Friday, December 24, 2010

Going to a Christmas tournament? There are 14 to pick from

You won't have to look far to find several potentially classic high school basketball matchups over the next few days.

Between Dec. 27 and Dec. 31, dozens of high school teams from across Southeast Missouri will travel in every direction as part of 10 boys tournaments and four girls tournaments. The road will lead local teams to Tennessee (Dyersburg), Illinois (Carbondale) and multiple sites in Missouri, from Affton to Cabool to Cape Girardeau to Rolla.

To make it a little easier to sort it all out, we've compiled an extensive schedule of every tournament involving teams from the 23-county Southeast Missouri region at this link.

Besides the 16-team fields at Bloomfield, Cabool, Cape Girardeau and Park Hills Central, events at St. Dominic (featuring Sikeston) and Dyersburg (featuring Caruthersville) could produce interesting results. The same goes for the tournament at Rolla, where Festus and Salem are part of a tough eight-team field.

And as always, will be the area's only source for daily scores from all 14 events. Links to the latest boys scores latest girls scores are here and near the top of our home page.

Got a score to pass along? Send a text from your phone to (573) 979-5929 right after the game, and you'll be entered into our weekly drawing for a T-shirt.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Get ready, Sikeston. Here comes another shot at Warrenton

A date for Sikeston fans to write down: Monday, Dec. 27.

You've been granted another shot at Warrenton.

Sikeston will play Warrenton in the first round of the St. Dominic/Imo's Christmas Tournament at St. Dominic High School in O'Fallon. The bracket was released Wednesday morning.

The two are part of the eight-team tournament that runs Dec. 27-28-29. It's Sikeston's first appearance in the event, while Warrenton returns from previous seasons. Sikeston will be heavily favored as the tournament's No. 2 seed (behind Holt); Warrenton is the seventh seed among eight.

In case you missed football season, here's why a Sikeston-Warrenton matchup might rile Bulldogs fans: Sikeston led underdog Warrenton much of the way in their Class 4 football semifinal game in November, then gave up two late touchdowns and lost 28-21. It was the second straight year Sikeston was stopped a game short of the state championship appearance.

Click here to see the full schedule of that tournament and others involving local teams over the Christmas break.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Everything you wanted to know about local basketball history

As a big fan of local basketball history, it was a treat to get the ball rolling on the first-ever timeline of Southeast Missouri basketball. And after several weeks of work, it's done — at least for now.

A project like this one will remain a work in progress, but take a look at the extensive list of Southeast Missouri basketball milestones so far — it includes key events in local basketball, a lot of names, and a lot of records (and eventually photos, too).

Southeast Missouri teams holds dozens of state basketball records, but only a few are on our list so far. That could change as time goes on.

As for other big events, some have undoubtedly been overlooked, so let me know. E-mail me at and let me know a key event that should be on the list.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Trey Lewis is Southeast Missouri's football MVP

Trey Lewis is the fans' pick as Southeast Missouri's football MVP.

The Sikeston senior quarterback was picked by more than 3,000 fans, a little more than a third of those who voted in our fourth annual survey. Jacob Farmer of Fredericktown and Luke Uding of Valle Catholic both got more than 2,000 votes apiece and finished second and third out of 10 nominees.

Trey's big season helped land Sikeston in the state semifinals for the second year in a row. He ran for 1,411 yards on just 118 carries and threw for 1,546, making him the area's only athlete to pass and rush for more than 1,000 yards this season.

Past winners of the award are Juqualin Wiggins of Sikeston in 2009, Brandon Bourbon of Potosi in 2008, and Waylon Sparkman of Perryville in 2007.

The final results and bios of all 10 nominees are posted at this link, and click here to see how they compared in the final leaders list of the season.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

No more guessing: Southeast is in the playoffs

With a little less than 24 hours before the full announcement of the FCS playoff field, Southeast found out its fate.

The Redhawks are in.

Southeast (9-2) clinched the Ohio Valley Conference championship — its first — and a spot in the FCS playoffs — also a first — after Jacksonville State lost Saturday to Tennessee Tech. JSU's loss left Southeast alone at the top of the OVC standings, which means the Redhawks earned the OVC's automatic berth for the FCS playoffs.

Twenty teams will be awarded playoffs spot, and the win left Southeast in position to earn a first-round byes. Pairings will be announced Sunday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In-depth stuff for basketball junkies

Our Basketball HQ page is mostly together and up on the site now, and it's the place where we'll throw anything and everything basketball-related as the season goes along. For now, there are plenty of links to last season's scores, tournaments, rankings, photos and more, and those will be updated once the new season gets into full swing.

