Hickman defenders Omeed Latifi and Gabe Widmer couldn’t be more different. Latifi is a hard-hitting, fast-talking left back. He’s gregarious, loud and confident. He is cut, quick, with dark features and lots of stubble. He plays with reckless abandon, sometimes too reckless, as even he admits. Chest-bumping teammates after goals, tackling threatening-opponents hard and starting the counter-attack quickly is all in a day’s work.
Among the items coaches found on the Rock Bridge soccer bus after a recent game were the standard empty wrappers, bottles, a missing soccer cleat and “Young Cowboy” magazine. “Young Cowboy” magazine?
One Rock Bridge Bruin wasn’t on the field Friday night to watch his team shock No. 2 Hickman. He wasn’t able to rejoice to the chants of “district champs” or run into the arms of his teammates and fans as many of the Bruins did. Instead, this Bruin was listening to the game on the radio from his hospital bed. He could only hear and imagine in his mind what was happening.
Pale purple balloons are everywhere. They line railings, adorn tables and are even tied to trash cans.
The defending state champions won’t be returning to the postseason. Hickman, the No. 2 team in Class 6, was dominated for three quarters by Rock Bridge, which upset its cross-town rival 21-18 in the Providence Bowl at Faurot Field. Only a late rally in which the Kewpies scored 15 fourth-quarter points made the game close.
It seems to be a matter of proximity. The pesky, no-good, next-door neighbor eager to ruin your concentration. Welcome to the Missouri football team’s noon matchup Saturday at Kansas, its oldest and biggest rival.
Down on one knee, awaiting the snap, the holder knows what’s coming. Along with the ball, there will be a rush of defenders coming at him like a freight train. He yells “hike” to the center and the extra point attempt begins. He catches the snap, turns the ball laces out and suddenly what he feared was coming, arrives. Hit by a defender, his leg rolls under him awkwardly and he lies on the field in pain.
Hickman football coach Gregg Nesbitt calls his senior quarterback “blue collar.” Andrew Perkins is not the fastest player on the Hickman football team. He’s probably not even in the top five.
There is more to Rock Bridge’s Phillip King than quick feet and long strides. While he has developed into one of the state’s top cross country runners this season, he has also set high standards for himself outside of the sport. He is the consumate student-athlete, achieving success in the classroom and on the race course.
TROY — Hickman coach Greg Gunn wanted his team to focus on volleyball this week, so he had a simple solution. He gave his players volleyballs to carry around for three straight days at school. Some girls, like senior MegAnn Schlader, named their balls. Schlader named hers “Omammy,” while senior Caitlin Keith forgot to carry her ball once, and had to run extra at practice.
Kat Tarr’s freshman season as a defender for the Missouri soccer team has been a learning experience, and she doesn’t want her soccer education to end today. Tarr, who has started 16 games in the backfield, and the Tigers (9-6-3, 3-4-2 Big 12) will play the Kansas Jayhawks at 3 p.m. today in Lawrence, Kan., with the season on the line. Eighth in the Big 12 Conference with only today’s game to play before the eight-team Big 12 tournament, Missouri must beat KU or rely on the outcome of ninth-place Oklahoma State’s game against Oklahoma this evening. If the Tigers lose and the Cowboys win, MU’s season is likely over. Although the Tigers will have the required .500 record for the NCAA Tournament, it is unlikely they will get a bid without a strong showing against fifth-place Kansas (10-6-2, 5-3-1 Big 12).
Brad Smith and the Missouri football team ran for 277 yards against Nebraska on Saturday, but that does not compare to the distance members of Sigma Nu fraternity are running as part of their first Game Ball Run. About 55 people, including others from the university community, are running about 170 miles with a football from Memorial Stadium in Columbia to Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan.
Missouri sophomore cross country runner Kasey Kimball is technically following in the footsteps of the rest of her family. But she doesn’t like to think about it that way. Kimball, whose parents and brother, Stewart, ran for Missouri, has been strong for the Tigers all season. Her most impressive finishes came at the Southern Stampede on Sept. 17, where she was 13th overall and second for MU, and the Bradley Classic on Oct. 14, where she placed sixth overall and third for MU. She will compete for the Tigers in today’s Big 12 Championships in Waco, Texas.
Missouri quarterback Brad Smith was one of eight Division I-A football players named as a 2005 National Scholar-Athlete on Thursday. Smith will receive a postgraduate scholarship worth $18,000. He is the 10th MU football player to win this award; offensive lineman Rob Droege was the last Tiger to be given the award, in 2003.
When the Hickman and Rock Bridge football teams step onto Faurot Field tonight for the Providence Bowl, bright lights, a video screen and the roar of an estimated crowd of 10,000 will surround them. It will be quite a change from their usual high school stadiums.
Rock Bridge was threatening to break a scoreless fourth-quarter tie. The Bruins broke their offensive huddle and lined up on Hickman’s 14-yard line. Junior Tom Satalowich’s fingers sank into the wet grass as the tight end crouched into his three-point stance. The ball was snapped.
Sitting with dozens of other girls in the Rock Bridge gymnasium bleachers, Addison Newton could barely stomach the wait. Last season as a junior, she played middle hitter on the junior varsity volleyball team, but it was approaching the end of August and Newton had no idea if she would play varsity after making the transition to outside hitter. One-by-one, Bruins coach Beth Newton called girls to the locker room to tell them her decision.
Gary Pinkel sat at a podium Monday, politely answering questions, tapping his fingers together, even allowing the beginning of a rare smile to fight its way to the surface of his face. A shut-down defense sure makes it easier for a football coach to relax.
Name any high school baseball award, and chances are left-handed pitcher Rick Zagone earned it as a senior last year at Prairie Ridge High School in Illinois. All-Area, All-Conference, All-State, Zagone grabbed a spot on all those teams. Missouri coach Tim Jamieson knew Zagone was something special when he watched him pitch in high school. That’s why he recruited him to play baseball for the Tigers.
A 6-foot-5 forward in high school basketball is not an entirely uncommon sight. A 6-foot-5 midfielder on a soccer field? That’s rare.