- Cape student sues, accuses school officials of slamming her to ground multiple times (04/28/16)45
- Bob Evans restaurant in Cape Girardeau among chain's 21 closings (04/26/16)9
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- Police report filed, but no charges in incident at Cape Central (04/29/16)37
- Two hurt in motorcycle wreck on Interstate 55 (04/25/16)1
- Senator introduces bill for I-57 that would connect Sikeston with Little Rock (04/28/16)4
- Law firm requests information about Cape's traffic cameras (04/25/16)2
- Local lawmakers split over failed medical marijuana bill; voters may have a say (04/26/16)19
- Local company makes eco-friendly kitty litter that cuts cat-box smell (04/25/16)
- Man accused of pointing BB gun at Chaffee resident (04/26/16)2
Can Pirates go from playoffs to 0-10 to playoffs?
Five reasons why they will
Perryville coach Rick Chastain has the kind of positive outlook that can view an 0-10 football season as a precursor to great things. And that's just what he's doing.
Perryville was winless last season, but had three close losses in the last four weeks, including two district games.
"It was a very tough season but it was a year we continually built character," Chastain said. "We took a positive out of every game we played, especially the last three.
"I see a lot of positive things. I see a group that's working hard in practice and getting better and better with every practice. They're wanting to turn things around, and I believe they have the mentality and attitude to do it."
A winnable district
Perryville remains in a Class 3 district with New Madrid County Central, Kennett and defending champion Dexter.
The Pirates in 2004 took a 2-5 record into district play and emerged as the champions. Last year, they lost 21-20 in overtime to Kennett and 6-0 in the finale against Dexter.
"We went into the district games last year and no one gave us hardly a chance," Chastain said. "With just a few minutes to go in the ballgame, it was 0-0 with Dexter, and we took Kennett into overtime. The kids never gave up last year.
"I like to feel like we're going to make history the way we're going to turn things around, going from 0-10 to 10-0 maybe," he added. "If you expect great things, great things can happen."
Chastain calls his offense "taking what the defense gives us." But he also likes to have fun trying to move the ball, willing to throw the ball around more than most coaches.
"I'd like to run 80/20," he said, "but it depends on the defense. and we'll do what we have to do."
Perryville put the ball in the air 179 times last year, which ranked second in the area.
"I think this year, we're going to be a little bit better in the running game," Chastain said, "and a little better in the passing game as well."
Perryville will be able to employ its versatile offense with an experienced senior quarterback leading the way, and a junior running back who was the team's featured back at times last year.
Ryan Schilling passed for 699 yards last year with a completion rate better than 50 percent (69 of 134 for a 51.5 completion percentage). He also threw for four touchdowns.
Kris Cottner was one of Perryville's top rushers last year with 238 yards on 61 carries.
Perryville's varsity roster includes 24 sophomores, which means growing pains to many people.
"It's going to be a young group, but most of these kids played last year," Chastain said. "Even though they're a young group, they've got experience. That's a positive.
"The sophomores are a wonderful group. A few are vying for varsity starting spots. For the first time in a long time, we're pretty deep in a number of spots."
Five reasons why they won't
With youth sometimes comes mistakes. Perryville made six turnovers in each game in losses to New Madrid County Central and Park Hills and four against Herculaneum and Windsor. Their high-risk passing attack resulted in 18 interceptions.
This year's team features no returning receivers other than the running backs Cottner and Travis Brown, who combined for nine catches.
Losses of top players
Perryville must replace the six leading pass catchers -- including one of the area's best in Ryan Regelsperger, who caught 32 passes for 409 yards -- and the top rusher and leading scorer from last year. Also gone, from the defense is linebacker Blake Dannenmueller.
The Pirates may have more depth, but Chastain expects his 12 top offensive players --Schilling, Cottner, junior running back Brian Birchler (6-0, 172), junior receiver Ryan Lorenz (5-10, 161), senior receiver T.J, Kirn (6-2, 174), senior tight end Tyler Bauwens, senior tackles Duane Ruch and Mark Webb, senior center Andrew Telle, and junior guards Waylon Sparkman and Chad Voelker (5-9, 235) -- to see a lot of the defensive action as well.
After not winning a game last season, turning into a district contender is no easy task. Chastain insists his team stayed positive through the season and the offseason, perhaps realizing the team wasn't far from district contention.
Tough MAFC competition
Surviving a tough league slate, with Herculaneum and Ste. Genevieve, will be tough.