The annual SEMO Top 25 preseason poll comes out Monday, along with the return of the SEMO Top 10 for girls teams. Those will be updated weekly after that.

Click here for the Basketball HQ home page, and check back for more features soon, including more updates to team pages and an extensive timeline of Southeast Missouri basketball history that's being put together now.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Two tournaments are set as basketball season closes in

Coaches determined the brackets last week for the Arcadia Valley Thanksgiving Tournament, and this week the lineup was set for the Lion's Roar Tournament at Senath-Hornersville.

Both tournaments are among a handful that get the season going in full swing later this month.

Not every Southeast Missouri boys team will open its season with tournaments, and for a full look at schedules, longtime basketball historian Al Jackson has compiled his annual detailed list of the area's boys teams and schedules. Take a look at the full list (in Word document form) at this link.

Several tournaments and event schedules have already been posted in the forum, with several more to come in the next few days. Click here for the list.

And as always, look for our preseason SEMO Top 25 basketball poll in less than two weeks.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Park Hills Central picked to win its first Arcadia Valley title

Park Hills Central has never won the Arcadia Valley Thanksgiving Tournament, but coaches have picked the Rebels to end that streak this year.

Central was given the No. 1 seed in the eight-team tournament Wednesday, the first bracket to be set for the upcoming varsity boys basketball season. The annual tournament starts Nov. 22, with semifinals Nov. 24 and finals on Nov. 25.

The Rebels finished second to Arcadia Valley last season, victims of a lopsided 79-48 championship game on Thanksgiving Day. Arcadia Valley is seeded No. 3 in this year's field behind No. 2 Lesterville.

Fourth is South Iron, followed by West County, Ellington, Clearwater and Bismarck.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Two weeks in and 6,000 votes later ...

We're just two weeks into voting for the SEMO MVP Award, and 6,000 fans already have made their choice in our fourth annual survey. We're on track for the biggest voting total so far with at least another week remaining to vote for Southeast Missouri's high school football MVP.

A trend that's raised questions (including a few accusations) is the sudden spike in votes for individual nominees over a short period of time. It's happened a few times in the past two weeks of voting, and it happened today.

But it's not cheating. It's not deception. It's just clever marketing.

Thanks to social media sites, word of our SEMO MVP Award has spread across Facebook and Twitter for the past 13 days. And as social media junkies know, the right post to the right friends at the right time can generate plenty of action (and, in this case, SEMO MVP Award votes).

In the past, nominees have gotten waves of quick votes through announcements at football games, in faculty meetings, on radio stations and in newspapers.

But it's not cheating.

And to make sure it's a fair and accurate count, vote totals of each nominee are checked each day to be sure they're not manipulated through multiple votes or spamming from an individual IP address. Cheating won't happen, and if it does, it'll be addressed and corrected quickly.

But until voting ends (when each nominee's season ends), there's nothing wrong with spreading the word. It's fair game.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The smartest guy in Southeast Missouri football (or at least in our contest)

When it comes down to spotting a winner, Hardknocks is the best of the best.

After 10 weeks in our first-ever (and likely the first annual) Cash Money Football Contest, Hardknocks has finished as a clear-cut winner after picking five of six games correct Thursday in our final week of the regular-season.

For that, a $100 bill awaits.

Hardknocks ended the season with 50 correct picks out of a possible 60. But it was close — bystander finished with 49 correct picks after going 4-of-6 in the final week.

The final week saw the biggest range of highs and lows this season — one person was 0-of-6, one was 6-of-6, and the rest were somewhere in-between.

The rest of the final leaders: z0e95 with 48, CW with 47, DJ and roundbelly with 46 apiece, headhunt and hb1025 with 45, billythekid and sportswiz with 44, jamiehall with 43, and daddy, epnation and officerpigskin with 42 each.

Thanks to everybody who joined us this season. It was exciting, it was fun and it was great motivation to come back this time next year and do it all over again.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Who's in, who's close and who's out in the district football race

A few things are certain going into the final week of the high school football regular season, but a handful of districts involving the area's 33 teams are still up for grabs.

Here's a rundown of each local race. District champions will host first-round playoff games on Nov. 3, and district runnersup will go on the road.

Class 1 District 1
It's Thayer's district to win or lose. The Bobcats will be heavy favorites to defeat Cabool this week and win outright. Hayti can clinch second place at 2-1 with a win over Portageville. Cabool can still win the district if it beats Thayer and if Portageville wins at Hayti.

