Mario put on a super show for prep fans

Sunday, September 30, 2001

It's almost hard to believe, but the Missouri high school football regular season is already halfway over. And what a half of a year it's been for Jackson and Mario Whitney.

"Super" Mario put on a show for the ages Friday night, rushing for a state record 460 yards as the undefeated Indians mauled Parkway North 56-22. The dazzling Whitney has more than 1,100 yards and 20 touchdowns in five games.

True, Jackson has not exactly played a killer schedule so far. But the Indians have blown away all five of their opponents.

Going into the season, next Friday's game against arch-rival Cape Central looked to be an extremely rugged test for the Indians -- and it still very well might be.

Central leads the overall series between the Cape County rivals 55-32-7, but Jackson has won six of the past seven meetings, including the last two. It's hard to imagine the red-hot Indians not making it three in a row over the struggling Tigers, but Central will have ample opportunity to prove me wrong.

Over in Illinois, Anna-Jonesboro continues to be mighty impressive as the Wildcats are 6-0. They clinched a playoff berth Friday night under Illinois' new postseason format.

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

Southeast Missouri State University's football team experienced both those wide ranges of emotions in their past two games.

Just one week after pulling off a scintillating 38-33 comeback win at Illinois State, the Indians suffered a heartbreaking 20-14 loss at Tennessee State Saturday as they were stopped on three consecutive downs from the Tigers' 1-yard line in the final seconds.

I've said it many times before and I'll say it again: SEMO might not be perfect, but the Indians are definitely exciting.

The Missouri high school softball postseason begins this week and one area district tournament in particular looks to be a real doozy.

Notre Dame is the No. 1 seed for the 2A, District 2 tourney in Crystal City, having beaten No. 2 seed Kelly twice this season. But Kelly has won an amazing 15 straight district titles. Those squads are heavily favored to hook up in Friday's finals, which would be some battle.

Other district meets involving local squads will take place in Jackson (4A), Perryville (3A) and Naylor (1A), where Delta is the top seed and, like Kelly, is shooting for a return trip to the state's final four.

For selfish reasons, I'd rather if Michael Jordan had not come out of retirement because the way he ended his career -- or so we thought -- was simply magnificent.

But if Michael wants to return to basketball, that's his decision to make. And, even though it's doubtful he'll still be the game's best player, with the enormous pride we all know he has, I'd say he's pretty confident that he'll be able to more than hold his own against the NBA's young studs.

So far, so good regarding the Rams' new-look defense, which has held up impressively during wins at Philadelphia and San Francisco to start the season.

The Rams' 'D' might not face a severe test today when Miami visits the Trans World Dome, but the St. Louis offense certainly will because the Dolphins have one of the NFL's top defenses.

Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian

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