The Central Tigers have no other choice than to be quick healers this season.
With a Thursday night game against Graves Co., Ky., looming, Central wasn't afforded much time Saturday to dwell on their first loss of the season, a 35-28 double-overtime defeat suffered the night before at North County.
The Central staff got back to work at 8 a.m. and the players returned for film study and scouting reports in the afternoon. But the Tigers' second double overtime game with North County in two seasons was not totally forgotten.
"For a fan it had to be great," Brookins said. "For coaches and athletes it gives you a heart attack."
The Tigers (3-1) were left contemplating the future of senior linebacker Jeremiah Dukes, who suffered a knee injury. Dukes, the team's leading tackler, had a rough night, first going down with a stinger only to later return and sustain the knee injury on a clip.
Dukes returned for a few plays in the second half before removing himself.
Dukes had the knee examined Saturday and will have it re-evaluated on Monday. Brookins speculated only as far to say that Dukes is doubtful for Thursday.
The Tigers were left young at linebacker. Central moved sophomore outside linebacker Mikell Abraham into the middle and inserted junior Kyle Schuessler in Abraham's spot. The Tigers were already playing a sophomore, Brandon Twiggs, at the other outside spot.
Different time zone?
The Tigers, expecting to begin the game at 7:30 p.m., were in for a surprise when they arrived in Bonne Terre, Mo., at 5 p.m. North County officials informed the Tigers of a 7 p.m. start.
Brookins, who said all of Central's schedules read 7:30, argued for more time to no avail.
Central emerged sluggish from the locker room, falling behind 14-0, but Brookins said the moved up start was not a factor.
"It probably shocked us coaches more than the kids," he said. "But it's not a valid reason to explain our flatness at beginning of the game. For some reason we weren't real sharp."
The early start left the Tigers' game film a little short. Central's film man, anticipating a 7:30 start, didn't arrive until the second quarter.
Downplaying the future
After the game several Tigers voiced anticipation of another sectional showdown with North County, while Raiders coach Matt Haug was in his one-game-at-a-time mode.
"Don't even think about that," Haug retorted. "Hillsboro is a very good team. A big strong team."
Hillsboro, of course, is the Raiders' next opponent.
Brookins preaches to his players to expect success and realized some of their post-game words could be taken wrong.
"We talk to them about expectations," Brookins said. "Don't hope that you can do this and wish that you can do this -- expect to do it.
"I think the kids know deep down inside what goes on eight weeks from now doesn't matter. We've all got to take care of our business one game at a time to get there again, but I don't think you're being rude by saying there is a possibility."
Monroe Hicks topped the 100-yard rushing mark for the third straight game, finishing with 102 yards on 17 carries. Mitch Craft rushed for 52 yards on 15 carries and passed for 181 yards. Overall the Tigers finished with 338 yards of offense.
Central limited North County to 57 yards rushing, but junior quarterback Adam Howard battled cramps to complete 78 percent of his passes for 325 yards. Howard, who came into the game completing 67 percent of his passes, displayed a strong arm that also makes him one of the top baseball players in the region. During his sophomore season Howard had 73 strikeouts in 44 innings while going 6-1. He also led a strong Raider team in home runs and RBIs.
Scott City falls to Valle
For one quarter, all was well with Scott City when it visited the Valle Warriors.
The Rams (1-3) closed the period with a 13-12 lead but that's as good as it got. Valle (1-3) retaliated with 38 unanswered points for a 50-13 victory.
Valle kept the Scott City offense in check and put its own passing game in high gear.
"They started attacking our weak spots, but what hurt us was that they mixed things up so well," Scott City coach Jason Burkman said.
Scott City finished with 244 yards of offense, but about half of that came on three first-quarter plays. Matt Schaefer scored on Scott City's first play, a 60-yard run to the end zone. Luke McClellan followed with a touchdown pass to Chad Weatherspoon later in the period.
Valle rebounded for a 30-13 lead at halftime.
Schaefer finished with 85 yards on 11 carries.