weeks at Sherrard and PGP before a brutish homestand that features visits from QND and Rockridge. To this point, I think we've only seen about 75% of what Macomb is actually capable of on the field, which is encouraging for at team that is 4-0. The Bombers have yet to string together four really solid quarters of football and I think if they do, there is not a team on the schedule they can't/won't beat. But this squad also needs to prove it can put it all together for an extended stint. I'd suspect these next three games, in which Macomb will be heavy favorites, will give the Bombers a chance to build some momentum for an important close to the season...and a springboard into the Playoffs.

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      6) HANNIBAL (4-0)

      Last Week: 41-14 win at Mexico

      This Week: vs Kirksville

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      THE SKINNY: As promised, the Pirates trip to Mexico was an exercise in dominance. Hannibal jumped out to a 34-0 lead before eventually calling off the dogs and from the way it was described to me, that score was not even indicative of the disparity of talent/execution on Friday. I am told Mark St Clair was actually pulling some of his starters by the early second quarter. Jump started by Mitch Nichols sixty yard touchdown rumble, the Pirate ground game average better than six yards a carry. Both Nichols and Jahwaun Cassidy post two touchdowns a piece. Dalton Powell added a 45 yard touchdown run and threw a perfect strike to Lijah Harrison for an 18 yard touchdown as well. It was color by numbers for a Pirate Offense that looked very crisp in its first half execution for the first time this season. Defensively, Justin Price snared an interception and the Pirates Secondary limited Mexico to just 38% passing efficiency on the night. That's a very tidy bit of work. There will be ample opportunity for that unit to shine at Home on Friday as well against a Kirksville team that hasn't scored a point in its last eight quarters of football. After such a brutal start to the season, Hannibal is getting a bit of scheduling lull in advance of the big showdown with Moberly with Kirksville this week and winless Fulton on the immediate horizon after that. This is a good time for the Pirates to clean up and tune up because after this three week run, there is no hint of relief in sight. The Pirates appear to be a team built for outsized competition. See also their big stage play against QND and QHS. This run is a little different challenge, to see if the Pirates have the maturity and the focus to stay the course when the resistance against them isn't nearly as formidable or engaging. So far, so good.

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      7) JACKSONVILLE (3-1)

      Last Week: 53-13 win over Springfield Southeast

      This Week: at SHG

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      THE SKINNY: The Crimson players were already in a foul mood this week when talk arose of Jacksonville being a potential trap game victim against Southeast. But the intensity and focus in The Ville went to a whole different echelon when Crimson players found themselves confronting the sudden and shocking loss of beloved Assistant Basketball Coach Bobby Hoffman to a stroke on Thursday. And when the Twitter Feed started filling up with heartfelt "For Bobby" dedications from the likes of Bryce Schnitker, Blake Hance, and Diontue Armstrong, Southeast never stood a prayer. They say emotion only carries you into a ball game. That may well be the case, but the mix of sorrow, grief, and a genuine desire to honor the memory of a man these kids adored electrified this team on Friday and it may well be without limit. It's easy to fall into clichà about such things and certainly in the grand scheme of life, sports mean very little. But Bobby's influence on this entire program and this community, his constant positivity and genuine joy he brought to the table working with kids; no one outside the program has the words to giving proper meaning to. And they don't need to. The kids know what was lost and they are dealing with their grief the only way that makes sense: doing the things that they feel in their hearts would do Bobby proud. Motivation is impossible to miss when it's underscored in an effort like the one Friday. Nine touchdowns, for goodness sake, including a pair of Pick Six Interceptions from Kody Wood and Aaron Vasquez. The sublime effort of Andy Mills jumping in at running back and delivering an eleven yard per attempt average. Another two touchdown receiving night from Reggie Bratton. Lets be frank here. The effort the Crimsons delivered on Friday, against a decent Southeast squad, was good enough to beat any team on their schedule. This week will be much harder for Jacksonville, in a number of ways. Not only with the road trip to Griffin, but with all the other bigger, more important emotions involved this week with Bobby's funeral and visitation. It's hard to say how any human being would react to that emotional roller coaster, let alone 18 year old young men. But if Friday's game revealed anything, it is that the character of this Crimson squad is enormous and the wells of reserve here in terms of resolve are immense. I have no idea what to expect out of JHS on Friday but if you are asking me if I would be surprised if the Crimsons stormed into that new Pigskin Palace and handed the Cyclones their first ever loss at the new home, my answer would be no. There's just too much here to like; a lesson that was unfortunately underscored in tragedy this week. But underscored none the less. To paraphrase both Mark Grounds and J.R. Dugan from last week: these are some pretty extraordinary young men.