Class 1 District 2
Valle Catholic and Chaffee are assured playoff spots. Their game this week will determine the champion and runnerup.

Class 2 District 1
This one is simple to figure out, too. Caruthersville has clinched the district title. East Prairie and Malden will play to determine second place this week.

Class 2 District 2
This one comes down to a district championship between Crystal City and Herculaneum this week, which both are 2-0. The winner is the champion, and the loser of that game finishes second.

Class 2 District 3
Grandview was eliminated with its 17-14 loss to Brentwood on Friday. Brentwood and Principia are 2-0 and will play to decide first and second place this week.

Class 3 District 1
Dexter and Fredericktown both are 2-0. They play Thursday to decide the champion and runnerup.

Class 3 District 2
Another simple one: Park Hills Central and Ste. Genevieve are playoff-bound, and they'll decide the district winner and second-place finisher in their game Thursday.

Class 3 District 7
Owensville has clinched the district championship. Osage and Salem will play Thursday for the second-place spot.

Class 4 District 1
Sikeston can win the district outright by defeating Farmington. Cape Girardeau Central can finish second by defeating Perryville. If Farmington and Central both win, three teams will finish in a first-place tie broken by the point system.

Class 4 District 2
This one is still wide open and could require math when it's all over. If DeSoto wins, it clinches the district at 3-0. If DeSoto and Potosi win, they go to the playoffs. If DeSoto and North County win, three teams will be tied for second at 1-2, requiring the point tie-breaker. If Hillsboro and North County win, then DeSoto and Hillsboro advance. If Potosi and Hillsboro win, three teams will be tied for first.

Class 4 District 3
Festus and Windsor are still alive in this one. Affton can go 3-0 with a win this week over Festus. If Affton and Windsor both win, they go to the playoffs. If Affton and DuBourg win, three teams will tie for second place at 1-2. If Festus and Windsor win, three teams will be tied for first, requiring the point system tie-breaker.

Class 5 District 1
This one gets tricky. Rockwood Summit can go 3-0 in the district with a win at Jackson. If Rockwood Summit and Seckman both win, Jackson is eliminated. If Rockwood Summit and Poplar Bluff win, then Rockwood Summit is the champion; three teams would be tied for second place, and the point system would be used (this scenario is Poplar Bluff's only way into the playoffs). If Jackson and Poplar Bluff win, Jackson wins the district. If Jackson and Seckman win, three teams would be tied for first place at 2-1, and the tie-breaker would be used.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's time to pick an MVP

It's not easy picking the 10 most valuable high school football players in Southeast Missouri, and it'll be even harder to pick just one.

But your input and feedback — along with opinions of a few coaches and athletes across the area — has helped us put together a list of 10 nominees for the fourth annual SEMO MVP Award, and we'll have at least three weeks to decide the best of the bunch.

The first thing you might notice when you see the list is that several really, really good athletes in our 33-team area aren't there, and that's what made this list nearly impossible to create. Dozens of names were tossed around for almost a month, and about 25 athletes on offense and defense were seriously considered before the last round of cuts.

Our final survey could have included 20 names. It almost included 12, but it was narrowed down to the original goal of 10 late Wednesday. And trust me, it was painful to remove anybody from the list.

But now the next choice is all yours, and we'll keep the voting open until each of ouru 10 nominees complete the season (including playoffs).

For the winner (with MSHSAA regulations in mind) we'll hand over a pretty cool engraved plaque and add his name to our three-person list of SEMO MVPs so far.

To make your pick and see the list of nominees, follow this link to our SEMO MVP Award page.

To join the discussion about our award, follow this link to our forum.

And always, I welcome any comments or feedback, too. E-mail me at

Thursday, October 14, 2010

One week to go before we start deciding a SEMO Football MVP

Trying to figure out the single best high school football player in Southeast Missouri is a tough task - and so far just picking out the list of 10 finalists is a test in itself.

Here's where we stand: So far, it appears that Cameron Carey of Thayer, Vohland Fonda of Caruthersville, Zach Hibbits of Farmington, Trey Lewis of Sikeston and G'Darius Stevenson of NMCC all are on the final ballot for the fourth annual SEMO Football MVP Award. That's the survey that we open up to fans every season to determine who, in your opinion, is the best football player among our region's 33 teams.

The poll will go on our site next week and will stay up through the playoffs, but we still have to fill the final five spots. And that's the tough part.

At Malden, Tanner Murphy and Quentin Jackson are a tough pass-receiver combo that have helped make the Green Wave a playoff contender.

