Murray St. continues to be thorn for SEMO

Sunday, October 21, 2001

Southeast Missouri State University and Murray State have a spirited rivalry. In virtually every sport, the schools simply don't seem to like each other. It's all clean, healthy competition. That's what college athletics are all about.

And when it comes to football, SEMO has even more reason for disdain.

That's because the Indians, try as they might, just can't beat the Racers.

Saturday's SEMO homecoming contest at Houck Stadium -- played on a picture-perfect day for football and in front of an enthusiastic crowd of more than 10,000 -- seemed to offer the Indians' best chance in recent memory to finally end their eight-game losing streak against the Racers.

Sure, Murray had totally dominated SEMO on the gridiron over the years, owning an overall 30-4-1 edge. And over the past six seasons, the Racers had beaten the Indians by a combined score of 176-63.

But last year, in Tim Billings first season as SEMO's coach, the Indians were highly competitive before falling 38-28.

With an obviously improved team this year that had already matched last season's victory total of three, the Indians were poised to finally gain a measure of revenge against the Kentucky squad.

And for a half Saturday, things were looking good for SEMO. The Indians led 21-14 and seemed to be in good shape.

But then came the third quarter. The Racers totally dominated the period on both sides of the ball, taking control and ultimately scoring 24 straight points during one stretch as they cruised to a 45-35 victory.

And if you're a SEMO football fan, you can only think about next year, when the young Indians should be even better.

Of course, the Racers are fairly young themselves, so they should also be better.

Which should only keep the rivalry full of plenty of fuel.

The district season for area high school football teams opened Thursday and Friday with no major surprises, although there were a couple of interesting developments.

For starters, Cape Central finally lived up to its preseason billing with a dominating -- and surprisingly easy -- 32-9 win over Sikeston.

And Jackson had all kinds of trouble before disposing of a supposedly weak Vianney squad 49-35.

But the bottom line is that both teams prevailed. And when the regular season is over, nobody is going to remember what the scores were -- just what the outcome was.

And one more thought on the local prep grid scene.

To the recent Speak Out callers who blame Central losing so badly to Jackson recently because of a non-existent -- or extremely weak -- weight-training regimen:

As much respect as I have for the Jackson coaches and their football program, they are not the only squad around that pumps plenty of iron, as the Speak Out callers might suggest.

Just because Jackson happens to be better than Central right now -- with a superior group of overall athletes, and a larger talent pool to choose from -- doesn't mean it's because they lift so many weights and Central doesn't.

It's hard to imagine a more dominant series of pitching performances than what Arizona's Curt Schilling has turned in during the National League playoffs so far.

Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian

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