Saturday, August 29, 2009

The surprise of the week? It's No. 33

A week ago, it might have been hard for East Prairie's football team to get much notice outside of ... well, outside of East Prairie.

The Eagles lost a star running back and hadn't been known for quick starts, especially not after losing their season-opener each of the past 10 years.

But the No. 33 team in the SEMO 33 rankings was quick out of the gate Friday with a 25-6 win over Hayti on Friday. It was East Prairie's first win over the SEMO Conference South rival since 1998 — also the last time the Eagles were 1-0.

The new SEMO 33 poll will be out Monday, no doubt with an improved spot for East Prairie.

The question now: Is this a sign that East Prairie, which so often last year looked on the brink of a breakout season, is finally turning the corner? Or was Friday a blip on the radar, and more of a sign that Hayti's in for a frustrating season?

Across the 23-county region, Friday didn't provide many other surprises on the scoreboard, although wins by favorites Farmington (51-7 over North County, Malden (50-14 over Scott City) and Sikeston (42-20 over Fredericktown) were more lopsided than expected.

And Park Hills Central opened eyes in the MAFC with its 22-8 win over Maplewood Richmond Heights — a team that's obviously reeling from heavy graduation losses. Are the Rebels contenders for the MAF White title?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Football kicks off this week: Where will you be?

One game ushers in the high school football season Thursday, but most teams will wait until 24 hours later to start the trek toward November.

Cape Girardeau Central, looking for a fix to its 1-9 season a year ago, welcomes Parkway North to Houck Stadium for Thursday's inaugural game of the season. The next day, 21 games are scheduled around the region.

At least a couple of games feature longtime conference rivalries right out of the gate: North County (and first-year coach Jeromy McDowell, a former Southeast quarterback) goes to Farmington in a large-school Mississippi Area Football Conference game, and Malden hosts Scott City in a years-long SEMO Conference South rivalry.

With so many questions, coaching changes and roster turnover heading into the season, you won't have to look far for potentially great matchups: Herculaneum at Valle, Charleston at Kennett, Ste. Genevieve at Dexter, St. Vincent at Caruthersville, Grandview at Chaffee, and Fredericktown at Sikeston all have potential to give the winner a solid push heading into Week 2.

The only catch: A 40 percent change of evening thunderstorms Friday, so watch the sky and be ready to pack a raincoat.

With so many options, any nominees for our region's best game of the week?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Football is just days away, and so are the SEMO 33 rankings

Our first SEMO 33 football poll is in the works, and it's set to be posted on next Monday — four days before the start of the season, and three days after we get our first look at local teams in Friday's jamborees.

In case you weren't around to see it last season, the SEMO 33 poll is the only ranking that lists all 33 high school football teams in the region. Watch for it every Monday through the end of the playoffs.

We use input from coaches, athletes, fans, media — anybody with an opinion on high school football. And we're always looking for extra input, so share your thoughts at any time during the season with an e-mail (to or with a post on our message board.

As for Friday's jamborees, they're scheduled for 10 different sites around the region with start times of either 6 or 7:30 p.m. Click over to our 2009 football page at this link for the whole schedule, along with the full schedules for every team in our area.

Check back over the weekend and early next week for photos from at least three of Friday's jamborees.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Howard should know pro baseball plans soon

A few notes heading into the weekend:

Vince Howard Jr., who graduated from Sikeston High School in the spring, is still working on a deal to play professionally after he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in June. Vince has signed to play at Meramec Community College, and the decision is likely to be reached in about a week. Don't be surprised to see him playing at the college level, at least for the next year.

• Former Cape Girardeau Central all-state pick Mitch Craft has finished his first season of pro indoor football with a noteworthy award: Linebacker of the Year. The award was based on a fan survey. His Louisiana team lost 50-43 in an SIFL semifinal to Austin. In 11 games as a starter, Mitch was second in the league with 31 solo tackles and second with 24 assists.

• A new locally published book details a darker, seldom-seem side of boxing. The book, "8 ... 9 ... 10 ... You’re Out!," was written by former boxing promoter Rob Russen and published by BT Press, a publishing house based in Steele.

BT Press co-owner Brian Tramel calls the book a "tell-all storoy" that details the politics that help rule the sport, including the details that eventually led to the murder of a well-known boxing promoter.

The book retails for $19.99 and can be bought online at or at