Cape Girardeau Central, Jackson, Sikeston and Valle Catholic are a combined 27-1 with athletes on offense and defense that are sure to make all-state lists and future college rosters.

Quarterbacks like Adam Grantham, Matt Marler and Brendan Weiler have passed for more than 4,300 yards in all and have been crucial parts of the offense.

Garett Schaefer of Scott City lacks size but makes up for it in quickness at Scott City, where he's run for more than 1,000 yards this season.

The list goes on - in fact, the list of athletes near or beyond 1,000 yards of offense this season grows each week. Mention tackles, sacks and fumble recoveries and we've got a whole new set of top-level athletes.

But we're closing in on a list of 10, and this is where your opinion can make the difference. Click on our message board and chime in with your opinion. Let us know who should make the list and who shouldn't, then check back next week to see the final 10 and make your MVP pick.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Week 7 was way too easy for our wise guys

I had a feeling the Week 7 choices in our Cash Money Football Contest seemed easy on paper, but I had no idea that almost everybody in the contest would go 6-for-6.

But it happened. In fact, all but one of our football experts were 6-for-6, even though a couple of games almost ruined the perfect night (Portageville and Caruthersville both had to rally to win at home, and Potosi scored in the final 10 seconds to win).

The one holdout who spoiled a clean 6-for-6 sweep for our panel: Me. I picked Grandview in a Saturday upset over Crystal City, but it didn't happen.

So that leaves the standings almost unchanged from last week as we count down the final three weeks of football picks. There's a $100 prize for the winner.

But enjoy that easy week, gang. This week's lineup includes Hayti-Thayer, Cape Central-Farmington, Poplar Bluff-Jackson and Malden-Caruthersville. It's time to get your thinkin' caps out. I'll get those game posted in our forum by the end of the day Sunday.

The leaders after Week 7:

1. hardknocks, 36
2. zoe95, 35
3. bystander, 34
3. cw, 34
3. epnation, 34
3. headhunt, 34
7. billythekid, 33
7. bystander, 33
7. roundbelly, 33
10. dj, 32
10. officerpigskin, 32
10. sportswiz, 32
13. jamiehall, 31
14. daddy, 30
14. hb1025, 30
16. mutigers, 29

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The SEMO MVP voting starts in two weeks — who makes the cut?

The list of 10 nominees for the SEMO MVP Award for local high school football is coming together slowly but surely, but we're still looking to fill the final five spots on the ballot before the poll goes onto the site for voting in two weeks.

Our fourth annual survey goes live on the site Oct. 19, and fans can cast a vote for their MVP pick until every local teams finishes its playoff season. The poll will close immediately after that final game.

So far, five names have emerged from a very talented list among our region's 33 teams. The five who appear to be locks on the list of 10 are:

1. Cameron Carey, a Thayer running back who leads the region in rushing yards this season.
2. Vohland Fonda, a running back who has become Caruthersville's No. 1 weapon on offense.
3. Zach Hibbits, a quarterback who has led his Farmington team to a 6-0 start.
4. Trey Lewis, a quarterback whose speed makes him equally tough on the run for Sikeston.
5. G'Darius Stevenson, a quarterback who has excelled during NMCC's rough season.

Unless something dramatic changes, those five will be on the list. But that means we have five spots left open.

We have a discussion going on The Board to see who should fill the last spots, so click the link, add your opinion and see who else is being mentioned.

Be sure to check back starting Oct. 19 to cast your vote.

Two changes at the top in list of SEMO football leaders

There are two changes at the top of the SEMO football leaders list this week.

Cameron Carey of Thayer has moved into the top spot of the leading rushers category this week. His 941 yards were good enough to climb to first ahead of G'Darius Stevenson of NMCC and Jacob Farmer of Fredericktown.

Click here for the full list, which includes the area's top 10 rushers, top five passers and top five receivers updated Monday.

There's also a change at the top of the list of receivers, where Quentin Jackson of Malden has moved to the front with 512 yards. Jonathan Bird of Farmington sits at No. 2, and Janeil Hatchett of Sikeston is third.

Among quarterbacks, Zach Hibbits of Farmington remains at the top of the list. Adam Grantham of Kennett is second, and Brendan Weiler of Ste. Genevieve is third. They're among five quarterbacks who have topped 1,000 yards passing after six weeks.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Former Kelly coach continues to recovery from burns

A couple of weekend notes:

Nick Lanpher is doing well in rehabiliation as part of his recovery from burns he suffered in an accident in late August. Lanpher, who coached boys basketball at Kelly for almost 20 years, has undergone multiple surgeries and skin grafts as part of his recovery, but he's on track to be released from the hospital by Oct. 19. That's much sooner than expected, according to family members.

