This week's football games

Friday, October 2, 2009

Today's Games

Central (0-5) at Poplar Bluff (3-2)

Last week: Sikeston 33, Central 6; Poplar Bluff 57, North County 7

Last year: Poplar Bluff 21, Central 20

Outlook: For the second year in a row, Central finds itself winless as it faces Poplar Bluff in the sixth week of the season. The Tigers have demonstrated spunk over the past three weeks, but thus far not the ability to win. Central led both Obion County (Tenn.) and Farmington at halftime, and only trailed unbeaten Sikeston 19-6 in the third quarter of its last game. "It's not like where we were last year at this time," Central coach Rich Payne said. "We've been more competitive. We just have to keep working at it." After rushing for 160 yards in his season debut in Week 4, Central running back Brandon Pickens rushed for only 22 yards on seven carries against Sikeston. The Tigers netted just 71 yards on the ground against Sikeston on 29 attempts. Payne said junior running back James Poindexter, who had a 190-yard game against New Madrid in the second week, could see more action this week. The Tigers had a close brush with their first win last season against Poplar Bluff, falling by one point. The Tigers did follow up that with a win against Seckman the next week as it readied for the district part of its schedule. "We're halfway through the season, and we would like to get a win under our belt so we have some positive momentum going into district," Payne said. Poplar Bluff has been explosive on offense, with 34 points its lowest output this season. Central's single-game high is 35 points. The Mules scored 50 points in the first half against North County last week and fell seven yards short of their third straight game of at least 500 yards on offense. The Mules took their foot off the accelerator after piling up 377 yards in the first half. Senior running back Zach Ferguson, who is on pace to become Bluff's career rushing leader later this season, rushed for 204 yards on 13 carries last week and had 192 yards in Week 4. Eljie Johnson collected 120 yards in the first half against North County. Both Ferguson and Johnson have more than 600 yards rushing this season and average at least 10 yards a carry. Senior quarterback Zach McAnulty directs the Mules' offense.

St. Vincent (1-4) at Crystal City (2-3)

Last week: St. Vincent 27, St. Pius 14; Valle 34, Crystal City 19

Last year: St. Vincent 28, Crystal City 0

Outlook: St. Vincent gave coach Paul Sauer his first win since a successful five-year run with the team from 1995 to 1999 where the Indians averaged almost 10 wins a season. Sauer addressed his team's second-half swoons by banishing two-way play last week, and it paid immediate dividends. Senior running back C.J. Pavlovsky turned into a workhorse on offense with 40 carries for 246 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Tim Schumer threw all six of his completions to Kyle Rollet, including a pair of touchdown passes. The 27 points were a season-high for the Indians. Crystal City had won back-to-back games against Chaffee and Ste. Genevieve but was stopped by unbeaten Valle Catholic last week. Crystal City runs a spread offense led by senior quarterback Neil Slabby, who has completed 65 percent of his passes and thrown seven touchdowns. Slabby spreads his passes fairly evenly between sophomore Stacy Thorton, junior Jacob Duncan and seniors Daniel Rothweiler and Anthony Klos. Thorton leads the group with 29 catches for 369 yards, but each of the others has at least 19 catches and more than 200 yards receiving. Senior running back Ryan Jurkowski is the team's leading rusher with 273 yards.

Chaffee (1-3) at East Prairie (4-1)

Last week: Scott City 27, Chaffee 6; Fredericktown 40, East Prairie 3

Last year: East Prairie 53, Chaffee 8

Outlook: Chaffee has lost its last three games after opening its season with a win. The losses have been by a combined 108-26 score, with the most recent a 27-6 loss to rival Scott City. Junior quarterback Jordan Yahn completed 16 of 27 passes for 131 yards in the loss. The Red Devils' defense yielded 293 yards rushing to Scott City. Chaffee played without its leading tackler, junior linebacker Cody Enderle, who was out with a knee injury. Chaffee coach Charlie Vickery said Enderle is out for the season with the ACL injury. "He's really been a good linebacker for us," Vickery said. "He really came on strong last year and the first part of this year. Hopefully somebody will step up." Senior Jordan White replaced Enderle last week and Vickery said the Red Devils are moving to a 4-4 alignment instead of 4-3. Yahn, a safety, has been moved up to linebacker. Vickery said the Red Devils have had a great week of practice, which has been spent addressing mistakes. "We've worked on playing the cut back and just trusting each other and playing their position," Vickery said. East Prairie, which got off to its first 4-0 start since 1994, suffered its first loss last week to Fredericktown. Vickery refers to the Eagles as a balanced team that will mix rushing and passing. The Eagles feature a power running game, spearheaded by junior tailback Aaron Miller, who has more than 500 yards rushing.

