Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A new leader takes over in the SEMO MVP race (plus a new incentive)

For the third time, there's a new No. 1 in the chase for Southeast Missouri's football MVP title.

And, for the first time, there's even more incentive for the person who wins (besides just a title).

Michael Greminger of Valle picked up steam this week with an avalanche of votes over the past three days and slid past former poll leader Brandon Bourbon of Potosi for the lead. More than 800 votes have come in (which are all one-time voters, since the poll doesn't allow visitors to the site to vote twice). Kory Faulkner of Ste. Genevieve has gained ground and is third.

And, starting today, there's a new reward for Southeast Missouri's football MVP. Actually, there are three rewards.

First, the winner of the poll will receive a free professionally built Web site with a customized address, complete profile information, photos, statistics and more, all of it designed to appeal to college recruiters and fans. The site will be updated regularly throughout his high school and college career.

Second, the winner will receive a custom plaque engraved with his name and school, along with the title of 2008 Southeast Missouri Football MVP.

And third, the winner will receive a $100 gift card to Sports Authority (or, which has store locations throughout St. Louis and Memphis.

Getting the most votes in a poll is one feat, but winning a free Web site, a plaque and cash isn't so bad, either.

We'll keep the poll open until every team in Southeast Missouri has completed its season. That means that if you haven't voted, there's time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Making sense of football playoff scenarios

Until this season, playoff scenarios were pretty easy to follow. But the new MSHSAA rule that allows the top two teams to advance from each four-team district means that well over half of Southeast Missouri's 33 football teams are in contention for regional playoff spots.

It's a doozy (and not always easy to decipher), but here's a list of potential scenarios for what could happen after games Thursday and Friday:

Class 5, District 1

Plain and simple: If Eureka and Jackson both win, they're in the playoffs. On the other hand, either team could be eliminated based on an unlikely series of point differentials if both lose. Expect Eureka and Jackson to advance.

Class 4, District 1

Farmington is in no matter what happens Thursday against Sikeston. Sikeston can lose and still advance, but only if Poplar Bluff's winning margin over West Plains is the same or more than Sikeston's losing margin to Farmington. Otherwise, West Plains advances.

Class 4, District 2

DeSoto and Festus both clinched playoff spots at 2-0 and play Friday.

Class 3, District 1

New Madrid County Central and Perryville both are locks for the playoffs and meet Thursday.

Class 3, District 2

Ste. Genevieve is locked in the playoffs and will play Fredericktown on Thursday. Potosi and Fredericktown both are in contention for the second playoff spot based largely on Potosi's outcome against Park Hills Central. Central still has a slim hope that relies on a Central win and a Fredericktown loss, then comes down to a point totals.

Class 3, District 3

Priory is a lock in the playoffs. If Herculaneum and Priory win, Herculaneum will earn the second spot. If Herculaneum and Lutheran South both win or both lose, they must beat the other’s margin to get the final slot.

Class 2, District 1

East Prairie has sealed a playoff spot regardless of what happens Thursday against Malden. Caruthersville and Malden are in contention for the No. 2 spot based on Thursday's outcomes, which could come down to point totals.

Class 2, District 2

Scott City is a lock, and St. Pius X will advance as the runnerup unless St. Pius loses and Crystal City wins by a margin wide enough to impact point totals.

Class 1, District 1

Hayti and St. Vincent are in the playoffs and will play Thursday. Both teams are 2-0.

Class 1, District 2

Valle and Paris are 2-0 and will play Friday for the title.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Kicking off a big week (and the final game) for several teams

Check back throughout the week for more updates, including a look ahead to Week 10 games, regional matchups and updated local stats.

For now, a quick look at what's new in the past two days: Check the high school football photo index for five exclusive photo galleries from area football games Friday. Photographers were at Hayti vs. Chaffee, North County vs. DeSoto, Sikeston vs. Poplar Bluff, St. Pius X vs. Grandview, and Farmington vs. West Plains.

And don't forget to vote for Southeast Missouri's high school football MVP on our home page. It's the only MVP award that includes every team in the region, and almost 500 votes have already been cast so far. Brandon Bourbon of Potosi leads the pack with 49 percent, leaving Michael Greminger of Valle second and Joey Lewandowski of Fredericktown third.

We'll leave the voting open until the end of football season, so the clock is ticking to make your choice.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Changes at the top among SEMO football stat leaders

M.C. Williams has taken over as the region's leader among high school football running backs, but Joey Lewandowski is pulling away in the race to be MVP among Southeast Missouri football players.

Williams' big game Friday in East Prairie's win over Portageville pulled him ahead in the rushing category among area teams. He has 1,449 yards through seven games, ahead of Lewandowski of Fredericktown (1,403) and Brandon Bourbon of Potosi (1,360 yards). Williams' 207-yard game Friday was tops among running backs in the area.

But after a week of voting for Southeast Missouri's football MVP, Lewandowki leads with 29 percent compared to Williams' 17 percent. Eli Jackson of Sikeston sits in third. A list of 12 players was picked for the final vote, which will stay open until the end of the season.

