The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team won't begin official practice until late next week, but Southeast's women will get an early jump on things for the second year in a row.
Second-year Southeast coach Ty Margenthaler again will take advantage of a relatively new NCAA rule, implemented last season, that allows Division I women's squads to begin practice 40 days before their first game. They still are allowed only 30 practices, the same as under the old system. The Redhawks first official practice will be today.
Margenthaler said he likes the rule from the standpoint that it allows the Redhawks to take their time and not rush to try and cram everything in. It also affords them the opportunity to take more time off than previously, which he believes should help keep them stay fresher.
Southeast, as expected, had a rough first season under Margenthaler, but he said he anticipates significant improvement during year two of his rebuilding project.
Meanwhile, Southeast's men have made huge strides under fourth-year coach Dickey Nutt, and most people expect the progress to continue.
The couple of college basketball preview magazines I've seen so far pick the Redhawks second in the Ohio Valley Conference West Division, behind defending OVC champion Murray State.
The Southeast football team failed to notch its second straight OVC upset.
But the Redhawks still should feel pretty decent about their 1-1 league start that has come against two of the three defending OVC tri-champions.
Southeast suffered its first conference loss Saturday, falling 31-16 at perennial OVC power Jacksonville State. The Gamecocks pulled away late in the game by scoring the final 14 points.
The Gamecocks' win wasn't a surprise, especially since you knew they would be breathing fire after opening their league schedule with a 30-point loss at preseason favorite Eastern Kentucky, another of the squads that earned a piece of last year's conference title.
Southeast, which began its OVC slate with that wild 41-38 double-overtime home victory over Tennessee Tech, is 2-3 overall as it enters its bye week.
The Redhawks resume conference play Oct. 13, hosting always talented Tennessee State. The Tigers (5-0) are the OVC's only club with a perfect overall record.
Wild scores continued to highlight the offensive-minded OVC on Saturday.
Eastern Illinois, one of the league's surprise teams so far, keeps piling up points. The Panthers crushed visiting Austin Peay 65-15.
Murray State took out its frustrations from the previous week's tough overtime loss at Eastern Illinois by blitzing visiting Tennessee Tech 70-35.
Eastern Kentucky joined Jacksonville State in taking a more normal route to a win, rallying past host Tennessee-Martin 28-16.
Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Illinois are both 2-0 in OVC play, with Tennessee State 1-0. Every other OVC squad has at least one league loss.
Southeast, Jacksonville State, Tennessee-Martin and Murray State are all 1-1, followed by Tennessee Tech at 0-2 and Austin Peay at 0-3.
Sikeston arguably stamped itself as the region's top high school football team with Friday's 26-17 win over visiting Jackson in a matchup that featured two 5-0 squads.
That leaves only two undefeated teams in the region, the other being Portageville. The Bulldogs continued their resurgence with Friday's impressive 46-13 home rout of Scott City.
One of the area's hardest-luck squads is Central, which suffered its third consecutive tough loss and its second consecutive defeat during which the opposition scored the winning touchdown in the closing minutes.
Host Farmington completed a 38-yard TD pass with 20 seconds left to stun the Tigers 39-36. I covered that game and it was unbelievably exciting.
Central had no answer for Knights junior quarterback Justin Boehm, who accounted for all six Farmington touchdowns and 434 yards of total offense in a spectacular performance. Boehm almost single-handedly took down the Tigers.
The regular season is winding down for many local high school fall sports teams. It has wound all the way down in two sports.
Softball and tennis squads will compete in district tournaments this week.
Two district softball tournaments will be hosted by local teams. Class 4 District 1 is being played in Jackson and Class 2 District 1 is being held in Scott City.
Central and Notre Dame will host district tennis competition.
Southeast lost a member of one of its noted football teams last week when Fred Lindy passed away in Cape Girardeau. He was 78.
Lindy, a Chaffee High School graduate, played football at Southeast in the 1950s and was a member of the school's 1955 team that went 9-0 and won the MIAA title. That squad was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.
Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian.