Mid-Missouri teams had an up-and-down Week 7 on Friday. Rock Bridge was the only Columbia team with a win and Blair Oaks continued its 45-game regular season winning streak.
The Bruins (3-4) cruised to victory with a 48-21 win against Smith-Cotton (0-7). Quarterback Grant Hajicek threw for four touchdowns and running backs Bryce Jackson and Miles Cheatum added three more between them. But the important thing was that Rock Bridge didn’t take its winless opponent for granted. The players kept their focus and hurdled another stumbling block on the road to the playoffs. Rock Bridge gave up a few touchdowns in garbage time but the team shouldn’t worry too much about that.
Up next will be the Bruins’ toughest test since their three-game winning streak began, so the team must continue believing in itself and its system in order to pass this next test at Helias (6-1). It wouldn’t hurt to continue feeding Cheatum, who has scored three touchdowns of over 50 yards in the last two weeks.
It’s going to be a tough week for the Spartans (4-3), as they’ll have to finish swallowing an ugly loss to Rockhurst in which they get shut out by the Hawklets for the second-consecutive season. The 29-0 defeat marked only the second shutout in Battle’s program history.
While the defensive smothering was ugly, the in-game injuries for Battle were uglier. At one point, both of Battle’s quarterbacks — Harrison Keller and Khaleel Dampier — were dealing with what looked to be shoulder and leg injuries, respectively. Battle coach Atiyyah Ellison didn’t have much of a status update on either player after the game, but hinted that Keller’s been playing through injury the last couple of weeks. The senior said after Friday’s game that he plans to play against Jefferson City.
If, for whatever reason, the Spartans find themselves without a quarterback against the Jays, it seems they have a safety valve formation ready for the offense. Late last week, Battle debuted a wildcat scheme. Both DaleShaun Coleman and Darren Jordan took multiple direct snaps, and Jordan even threw his first pass of the season.
The Kewpies had a weekend stay in the Heartbreak Hotel after losing 38-35 to North Kansas City on Friday. The Homecoming contest against the undefeated Hornets came down to the final moments, when Hickman quarterback Jevean Brown’s pass into the end zone was knocked away from Talin Kemp.
Hickman executed its gameplan to near-perfection, but a victory just wasn’t meant to be. The team ran its patented up-tempo style using a mix of runs up the middle or short passes. When the receivers were covered, Brown continued to use his legs to make something happen, which stopped as the game went on. North Kansas City’s defensive adjustments to close the pocket and limit how much time Brown and the offense had to create offense changed the game, as Hickman only put up six points in the second half.
Brown was quick to put the loss on himself in a postgame interview. He said bad throws and doing his own thing instead of sticking to coach Cedric Alvis’ plans were some of the reasons Hickman didn’t pull off the upset.
Tolton (0-7) fell in yet another blowout loss Friday to St. Mary’s. With only a few games left in the season, the final outings will take on a new purpose, especially for the younger Trailblazers.
Injuries have recently plagued the already sparse roster, giving coach Michael Egnew an opportunity to allow many of his younger players on the field to get some game experience. Sophomore quarterback Jonah Lybeck-Brown and freshman wide receiver James Lee were offensive standouts in their first varsity outings. Egnew was also complimentary of sophomore linebacker Xavier Pinhero and sophomore defensive back Julian McKoy. The two excelled against an unyielding Dragons’ offense, Egnew said, and showed immense potential in their positions.
Tolton will be increasing playing time for its younger athletes going forward, Egnew said. He’s hoping the experience gained will benefit the Trailblazers come next season.
The Falcons beat Southern Boone 40-0 Friday by forcing mistakes on defense and using creative play calling on offense. Southern Boone coach Trent Tracy gave some insight into why the Falcons are so dominant and what teams need to do against them:
Tracy lauded Falcons freshman quarterback Dylan Hair.
“The fact that he’s only a freshman is pretty incredible. He’s doing a great job running their offense and distributing the ball to playmakers in space and running the football. It’s scary that he’s only a freshman because it means he has three more seasons,” Tracy said.
Hair has succeeded two older brothers as the Falcons starting quarterback. Nolan Hair won the 2A state championship last year as the Falcons’ starter as a senior.
“It feels like we’ve played a Hair brother for like the last 10 years. That’s a hell of a family; they’ve got some great athletic ability, but you can just tell they’re competitors,” Tracy said.
While the Falcons offense is potent, teams also need to be extra deliberate and precise when facing the Falcons’ talented defense.
“Running a 3-4 look with different blitzes from different spots and delayed blitzes, not a lot of other teams do that. They’ve got that going on in the box, but then they also have great guys in coverage. They run a Cover 4, but then they come down hard. We throw it into the flat and they are pinning their ears back and coming down and hitting our kids and making good open field tackles,” Tracy said.
“To beat a Blair Oaks team, you can’t get your own way. We knew it was going to be hard to move the football tonight on offense. Our mindset was to move the chains, but we put ourselves in second-and-12, second-and-15 way too many times tonight … to beat this kind of a caliber football team, you can’t have many negative plays,” Tracy said.
“You’ve got to be very disciplined and at the end of the day, you’ve got to make tackles.”