In the meantime, cards are welcome at Skyline Medical Center, 3441 Dickerson Pike, Nashville, TN 37207, Room No. 309. Family members have set up a Facebook page to help spread word of the former coach's recovery.

Tim Almany of Festus and Brian Jennings of Bernie are the first two winners of our See-Text-Win t-shirt giveway. How they did it: Both attended high school varsity games, sent us the score via text message and were automatically entered into the weekly drawing. Both will get a SemoSportsWeb t-shirt in the mail in the next week.

We'll be giving away lots more t-shirts all through the high school season. Click here for details on how to win.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

One football expert pulls ahead in our Cash Money Contest

For the first time all season, there's a clear-cut leader in the race for $100 cash in our Cash Money Football Contest.

Football guru hardknocks went 5-of-6 in Friday's games, and that puts him solely in first place with 30 correct guesses out of a possible 36 this season.

Nobody was a perfect 6-of-6 Friday, but nine of our masterminds correctly picked five games. Park Hills Central's win over Hillsboro stumped most of us, and so did Potosi's win over Fredericktown.

Next week's games will be posted in The Board by the end of the day Sunday.

After six weeks, here's the lead pack with four weeks left before we decide the winner:

1. hardknocks, 30
2. zoe95, 29
3. bystander, 28
3. cw, 28
3. epnation, 28
3. headhunt, 28
7. billythekid, 27
7. bystander, 27
7. roundbelly, 27
10. dj, 26
10. jamiehall, 26
10. officerpigskin, 26
10. sportswiz, 26
14. daddy, 24
14. hb1025, 24
16. mutigers, 23

Friday, September 24, 2010

We didn't stink it up this week, but we came close

Just as we hit the halfway point of the season, we discovered that local football teams still have a lot of surprises left in them.

Nobody correctly picked all six winners in our Cash Money Football Contest on Friday, and only person — our guru named CW — correctly picked five. Turns out that Chaffee's win over Scott City and Malden's win over Dexter really threw us off; only person (sportswiz) picked Chaffee, and only three of us picked Malden.

After the night was settled, two stand at the head of the pack — zoe95 and hardknocks both have 25 points out of a possible 30 so far. Two are tied at 24, and four others have 23 points apiece.

And in case you forgot why you're playing along: The leader after the regular season in our first annual contest wins $100 in cold, hard cash, along with the distinction of being Southeast Missouri's wisest high school football swami.

I'll have next week's lineup of six more games posted by the end of the day Sunday.

Here are the top 15 after Week 5:

1. hardknocks, 25 points
1. zoe95, 25
3. billythekid, 24
3. headhunt, 24
5. bystander, 23
5. CW, 23
5. epnation, 23
5. roundbelly, 23
9. dj, 22
10. daddy, 21
10. jamiehall, 21
10. officerpigskin, 21
10. sportswiz, 21
14. epfan08, 19
14. hb1025, 19

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Valle Catholic, Ste. Genevieve coaches reach milestone three days apart

It's rare enough to reach 500 wins as a volleyball coach, but two local high school coaches have done it three days apart — and just across town from each other.

Valle Catholic coach Nancy Fischer won her 500th career game Tuesday when her Warriors won 25-11, 25-12 at Kingston. It gives her team a 16-0-1 record. She was greeted at the city limits by cheering crowd that escorted her back to campus in a convertible.

Just three days earlier, Ste. Genevieve coach Dennis Drumm won his 500th career game as part of his team's championship at the Jefferson College Tournament in Hillsboro.

Valle Catholic is No. 7 in Class 1 in the newest state coaches' poll released Monday; Ste. Genevieve is just outside the top 10 in Class 3.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

An imperfect week makes it an interesting race

For the first time this season, none of our football gurus were perfect in their Friday night picks, and that helped tighten the race in our Cash Money Football Contest.

Nine experts went 5-for-6 in Friday's games, seven went 4-for-6, and one really, really absent-minded one — that would be me — went 5-for-6 and somehow forgot to even guess a winner in the Malden-Portageville game, thus preventing a guaranteed 6-for-6 night.

So that leaves three swamis at the top with 21 points apiece — zoe95, billythekid and hardknocks lead the pack for now, with headhunt, bystander and dj right behind with 20 points each. Behind that pack is a free-for-all with a lot of folks still in close range.

