Jon K. Rust

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian and co-president of Rust Communications.

New magazine in newspaper tomorrow: Football, life and more

There will be a new magazine in the newspaper on Thursday, Aug. 22, previewing area high school football teams and Southeast Missouri State University: "Gridiron 2019," available to subscribers only. Those who buy the newspaper at a rack will need to purchase a copy of the magazine separately at a participating Rhodes 101 convenience store or at the Southeast Missourian office. Price: $2. Digital subscribers will have access to the stories and photos via semoball.com.

Several high schools kick off action this Friday in different organized scrimmages, for example: Jackson is in Festus for its annual Jamboree game, along with Poplar Bluff, Farmington and others. The official season for Missouri high schools starts next week, with all area teams playing Aug. 30.

In 115 years of existence, this is the first time that the Southeast Missourian has produced a glossy magazine previewing area football. Inside, sports writers introduce new coaches, highlight some of the top players, and peek inside what makes our local programs tick. They also interview team leaders about prospects for the upcoming season.

In his introduction to the magazine, Southeast Missourian and Semoball sports editor Tom Davis interviews coaches about the excitement of high school football. One coach explains, "There is nothing like a Friday night as a football coach. Just to get that feeling of 'Wow, everybody is coming to watch us.'"

Davis also writes: "Whatever race, religion, creed or political philosophy someone associates with for six-plus days each week, that becomes irrelevant at dusk on Fridays throughout this country. At that point, everyone is a (fill in the blank) supporter."

Adding to the excitement about football this year is the historic success that Southeast achieved in 2018, winning its first-ever Division 1 Football Championship playoff game and compiling a 9-4 record. The Redhawks will return All-OVC quarterback Daniel Santacaterina and All-OVC wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson, along with national defensive player of the year linebacker Zach Hall.

The Redhawks kick off the 2019 campaign in a big way: at home, against rival SIU-Carbondale, on Thursday night, Aug. 29 at 6 p.m. Houck Stadium will be rocking.

In the magazine, phenom Zach Hall talks about the influence of Muhammad Ali on his life, and points to Redhawk Coach Tom Matukewicz for his mentorship: "He does a great job in teaching us life lessons and building our character, which is more than us just being good football players." Coach "Tuke" is in his sixth season at Southeast.

Throughout the magazine, you'll find stories that seek to peel the curtain back a bit on what makes each program in the area unique.

Producing a magazine like "Gridiron" takes a lot of hard work and quick turnaround. For high school, football practices began only a few weeks ago, and staff worked throughout the night before final deadline. It also takes support from advertisers to bring a magazine to fruition. We hope you enjoy "Gridiron" and support those advertisers who made it possible. Look for it tomorrow in the Southeast Missourian.

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian.