Thursday, August 28, 2008

Farmington is region's football team to beat

Farmington finished No. 4 in Southeast Missouri last season, and the Knights were No. 1 a year earlier. And heading into Week 1, they're the team to beat this year in the football poll.

Jackson, New Madrid County Central and Ste. Genevieve all got recommendations as the No. 1 team in our preseason poll this week, but Farmington was mentioned as the best of the best more than any other team in our 23-county region. That lands the Knights at No. 1 ahead of Jackson, NMCC, Ste. Genevieve and Poplar Bluff. Click here to check out the full 33-team poll.

Jackson did earn a No. 1 nod this week in's top-5 poll, which doesn't include Farmington in its coverage area. Poplar Bluff is No. 2 and NMCC is No. 3.

In the Associated Press media poll released Wednesday, Jackson is No. 2 in Class 5 (behind Lee's Summit West). Festus is No. 10 in Class 4, and Farmington was among teams that received votes. Ste. Genevieve (fourth) and NMCC (10th) were ranked in Class 3 by AP voters, while Thayer (second) and Hayti (seventh) are ranked in Class 1.

Looking ahead to Friday's openers, a few intriguing matchups stand out, and check back Friday night for updated scores and then again over the weekend for photo galleries from at least four games.

At Ste. Genevieve, the Dragons and heavily recruited quarterback Kory Faulkner host Dexter and returning quarterback Ben Mills in what could turn into a high-scoring matchup.

At Fredericktown, the Blackcats host Sikeston and former coach Kent Gibbs, who left Fredericktown for the Sikeston job after the 2006 season.

Just up the road, top-ranked Farmington goes to North County in what was for years a conference rivalry; Farmington left its old league for the SEMO Conference North Division this season.

Also Friday, Scott City hosts Malden in one of the SEMO South's most competitive and long-running rivalries.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Football teams count down the days to Friday jamborees

Several fields across Southeast Missouri will host high school football Friday, the first real glimpse into what the next several weeks might hold in store.

Formats vary slightly from one location to the next depending on how many teams are involved, but look for each squad to get in at least 15 to 20 offensive and defensive plays Friday.

A twist this year: Teams will have had just two weeks of organized practice when they hit the field Friday. The preseason was shortened by a week because of an extra round of games added to the postseason, and that could mean a less polished look for several teams that still might become playoff contenders in October.

Friday's schedule:

At Dexter: Dexter, Kennett, Portageville, Scott City

At East Prairie: East Prairie, NMCC, Perryville, Sikeston

At Farmington, 6 p.m.: Cape Girardeau Central, Poplar Bluff, St. Clair

At Farmington, 7:30: Farmington, Jackson, Union

At Festus: Festus, Lutheran North, Maplewood-Richmond Heights

At Hillsboro, 6: Lafayette, Northwest, Rockwood Summit, Vianney

At Hillsboro, 7:30: Affton, Hillsboro, Lutheran South

At Malden: Chaffee, Charleston, Fredericktown, Malden

At Ste. Genevieve, 6: DeSoto, Park Hills Central, Ste. Genevieve, Valle

At Ste. Genevieve, 8: Crystal City, Grandview, St. Pius X, St. Vincent

At Sullivan: Houston, North County, Pacific, Salem, Sullivan, Warrenton

At Thayer: Cabool, Liberty, Thayer, Willow Springs