And for those who are new to our football season guesswork: There's a $100 bill set aside for the person who picks the most winners of local games through the end of the regular season. After I post six matchups here each week, just add your reply with your predicted winner of each game -- each correct pick earns a point, with a maximum of 6 points awarded to one person each week and 60 for the season.

Next week's pairings -- guaranteed to not be easy -- will be posted on The Board by the end of the day Sunday.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Six gurus go 6-for-6 in the Cash Money Football Contest

Maybe this week's picks weren't as tough as I expected — six SEMO football gurus went 6-for-6, the best (and possibly easiest) week out of three so far in our Cash Money Football Contest.

The wisest of the wise: officerpigskin, zoe95, billythekid, mutigers, hardknocks and DJ accurately picked Farmington, Grandview, Portageville, Park Hills Central, Fredericktown and East Prairie to win Friday's games. Nice job by all six.

That keeps a tie at the top of the heap between zoe95 and billythekid, both with 17 points out of a possible 18 so far. Tied for second are bystander, hardknocks and dj with 16 apiece. Behind that pack, one of our gurus has 15 points, and four have 14, so it's still anybody's ball game.

The ultimate winner gets the honor of being SEMO's No. 1 football mastermind and $100 cash after the 10-week season.

Next week's games will definitely be tougher on our whole panel with several good rivalries on the schedule — I'll have the list posted in our forum by the end of the day Sunday.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

SEMO Spike Volleyball Tournament's field of 48 gets ready

Outside of the playoffs, there's not a bigger stage for Southeast Missouri high school volleyball teams than the SEMO Spike Volleyball Tournament, a two-day showcase that kicks off Friday and wraps up in a flurry Saturday.

The 48-team field starts working through 16 pool divisions at 4:30 p.m. Friday, and each team in the three-team pools will advance to bracket games at 8 a.m. Saturday. Games will be scattered across eight courts at the Show Me Center, the Southeast Student Rec Center and Notre Dame High School both days.

Championships in each bracket — the gold bracket, silver bracket and bronze bracket — will be played later Saturday.

Admission prices vary. On Friday, it's $5 for adults, then $9 for adults before 2 p.m. Saturday. After 2 p.m. Saturday, adult admission is $5. Youth admission is $4 across the board.

Click here to take a look back at last year's tournament scores. More than 5,000 fans attended parts of the two-day event a year ago.

Friday, September 03, 2010

In a tough, tough Week 2 contest, one stands alone

I knew our six games in our Cash Money Football Contest would be tough this week, but I thought at least a couple of people might get lucky enough to pick all six.

Instead, only one of our football experts - hardknocks - correctly picked the winner in all six games. Nice work.

Five others went 5-of-6: epfan08, z0e95, billythekid, bystander and DJ all missed just one game out of six.

After two weeks, there's still a deadlock at the top, where z0e95, billythekid and bystander all have 11 points, just one game short of perfection. Four others are tied for second place with 10 points apiece: epfan08, headhunt, hardknocks and DJ.

We have eight weeks left to go before we know who will walk off with a $100 bill as the winner and the satisfaction of being Southeast Missouri's true high school football guru of 2010.

Looking ahead at Week 3, it looks like our six-game lineup might be a little easier, but not by much. I'll have those games posted over in the forum by the end of the day Sunday.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sizing up the SEMO 33 poll Saturday on YHC-TV

I had the distinction of being the first guest on the first episode of the Sports Roundtable on YHC-TV over the weekend. Host Tyler Wagner and I took a look back at the preseason SEMO 33 poll and offered a few opinions and guesstimations along the way. The show was a blast, and I'm already looking forward to another invitation.

The show will air live with new guests at 10 a.m. every Saturday throughout the high school sports season on YHC-TV, which broadcasts on cable networks throughout Southeast Missouri and Northeast Arkansas. You can also catch it on

If you missed Saturday's opener, here's a look back:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Five go 6-for-6 in our cash-money football contest's first week

Five people correctly picked all six winners in the first week of our cash-money football contest, but everybody who entered picked at least four winners — not bad for a week in which we really didn't know what to expect, and that led to many of us (including me) being surprised by Cape Girardeau Central's landslide win over New Madrid County Central (Thayer's win and Malden's win also stumped at least a couple of people).

But Week 2 is approaching fast, so check out the message board and take a look at this week's six games — they're tough ones, so if anybody goes 6-for-6 this time, it'll take a lot more than just good guesswork.

