New season brings change, optimism

Friday, September 1, 2006

Not many good things can be said about the 2005 high school football season for local teams.

One of them is this: It's over.

And it ended quickly.

For the first time since 1992, none of the six teams in the Southeast Missourian coverage area made the playoffs.

Two of them -- Perryville and Chaffee -- didn't win a game, and two others finished below .500.

The combined record: 19-41, with only St. Vincent (7-3) and Jackson (6-4) posting winning records.

2006 looks brighter.

For Chaffee, a loser in 34 consecutive contests, a schedule that has a little easier load -- Rector, Ark., also was winless last year -- comes at a time when the team has some returning talent and a large turnout.

Perryville opens at home against another team with a long losing streak, Pacific, one year after opening with three difficult road games. And in Class 3, the Pirates have proven to be district contenders no matter what happens the first seven weeks.

Scott City also hopes last year's rebuilding around a sophomore group turns into a winning season.

Central has changed its schedule and will work with experienced skill position players.

Jackson is in a similar situation, thanks to restructured district and six returning offensive starters -- including quarterback Rex Meyr and fullback Josh Wheeler.

St. Vincent also has a slight change in its district, splitting from Ste. Genevieve Valle after the two rivals have played decisive district games the last two years. That should help offset the loss of the area's top player over the last two seasons, Waylon Richardet, now at Missouri State.

With the changes that take place annually in high school football and the optimism that comes with the summer practices, there also are questions.

Each of the high school football preview headlines is a question the team hopes to answer as each tries to improve its record and return to the playoffs. Each preview also answers the larger looming question with five reasons why a team will or won't make the state playoffs.

District assignments

Class 1 District 2

Chaffee, Hayti, Portageville, St. Vincent

Class 2 District 2

Crystal City, Grandview, Scott City, Festus St. Pius

Class 3 District 1

New Madrid County Central, Dexter, Kennett, Perryville

Class 4 District 1

Central, Poplar Bluff, Sikeston, West Plains

Class 5 District 1

Eureka, Jackson, Parkway West, Seckman

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