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      THE NEXT LEVEL

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      8) ILLINI WEST (3-1)

      The Chargers surrender nearly 400 yards of total offense, 22 first downs and 34 points to West Hancock and yet no one seemed too overly worked up about it. Just the nature of the beast this week against a Titan Offense that will get theirs, regardless of opponent or scheme. Bottom line, Tim Lafferty's team found a way to win against type, rolling up 56 points, 522 yards of total offense, and putting three different rushers over 100 yards on the night. Adapt and overcome. That's what good teams do. That's what the Chargers did to get the win, playing against type on Friday. I guarantee the IW Secondary will now be better for the experience as that group will get coached up after a rare moment in the white hot glare. (Brayden Carroll, by the way, with a very strong effort with 12 tackles and interception in the back.) Again, this team is but one fumbled snap away from being 4-0. And after seeing Rockridge in person against PGP, I think the Chargers take care of business on the road this week as well.

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      9) BEARDSTOWN (3-1)

      Cole Huey comes up huge in snuffing out a potential go ahead two-point conversion from a vastly improved Havana squad late in the game to secure the Tigers their third win of the season via a 14-13 thriller; perhaps giving Aaron Elmore a measure of satisfaction after a two-point conversion failure denied the Tigers a chance to beat Elmwood-Brimfield last week. This was not a particularly strong performance from the Tiger Offense, which scored two first half touchdowns on short keepers by Gus Vermillion and had to hold off the Ducks the rest of the way. The second of those scores I am told was set up by a spectacular catch from Delaney Ortiz. Probably not the performance the Tigers were looking for in a statement game, but as always, any win is a good win. Big fun on Friday as the Tigers renew hostilities with arch rival Rushville/Industry .

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      10) QND (2-2)

      Ran into Bill Connell at the Quincy University Game on Saturday Night (which by the way is a nice sign that the new Hawk Coaching regime is reaching out to its own backyard) and he told me Nick Weiman's all around performance against PND (138 rushing yards, 3 TD including the game winner) was about as gutsy and individual performance as he has ever seen from any Raider player in his tenure. I got a chance to listen to this unbelievable finish on the way home from Keokuk and it was football theatre at its finest. Defensive Lineman Jeremy Frieden mad a huge play to kill a potential go ahead touchdown by The Irish in the final 2:30 of the game. Then the Raider Offense mustered the kind of gritty, high pressure drive that showed far more veteran savvy than I think we knew this club had; at least far more than it showed at Helias. QB Joe McCaughey made plays and looked like a big time leader. The Raiders executed a perfect hook and lateral play to Weiman to keep the drive churning. And Nick busted in from a yard out to seal the deal on a play that may well have saved the season. This team was back into a corner after the Helias debacle. Got to love the way it came out of that spot snarling. Lesson: don't you dare write these guys off just yet. Now let's see how the Raiders deal with a rising Peoria High squad and the genius of Tim Thorton on Friday....