A long day on the road Saturday delayed a few updates to our site, but other things are popping up online today (or within the next 24 hours), including photos from football games featuring Festus-Farmington and Cape Central-NMCC, along with Saturday's game featuring Jackson at first-year varsity program O'Fallon Christian; local football rushing, passing and receiving leaders after Week 1; and the new SEMO 33 poll, which will show changes among the top 10.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sports show returns Saturday on YHC-TV

I'll join host Tyler Wagner and other guests Saturday to talk about Friday's games and look ahead to the rest of the high school football season when The Sports Roundtable returns Saturday morning after its summer break.

The show will air live each week at 10 a.m. on YHC TV, a Dexter-based network available on several cable systems across Southeast Missouri and Northeast Arkansas. Check for availability and channel.

The show can also be watched live on, and it replays at 4 and 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

SEMO basketball schedule includes home visit by Arkansas State

A visit by coach Dickey Nutt's previous school is among home-court highlights for Southeast's men's basketball team.

The school released the final schedules late Tuesday for both the men's team and women's team.

On the men's side, ASU presents an intriguing matchup at the Show Me Center — it's the same ASU where Nutt coached for almost 13 seasons before he was pressured to resign in February 2008. He was hired at Southeast about a year later, and ASU dominated the Redhawks in a 73-49 outcome last year.

They play again Nov. 27 in Cape Girardeau.

In all, Southeast will have 15 home dates, including exhibitions, Ohio Valley Conference games and an ESPN BracketBuster matchup to be determined.

Road games present a tough nonconference challenge with dates at Arkansas, Iowa State, Southern Illinois-Carbondale and Southern Methodist.

The Southeast women's team also face a tough climb with a packed nonconference schedule, including home dates against Northern Iowa and Western Michigan, along with road games at Texas-Arlington, Notre Dame and Louisville and a four-team tournament at Mississippi.

The home schedule includes 15 dates, including exhibitions and OVC games.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Baseball, football, soccer, softball and volleyball scores are coming

With high school sports starting this week, we'll be working to gather scores for baseball, football, boys soccer, softball and volleyball for Southeast Missouri's 83 high schools.

All through the season, click on our home page and follow the links to scores for each sport. We'll add scores just as soon as they're passed along to us.

It's not an easy chore rounding up scores for more than 200 teams, so we'll take all the help we can get: If you're a coach, athlete or fan, pass along your score by e-mail (send it to or send a text message from your cell phone to (573) 979-5929.

And don't forget our Friday night football updates — we'll post updated scores of games in progress just as often as we get them.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SEMO is a big target on Ball State's radar

The Ohio Valley Conference's coaches might not hold Southeast football in high regard this season, but Ball State sure is.

OVC coaches in the preseason picked SEMO to finish near the bottom of the league, but Ball State has been focused on Southeast from the time it stepped on the field for 15 days of spring practice back in March. Even now, Ball State's focus through the fall has been squarely on Southeast.

That's the outcome of the Cardinals' 2-10 record last season, one in which Ball State got caught looking at big-picture goals rather than week-to-week achievements.

SEMO goes to Muncie, Ind., to play Ball State in the opener for both teams Sept. 2.

"We need to be 1-0, that's the whole thing," Ball State coach Stan Parrish said of the Cardinals' focus on Southeast, which itself was 2-9 last season. "Last year, we thought we could run our stuff pretty much against whatever you got in the opener.

"You can do that to a degree, but we weren't good enough," he told Muncie's Star-Press this week. "There's no question our guys are focused on the first game. They all know it."

Ball State opened the season with seven straight losses last year, including a 20-10 season-opening loss to North Texas in Week 1 and a 23-16 loss to New Hampshire in Week 2. Southeast opened with a 72-3 win over Quincy last season.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Michael Porter will attend SEMO, but basketball future is "50-50"

Michael Porter, whose basketball career was uncertain at Missouri State University following a June car wreck, will transfer to Southeast Missouri State — where his chances of playing basketball remain sketchy.

Porter, rumored to be considering a transfer to Southeast for several weeks, confirmed today that he would in fact transfer and be closer to his former home in Sikeston. But he called his chances of playing basketball again "50-50" as he continues to recover from hip surgery as a result of a crash in rural southwest Missouri in June.

Porter recently became a father, which played a role in his decision to move closer to home.

"The past few months have helped me prioritize things in my life. Whether or not I am able to play basketball again, I want to stay close to home," Porter told Springfield's News-Leader. "I love the Missouri State program, but I have a son now, and being a father figure is more important than ever."

