This wasn’t the same Missouri football team that Troy upset last season. Or even the same team that lost to New Mexico last week. It showed in every aspect of the Tigers’ 52-21 victory Saturday at Memorial Stadium, as well as in the locker room afterward, where loud shouts and wide smiles replaced the quiet contemplation and dejected faces of a week ago.
Brad Smith? Not bad. Defense? Could be better. But special teams? Enough to make Troy sick. With Missouri’s offense and its star quarterback looking solid but not spectacular and its defense suffering from inconsistency, the Tigers’ much-maligned special teams came through with two key plays against Troy in a 52-21 MU victory Saturday at Faurot Field.
In Rock Bridge’s football game Friday night against Liberty, one of its key players was nowhere to be found in pads or in the game. Junior tight end/linebacker, Aron White was found in jeans on the sidelines Friday night after being diagnosed with mononucleosis on Thursday. Bruins coach A.J. Ofodile said he is expected to miss about four weeks. Looking at White, you can see the pain and disappointment in his eyes as he sat and watched his team from the sidelines.
In its home opener, the Hickman football team treated its fans to a 33-6 thrashing of Parkway South. The Kewpies (2-1) employed a no huddle offense throughout the game. Andrew Perkins rushed for two touchdowns, and Ricky James and Cortez Thompson each ran for a score. Perkins also hooked up with Ryan Florence on several big passing plays. Andrew Wier picked off two passes (his fifth and sixth of the season), and Aaron Cawlfield blocked a punt and had two sacks.
In the first 45 minutes of the Cougars’ 3-1 victory against University of Mobile (Ala.) Saturday, both teams had as much trouble scoring as the youth teams that took the field at halftime. In the second half, if the No. 14 Rams’ shots weren’t sailing over the goal, they were sinking into goalie Nano Recondo’s waiting hands. That’s when the No. 12 Cougars pounced, scoring three goals in 13 minutes. Marcos Fernandes, Matt Mueller and Mark Wilcox scored for Columbia College, with Mueller and Ivan Navarrete picking up assists.
If Jenna Holdmeyer had her way, Columbia College would play Williams Baptist every game. The Cougars’ 5-foot-6 inch defensive specialist played outsider hitter for Game 3 and had five kills in a 30-10, 30-12, 30-11 victory over the Eagles.
In the barrage of bland-colored Escalades and Tahoes that filled the Memorial Stadium parking lot Saturday morning, it was hard to miss the bright yellow, black-striped mini-bus parked conspicuously near the stadium’s West entrance. In the lazy morning hours Saturday, before the Missouri football team had locked up a 52-21 victory against visiting Troy, quite a crowd had gathered around the bus, and that was just fine with Rick Burk.
Liberty gave Rock Bridge its first loss of the season as the Blue Jays defeated the Bruins 26-7 Friday night at Rock Bridge Field. The Bruins were plagued by 13 penalties and four turnovers. Bruins running back, junior Scott Concannon, ran for 13 carries for 150 yards including a 75-yard run late in the second quarter.
A chat with a college football coach is usually a one-stop-shop for upbeat cliches and praise for his team, even in the grimmest of circumstances. Troy coach Larry Blakeney isn’t one of those coaches. He is quite candid about the state of his team.
James Joyce once called mistakes the portals of discovery. One must wonder, then, what Joyce would have thought had he joined the throng of 50,701 fans at Faurot Field last Saturday, to watch the Missouri football team continually err, often at the most inopportune times, on its way to a 45-35 loss to New Mexico.
They have their hardware: 90-plus individually tailored rings and a team trophy. They have their tributes: A banner hangs in the gym, and a team poster greets visitors at the entrance to the school commons.
After his team allowed an average of 325 yards in its four losses last season, Rock Bridge football coach A.J. Ofodile said the Bruins have made stopping the run a priority this season. In their first two games against Class 4 teams this season, they have shown great improvement, allowing an average of 108 rushing yards.
Jessie Strother didn’t care about the pain. After sitting out Wednesday night’s loss to defending state champion Incarnate Word Academy, Strother, a freshman setter, played through her ongoing back pain to lead Hickman past rival Rock Bridge 25-20, 25-20.
When Rock Bridge boys’ soccer fans watched the Bruins play the last couple of weeks, they might not have recognized every player on the field. The Bruins have been battling some sprains, strains and pulls while trying to survive the early part of their schedule. They hope to return all of their players by the time the Catholic Youth Council tournament begins Monday in St. Louis. The stacked field features several top-flight teams from the St. Louis area, including top-ranked Christian Brothers College.
In the first five years of Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel’s tenure, the Tigers have played three nonconference games against teams from Bowl Championship Series conferences. That number will at least double in the next two seasons. The Tigers announced Thursday they will play Mississippi, a team from the Southeastern Conference, in each of the next two seasons. The Rebels will come to Columbia on Sept. 9, 2006, and will host the Tigers in Oxford, Miss., on Sept. 8, 2007.
Missouri football fans have their Brad back. Smith welcomed Columbia fans to the spread offense, a fast-paced, no-huddle mix of spreading defenders out with the pass and using the subsequent holes to execute an option running game. He rushed for 165 yards while throwing for 248 on Saturday in the Tigers’ home opener against New Mexico on Saturday.
Abbie Booth had a hot serving hand Wednesday in Missouri’s 30-20, 30-24, 30-16 win against Iowa State in both team’s Big 12 Conference season openers at the Hearnes Center. “I don’t really know what was going on,” Booth, a junior defensive specialist, said. “I was concerned because I had errors toward the beginning. I had two service errors in a row. I was just focusing on my toss. I wasn’t really thinking about serving it tough, more focusing on how to serve.”
The Rock Bridge Bruins offense has multiple personalities. There is the one that returned a talented crop of juniors with a year more experience ready to become one of the most explosive offenses in the state. On the other side though, is one that looks nervous and inexperienced and seems to struggle at the beginning of games.
Whether they tailgate, all football fans have one thing in common: finding a parking spot. One option is the newly converted parking lot at Reactor Field on Research Park Drive. The commuter lot was open to the public during Missouri’s first home game Saturday. But with more than 900 parking spaces, the former intramural field, was a little more than half full.
The Rock Bridge girls’ volleyball team nearly had an accident during warmups, but players narrowly averted the pregame collision. It didn’t get much better than that for the Bruins, who lost to the Hermann Bearcats 25-15, 25-17.