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      11) KEOKUK (2-2)

      We finally got the performance we have been waiting for from the Chiefs on Friday, as Keokuk team came roaring back from a 7-0 deficit to Fairfield to bludgeon the Trojans in every conceivable manner. The Keokuk Defense looked stellar, led by Alex Meek and his 11 tackles and 3 stops for loss (in all, the Chiefs accounted for 13 stops behind the line of scrimmage per our friend Brad Cameron at the Daily Gate City) The Chiefs Offense ground up 532 yards and every phase of the attack seemed to be clicking. Gabe Vandenberg threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns. Darrion Sanders got healthy and caught 3 touchdown passes, including a spectacular juggling grab on the sidelines in the 2nd quarter, and went for 176 total receiving yards. Trevor Roth and Matt Nye combined for 254 rushing yards (Nye did a very credible job after Roth left the game with a high ankle sprain.) It was an almost perfect night, save for the Roth injury, which appears to be considerable and will shelve the big Fullback at least until the Homecoming Game October 5th if not for potentially the entire season. It's just a really difficult injury to judge give that all ankles respond differently. Worse still, there is some speculation that Roth's ankle injury came as the result of something unseemly that happened at the bottom of the pile on that play, which would be incredibly unfortunate. Either way, the stage is now set for at least the time being for Matt Nye to seize the day and he appears to be a kid more that equal to the task. Big roadie this week to Washington, a game that if Keokuk can steal, could really set up the Chiefs nicely to springboard right into controlling interest of this District.

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      12) QUINCY HIGH (2-2)

      The Blue Devils had a couple of different opportunities to finish archrival Rocky off at home in the Fourth Quarter, but couldn't find a finishing touch on Offense; especially with Malique Robbins limited by an ankle injury. The end result was a 21-13 lost that was marked by "what ifs" that leaves QHS in the very dangerous position of falling to 2-3 with this week's road trip to powerhouse Alleman. The most glaring thing we took away from Quincy High's loss was that the Blue Devils have to do a better job with their run defense; and in particular, making first contact count. They also have to clean up their penalty issues. The margin for error is much smaller this week and QHS is in the position of likely needing to pull of an upset to position itself to have any real chance of a favorable postseason draw to make a run at that elusive playoff win. And if the Devils aren't careful, there are potential pitfalls with Galesburg and Troy Buchanan at the end of the schedule that could really put QHS on the postseason bubble. If any area team could use an upset this week, it's probably Quincy High.

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      13) PALMYRA (2-2)

      It wasn't necessarily a thing of art in Ewing on Friday, but the Palmyra Panthers extricated themselves from a very tight spot and found a way to push past a suprisingly salty Highland Defense 23-6. P-Town got a wake up call down 6-0 and answered with three scoring strikes, including an 18 yard rumble by powerhouse Fullback Dilan Parrish (who finished the night mauling his way to over 120 rushing yards) and a punt return for TD by Caleb Kizer to seal the deal. The Panther offense suffered a number of self inflicted wounds (interceptions, penalties) that proved to be its own undoing. And those need to get cleaned up in a hurry with Clark County looming. That established, the Panthers are two plays shy of being 4-0 at this juncture and the Defense has been a revelation. This is not the team anyone is going to want to see come District Time.

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      14) SOUTH SHELBY (2-2)

      Hard to find much fault with the Cardinals ever improving Defense, which blanked Centralia in the first half on Friday before flat weaing out. And it was a balanced effort as Zach Grassley's Defense had five guys with eight or more tackles, led by Jacob Trivette's 16 stops. The problem was that said unit spent too much time on the field as the Cardinal Offense really struggled again in the absence of Wes Mefford. Trace Windsor did tag Centralia for 155 rushing yards but he alone accounted for 77% of South's total offensive output and the Cardinal Offense never once reached the end zone. Maybe a struggling Monroe City Defense is the right prescription to get this once potent looking SS Offensive attack back out of mothballs going forward.

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      15) MARK TWAIN (2-2)

      Granted the Tigers two wins have come against winless opponents, but my goodness are these Tigers a physical lot. Tyler Steinkamp's stellar effort (303 yards, 5 TD) dominated the headlines but it is also time to take inventory of what a good job the Offensive Line did in front of Steinkamp and Kacey Simmons this week clearing running lanes. Granted, Louisiana's Offense exposed some of the same issues the Tiger Defense had with Brookfield in Week One, and that doesn't bode well against Austin Egley on Friday. By the same token, this is a team that has shown no fear of anyone and I think that makes for a really interesting clash of styles on Friday Night at the Game of the Week. Very quietly, Matt Hudson has done a whale of a coaching job here this season.

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      The Next Level

      16) MACON (2-2)

      17) BROWN COUNTY (1-3)

      18) KNOX CUONTY (2-2)

      19) PGP (2-2)

      20) WEST HANCOCK (1-3)

      21) FORT MADISON (1-3)

      22) RUSHVILLE/INDUSTRY (1-3)

      23) CLOPTON-ELSBERRY (1-3)

      24) WEST CENTRAL (2-2)

      25) BOWLING GREEN (1-3)

      26) UNITY/PAYSON (1-3)

      27) ROUTT (2-2)

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      WEEK FOUR SNAP JUDGEMENTS

      1) If someone can please make sense of the WIVC for me, I'd greatly appreciate it. Pleasant Hill/Western goes two weeks without scoring a point and hammers a rising West Central squad for 31 in an upset victory. Then Routt can't find the end zone against a Unity/Payson squad that was surrendering 26 points per game coming in? Just a bizarre week of standing shuffling...

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      2) Here we are just shy of half a regular season and two area quarterbacks: West Hancock's Coy Dorothy (1295yds, 15 TD) and Jacksonville's Bryce Schnitker (1089 yards, 12 TD) have already thrown for more than 1000 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. Guess that little skull session Brian Lewton and Mark Grounds had this off-season about passing game scheme paid some dividends...

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      3) Speaking of the high powered Crimson Passing attack, if you are looking for a Darkhorse Player of the Year candidate, how about Jacksonville Wideout Reggie Bratton, who already has amassed eight receiving touchdowns this season and nearly 500 receiving yards just shy of the midway point in this campaign?

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      4) West Hancock's dazzling offensive numbers have made the Titans media darlings but the bottom line is that Brian Lewton's crew essentially has to win out this season to get on the right side of the playoff bubble. For all the buzz over the Titans, it's interesting to note that Pittsfield/Griggsville Perry has quietly positioned itself at 2-2 and four of the teams remaining five games come against teams with records that are either .500 or worse. I'd tell you Don Bigley's crew has feasted at the expense of a pair of lesser foes in Princeton and Bunker Hill, but the Saukees also gave Rockridge all it could handle two weeks ago at Glen C. Smith Field. Just something to keep an eye on this week as the Saukees try to snare a must have win at Monmouth/Roseville.

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      5) New Clopton-Elsberry Skipper Lynn Nutt collected his first career victory in style on Friday night. The IndianHawks set a host of program records in their blowout win over Principia including points scored (64), rushing yards (407), rushing touchdowns (6), 100 yds rushers in game (2), as well as tying the mark for most interceptions in a single contest with three.

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      6) The Louisiana Bulldogs are currently surrendering 43.75 points per game this season. Only ISD (52.2 points per game) has been more generous among area teams to opponents this season. I mention this only to illustrate that if you told me both Monroe City and Louisiana would be winless and in the CCC Cellar at this point, based on what each returned, I would have questioned your sanity. Once again proof that football prognostication is an inexact science...

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      7) The winless Highland Cougars can't seem to get their offense untracked and likely won't win any games until they do. That established, Kenny Grubb's team has shown measurable progress on Defense to date, allowing just 24 points per game so far this season against a slate of opponents that has included stat busters Centralia and Clark County. I know winless teams tend not to garner much in the way of All Area Consideration but don't sleep on Cougar Linebacker Chris Sparks, who is bagging tackles at a tremendous rate in averaging better than 14 stops per game. That is a pace that could put him over 200 stops this season; better numbers than most All State honorees.