Jackson (0-5) at Farmington (3-2)

Last week: Hazelwood Central 38, Jackson 3; Farmington 36, Rockwood Summit 33

Last year: Farmington 42, Jackson 38

Outlook: Jackson returns to SEMO North Conference action after playing the defending Class 6 state champion Hazelwood Central Hawks last week. The Hawks, ranked No. 1 this season, were not an ideal opponent for a program having its worst season since 1992. The Indians rushed 25 times for 19 yards and had 74 yards of offense against the powerhouse. The inability to generate offense has hampered Jackson all season. Jackson is averaging about 125 yards of offense per game and has been getting less than 2 yards per rush attempt. Jackson will make some changes in personnel with linebacker Cole Rodgers still sidelined with a knee strain. "We'll try a different combination on defense and some on offense," Jackson coach Van Hitt said. Ryan Marble will replace Rodgers at inside linebacker this week, and Michael Riney will move from linebacker to center, with the center moving over to guard. The Indians find a Farmington team that has won its last two games after suffering losses to Illinois Class 8A Belleville East and Missouri Class 4's second-ranked Jefferson City Helias. The Knights rallied with two touchdowns in the final 5 minutes to defeat Rockwood Summit by three points last week. "They just willed themselves to win," Hitt said. "They have great confidence in what they're doing offensively, and they run their offense very well." In Farmington's only other conference game -- a 44-28 victory against Central -- quarterback Zach Hibbits threw for three touchdowns and sophomore running back Connor DaVault topped 100 yards. "[Hibbits] doesn't throw interceptions and he doesn't throw the ball where the receiver can't catch it," Hitt said. The Knights run a no-huddle, spread offense.

Confluence Prep Academy (3-1) at Scott City (1-4)

Last week: Scott City 27, Chaffee 6

Last year: Confluence Prep Academy did not exist.

Outlook: Week 6 of the Missouri high school season originally was an open date for Scott City. The Rams, coming off their first win of the season, have filled the hole with a first-year football program from a first-year charter school in downtown St. Louis. The school, which has an enrollment of 233 students, currently has just a freshman and sophomore class, but plans to expand to juniors next year and seniors thereafter. Confluence, which won't be assigned to a Missouri enrollment classification until next school year, is a mystery team for Scott City coach Jim May, who recorded his first coaching victory at his alma mater last week against rival Chaffee. "I don't know how it's going to play out," May said. "I don't think they'll be real sophisticated, but they do have some athletes. They're going to be young, but shoot, I'm starting two freshmen. We're not real old ourselves. We'll have to come out and play well." The Titans are 3-1, but the wins -- by a combined 146-0 -- have come against the JV teams of Kennedy and Metro East Lutheran as well as the lone squad of Barat Academy, a team that fielded mainly juniors. The Titans' loss was a 33-24 setback to the varsity team at Christian High School. "We're looking forward to coming down and playing a varsity team," Confluence coach John Diehl said. "Scott City will be a great opportunity for us. It's a great opportunity for us to learn and expand." Diehl said his team does not do too much fancy. Some lopsided games have kept the Titans ground oriented, but he said his team can display a 50-50 blend of passing and running. Freshman Brian Reed and sophomore Jermain Calmese split time at quarterback and sophomore Chris Hicks, who averages 10 yards a carry, is the team's leading rusher with 506 yards. "Scott City gives us the opportunity to take it up a few notches, and that's what we need," Diehl said. For Scott City, senior running Garett Schaefer has been a handful in recent weeks. Schaefer rushed for 169 yards on 23 carries against Chaffee and has been averaging around 150 yards the last four games. The game is Scott City's homecoming. "We're looking at this as our Super Bowl," Diehl said. "We have nothing to lose. Nobody gives us a chance of winning."

Saturday's game

Fredericktown (2-3) at Perryville (0-5)

Last week: Fredericktown 40, East Prairie 3; Potosi 35, Perryville 7

Last year: Fredericktown 41, Perryville 20

Outlook: It's homecoming in Perryville, and the Pirates are looking to avoid their first 0-6 start since going winless in 2005. Perryville found itself overmatched by unbeaten and state-ranked Potosi last week, trailing 35-0 at halftime. The Trojans rolled up 379 yards of offense by intermission. "We need to cut down on mistakes," Perryville coach Keith Winkler said. "We had five turnovers last week. You give a team five turnovers and it's hard to win. And we have to play disciplined football." The Pirates find a less imposing opponent this week, but Fredericktown is coming off back-to-back victories after starting the season 0-3. "They've really got it rolling," Winkler said. The Blackcats returned quarterback A.P. Lewandowski from injury in a 36-14 victory against Scott City, then routed previously unbeaten East Prairie last week. Winkler described Fredericktown as a power running team that tries to work in the pass. Junior tailback Jacob Farmer rushed for 171 yards against East Prairie.

-- Jeff Breer

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