Home-field advantage is a luxury the Hickman Kewpies football team has been able to live without, but with the No. 1 team in Missouri coming into town, the Kewpies are hoping it can’t hurt.
The Kewpies (2-0) welcome the Blue Springs Wildcats (2-0) to Hickman for the Kewpies’ first home game of the season at 7 tonight. The Wildcats, the top-ranked team in Class 6, will present coach Greg Nesbitt’s team with an early challenge.
“They are the best team in Missouri at this point in the season,” Nesbitt said. “They had a big win for them last week against Rockhurst, so they will come in flying high.”
Last week, Blue Springs defeated the then-No. 1 Rockhurst Hawklets. The Wildcats were down 17-0 early in the second quarter, but came back to win 37-31 in overtime.
Quarterback Stinson Dean and wide receiver Darius Hill lead the Wildcats’ offense. Last year, Dean threw for 1,523 yards, 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
“They have a tremendous quarterback,” Nesbitt said. “He can throw, and throw vertical, and he’s got great touch.
“Darius Hill, a big, 6-foot-6 wide receiver, can really run. All these guys can beat you.”
Last year, the Kewpies lost 42-9 in Blue Springs. This year, Nesbitt says his players must overcome a lack of experience at cornerback and safety to play well.
“It is a tough matchup for us,” Nesbitt said. “Last week, a really good football team in Park Hill South, great running back, great running team, matched up with our strengths. This team is very good on the perimeter. We are very young and green. That is not a place to be inexperienced. It will be a huge test for some newcomers back there.”
On offense, the Kewpies will counter with quarterback Blake Tekotte. Last week, Tekotte rushed for 104 yards while throwing for 129.
Nesbitt said his team impressed him most by playing error-free. Hickman was penalized once and did not turn the ball over.
“We are actually simplifying; we’re shrinking our play book,” Nesbitt said. “We are going back to basics in order to execute.”
Although the Kewpies are not overlooking the tough matchup against the Wildcats, Nesbitt said his players are happy to make their home debut.
“Some of these kids have never dressed out for a home game here at Hickman,” Nesbitt said.