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      8) Too early to start talking Player of the Year race? In my book, yes. But if you are less rigid than I: advantage Nick Weiman. The QND star delivered as big, in as meaningful a spot, in as many ways as any kid I can remember since maybe Matt Paris this week. By the way, we will be delivering all our KHQA "Midway" Awards in this space next week.

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      9) Not to go all Matthew Berry on you, but my Zach Abney, Tyler Steinkamp, Charles Fraction suggestions in this space were golden last week. So in that spirit: great plays for your Tri-State Fantasy Football team this week? South Shelby Running Backs (Trace Windsor, Andrew Teel) figure to be very hot commodities. I think Bubba Patterson comes up huge in the rivalry game for Beardstown against Rushville-Industry. And Gabe Vandenberg is a must play for Keokuk from here on out, especially with Trevor Roth sidelined. Sneaky good plays, you ask? Zach Miller is a must as the Scotland County speedster now has chiseled away some rust and draws a favorable matchup with North Shelby.

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      10) I have but one football pet peeve, my friends. A Hook and Ladder is a Fire Truck and has nothing to do with football. The Hook and Lateral is the trick play QND ran to win Friday Night's game over Peoria Notre Dame. The play is so named because the wide receiver runs a hook pattern and then laterals the football to one of his teammates. Over the years, the term has devolved into "Hook and Ladder" because there were/are people who can't fathom what a "lateral" was/is. You now know better. Please help turn the tide on this annoying "dumbing down" of the sport we all love. Thank you. History lesson/Duerr Gripe session over...for this year.

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      WEEK FIVE FEARLESS PREDICTIONS

      Last Week: 14 of 16 (87.5%)

      Season to date: 59 of 68 (86.7%)

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      PEORIA CENTRAL 20

      QND 18

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      QUINCY HIGH 12

      ALLEMAN 24

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      JACKSONVILLE 30

      SHG 38

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      WEST HANCOCK 28

      ORION 35

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      MACOMB 30

      SHERRARD 7

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      ILLINI WEST 42

      ROCKRIDGE 28

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      CSE 40

      ROUTT 18

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      UNITY/PAYSON 6

      TRIOPIA 42

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      BROWN COUNTY 54

      ISD 8

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      BEARDSTOWN 36

      R/I 14

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      KEOKUK 28

      WASHINGTON 7

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      KIRKSVILLE 12

      HANNIBAL 42

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      SOUTH SHELBY 30

      MONROE CITY 14

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      CLARK COUNTY 30

      MARK TWAIN 8

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      LOUISIANA 28

      PALMYRA 48

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      BROOKFIELD 20

      CENTRALIA 21

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      MACON 14

      HIGHLAND 0

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      KNOX COUNTY 6

      MILAN 28

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      RANDOM MUSINGS

      With his first ever professional win at the Albertson Boise Open this week, Quincian Luke Guthrie has secured his PGA Tour Card for the 2013 season. Luke set a new Tournament Record for lowest score in the event (the longest tenured tournament on the Web.com Tour and regarded by at least one Golf Channel talking head this weekend as one of that tour's Major Championships) with a 22 under par 262 that also moves him to fourth on the Tour Money List. Luke also appeared on a live interview Tuesday Morning as part of the Golf Channel's Champions Day festivities. The hits just keep coming....

      Per Jacksonville High Basketball Boss JR Dugan, Central Michigan was the latest Division One Basketball program in for a look-see on talented Crimson Forward Josh Peak.

      The hard luck continues for Quincy Notre Dame product and current Western Illinois Offensive Lineman Max Dancer, who was likely lost for the season with a knee injury in the Necks loss at Iowa State on Saturday. Better news for another QND alum. Kicker Pat Smith is tied for third nationally in field goals made with 6. His 6-for-6 percentage ties him for second in the country right behind Sean Baner of Delaware (7-of-7). He now surpassed his previous high of five made in 2010. The junior kicker is up to 89 career points.