Among quarterbacks in the region, Kory Faulkner of Ste. Genevieve leads all passers with 2,042 yards after a 400-yard game Saturday at Westminster. Blake Parr of Kennett is second with 1,890 yards.

Dustin Noll of Ste. Genevieve leads the receivers category with 801 yards, ahead of Jarvis Finley of Kennett.

See the top three in each category on the right side of our home page, and click here to see a list of the top games in the region week by week all season.

Photos were posted earlier in the week from four games across the 33-county area: Al Jones' images from Sikeston's win over Kennett are here; Amy Amsden's gallery from St. Vincent's win at Grandview are here; Diane Wilson's photos from New Madrid County Central's win at Park Hills Central are here; and Andrew Amsden's gallery from the matchup between Potosi and Festus is here.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Edgar's suspension has a familiar ring to it at Southeast

At some point, somebody with an enterprising spirit should roll out a line of T-shirts that read, "I survived an NCAA investigation at SEMO."

It's just too bad that the school is running out of coaches who could honestly wear them.

Southeast showed athletic director Don Kaverman the door Thursday and put men's basketball coach Scott Edgar on indefinite leave for their part in shenanigans that might have helped land SEMO in a heavy-duty NCAA investigation.

Edgar issued a short statement Thursday afternoon that pleaded ignorance of any wrongdoing, Kaverman has shied away from the media, and school president Ken Dobbins issued his own statement of shock and dismay.

And no, for the record, SEMO hasn't changed its letterhead to "SEM-uh-oh" just yet.

With Kaverman sent packing and with Edgar one step closer to a high school coaching job, Dobbins' biggest worry now is the NCAA, which on Monday told the school of several allegations that implicate the men's basketball staff, all since Edgar's arrival in 2006:

• Members of the men's basketball coaching staff observed players in summer strength and conditioning activities and out-of-season games.

• Edgar and an unnamed assistant coach twice arranged extra financial benefits for players in 2006 and '07.

• Edgar and an unnamed assistant coach lied to the school and the NCAA during questioning about allegations.

Edgar says he's confident he will be the team's coach once the smoke clears. It could be a while, because the school has until January to reply to the NCAA's findings, and an appeals hearing might not come until February. The school says Edgar won't return until he's cleared of the NCAA's charges.

Southeast, for its part, moved swiftly in cleaning house and, unlike its handling of the firing of B.J. Smith two years ago, was forthcoming in its actions, even though it told its coaches and athletes in a meeting Thursday to keep silent.

And to his credit, Edgar remains optimistic, vowing a fight to the finish.

But at some point, Smith probably had confidence that he'd return as women's basketball coach after going on "personal leave" in October 2006. Instead, he was fired amid an NCAA investigation.

And at some point, Ron Shumate probably had confidence that he'd stick around as men's basketball coach. But he was fired in April 1998, also in the thick of an NCAA investigation.

It might be time for Edgar to join that list.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Who's the 2008 high school MVP? It's your call

It was about this time last year that Southeast Missouri's title of high school football MVP was put to a vote. The winner: Perryville senior Waylon Sparkman, who finished the season as one of the region's top defensive athletes. Ryan Sawyer of Fredericktown finished a close second.

This year, there's an all new list of names and an all new debate, and the poll is up on the

The list is a mix of offensive, defensive and all-around specialists on the field.

On offense are four quarterbacks who have already passed for more than 1,000 yards this season: Kory Faulkner of Ste. Genevieve, Michael Greminger of Valle, Zach Hibbits of Farmington and Blake Parr of Kennett. Parr's favorite receiver, Jarvis Finley, likely will pass 1,000 yards before season's end.

Joining them are a handful of running backs, all with big numbers: Brandon Bourbon of Potosi, Joey Lewandowski of Fredericktown and M.C. Williams of East Prairie are in the chase for the area's top rushing mark with more than 1,200 yards apiece, and lightning-fast Eli Jackson of Sikeston is close behind.

Defensively, Kalieb Armbruster of DeSoto and Blake Peiffer of Jackson lead the region in tackles, and G'Darius Stevenson of New Madrid County Central ranks among the area's top two-way starters.

Together they make up a bold 12-man roster, but which one will rise to the top?

We'll leave the polling open until the end of the season, then pick Southeast Missouri's football MVP based on your votes.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Five high school players clear the 1,000-yard mark

The standing as top rusher and top passer of 2008 is turning into anybody's ballgame among Southeast Missouri high school football athletes.

Among running backs, two from the area have cleared the 1,000-yard hurdle after five weeks: Joey Lewandowski of Fredericktown leads all rushers with 1,084 yards, just ahead of M.C. Williams of East Prairie, who has 1,038.

The two seniors faced off Friday at East Prairie in a statistical matchup won by Lewandowski (Lewondowski had 307 yards, Williams had 233).

Three area quarterbacks are also over 1,000 yards: Blake Parr of Kennett leads with 1,531 yards; Kory Faulkner of Ste. Genevieve has 1,252; and Mike Greminger of Valle has 1,001.

Check out a list of week-by-week leaders here.