      Tough Home Debut for Tom Pajic and the Quincy University Hawks, who struggled mightily on Offensve against Indy on Saturday Night . The Hawks never crossed midfield in the first half and were limited to just 89 yards of total offense in the first two quarters. The Hawks did finish the game with 240 yards of total offense and avoided the shutout with a late fourth quarter score by LaDarion Shelby, but much of that damage was done long after the game was decided. Rome wasn't built in a day and clearly the QU staff has a long road to hoe ahead.

      On the recruiting front, I am told Quincy University has shown interest in Keokuk Fullback Trevor Roth.

      Duerrisms Kudos to Dave Musso and Mike Carpenter at Quincy University, who have both the Lady Hawks and Hawks in the NCAA Division Two Soccer Top Ten this season simultaneously for the first time in school history.

      A change of heart by reigning KHQA Male Student Athlete of the Year Alex Walter, who enrolled at Augustana to pursue track and field but has now joined the Viking Golf Team as well. Back on September 7th, Walter (playing as a true Freshman) led the Vikings to fourth place as a team in the Duane Chanay Invitational in Port Byron, Illinois with a third place individual finish at 71. More recently, Alex finished 13th individually at the Scot-Fire-Viking Classic in Monmouth.

      A red letter win this week for the Hannibal Volleyball Program, which beat Quincy Notre Dame in straight games at home on Tuesday 25-19, 25-20. This is a program that just continues to ascend in the week of last years breakthrough District Championship over Rock Bridge. Carli Watson continues to do an extraordinary job feeding all of the Lady Pirates various hitting weapons and Amber Riefesel call the breakthrough win on Tuesday the first time this season this year's team looked like last years team. This is a very veteran lineup with players who embrace and excel in their given roles, be it Melanie Blase setting the Defensive Tempo at the net, Katherine Allen providing remarkable all around game, or Gabbie Wiley, Brooke Watson, and Kay Gieseke doing their thing on the outside. On top of it all, this is a team that serves very well across the board. Nice to see the Pirates continue on their upward trajectory...and enjoying such great fan support along the way as well.

      Got a chance to watch the Central Lee Volleyball Team in person for the first time this season at the Keokuk Tournament and was very impressed with the skill level the Lady Hawks boast. This is a team that has been a bit up and down at times, but clearly there is talent and size in play here (doesn't hurt to have a 6'3" middle hitter in Taylor Burdette) but there is a lot of athleticism (see also basketball stalwarts Jada Mathison, Jordan Greenfield and Traci Keller off the bench) all about the court and this is a team that has real sleeper potential, as evidenced by a Semifinals berth at Keokuk this weekend. And don't sleep on emerging hitters Raegan Mickelson and Bailey McCoy, who I came away most impressed with on Saturday morn.

      Tremendous weekend showing from the Monroe City Softball squad, which ran the table as the Four Seed at the Bulldog Invitational to take top honors by holding off Highland 7-6 in the finals. Carly Spalding is fast proving to be as big a factor on the diamond as she is on the track. The Lady Panther Speedster went 3 for 3 in the Championship Game with an Inside the Park home run in the offing. This is a team that could be a dangerous draw come District Time.

      The Clark County Softball team already has more wins this season (13) than it amassed the last two seasons combined. Saturday's thrilling Paris Tournament Semifinal comeback which saw Adam Rung's team score 7 runs in the bottom of the seventh to upset Salisbury 9-8 in route to an eventual tournament championship likely goes down as the best of that "lucky 13" to this point. There is a nice little revitalization going on in Kahoka right now.

      Updating a story we brought you earlier this week, Monroe City native Lenny Wood tells KHQA that his ceremonial first pitch at Busch Stadium on Tuesday night in advance of the Cardinals/Astros game (an honor he won online in the Scott's Turf Design the Field contest) hit just right of the plate. Joe Kelly, who represented the Cardinals behind home plate caught the pitch and told Lenny he did a very nice job with the throw. Lenny also says he got autographs from Matt Carpenter, Mike Matheny, and had a nice chat with ex-Redbird Tyler Greene during his stay at Busch Stadium, calling it a moment he will never forget in his life. Very neat, fun story.

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