In all, he scored 23 points and had 11 rebounds and later was approved for a medical redshirt. He was granted a release from his scholarship this morning.

Last week, MSU coach Cuonzo Martin said Porter's status at MSU was uncertain because of his injuries. He had returned home to Sikeston this summer while he recovered.

Southeast was among Porter's final choices when he made his decision to attend and play at MSU.

"I love the game, and it would be hard to walk away," Porter said. "That’s why I am taking everything very slow."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Michael Porter's status is still wait-and-see at MSU

Michael Porter's status for the upcoming men's basketball season is still uncertain as he continues to heal from a car crash.

Porter, a Sikeston High grad and Class 4 all-state pick, was approved for a medical reshirt after injuries limited his freshman season at Missouri State University. He scored 23 points and had 11 rebounds for the Bears.

He has four seasons of eligibility remaining, but coach Cuonzo Martin said this week that it's too early to tell when Porter will return. Porter dislocated his hip in early June when his car rolled off a highway near near Rogersville in Christian County.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Blake Dewitt goes 3-for-4 in debut with Cubs

Blake Dewitt's trade to the Chicago Cubs was a whirlwind two-day stretch that ended with one of his best MLB games: He went 3-for-4 with a double as part of an 8-7 loss to Colorado on Sunday.

Dewitt, a Sikeston High grad, was traded early Saturday by the Dodgers in a multi-player deal. The trade came as a surprise — "A shock," Dewitt called it — and he was unexpectedly added to Sunday's lineup when the Cubs came up short-handed in their game at Denver.

Next up for Dewitt is Monday night's debut at Wrigley Field.

"I've been with the [Dodgers] organization for a while," Dewitt told "Like everybody told me, the first time being traded is always the toughest. You grow close to your teammates but I really couldn't be more excited about this opportunity. It's a great organization, a great city and great baseball."

Dewitt will wear No. 9 in Chicago. And as a member of the Cubs, he gets another series closer to home against the Cardinals. The Cubs play in St. Louis Aug. 13, 14 and 15.

Monday, July 26, 2010

SEMO's seventh-place prediction means Samuel might need a miracle

Another season has delivered another disappointing outlook for Southeast football.

But don't be surprised if it's the last one with Tony Samuel's name beside it.

The Redhawks, coming off a 2-9 season with Samuel in charge, is tied for seventh place in the Ohio Valley Conference's preseason poll released today by the league. It's a step up from last season, when Southeast was predicted to finish last for the third time in four years. It hasn't been picked better than seventh in any of Samuel's five seasons.

The Redhawks might not find much momentum early in the season with a schedule that includes a trip to Ball State in in the opener and a game at SIU-Carbondale two weeks later. In between is a date at Murray State, one of the two teams Southeast defeated last season.

Southeast's two-win season — and some amount of progress on the field — helped convince new athletic director John Shafer to keep Samuel around for the final year of his contract. But with Samuel operating under a one-year microscope, the pressure is on for a breakthrough season. This year, for Samuel to be back for a sixth season, the progress has to lead to wins.

The OVC poll shows that few expect it to happen.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Zone tournament should be tough, even with smaller field

Missouri's eastern zone tournament is down to five teams this year, but don't let the smaller field fool you — this is one tough bunch.

Defending state champion Festus (20-3) heads up a solid field that sets out on the three-day schedule Friday. All games are at Capaha Park in Cape Girardeau.

This year's field — minus Perryville, which disbanded midway through the season — will play first-round games Friday, followed by one game Saturday and two Sunday, including the championship.

Behind Festus, Eureka (33-6) returns as a district champion after it finished second to Festus in last year's zone championship. Cape Girardeau (37-11) and Dunklin County (37-8) advanced from district 14, and American Veterans Post 67 advanced from its metro St. Louis district.

Friday's games feature Dunklin County vs. AmVets at 2 p.m., Cape Girardeau vs. Eureka at 5, and Festus vs. the Dunklin County-AmVets winner at 8.

Saturday features games at 2, 5 and 8 p.m. Sunday's games start at 2, followed by the championship at 5. A final if-necessary tie-breaker game could be played Monday.

Zone winners move on to the state championship in Sedalia next weekend.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Blake Dewitt's St. Louis weekend: 4-for-12, but no wins

It had to be a memorable weekend for Blake Dewitt, who returned home to play the Cardinals in a four-game series. It probably wasn't as fun for the Dodgers, who were swept in St. Louis in the stretch that started Thursday and ended Sunday.

Dewitt, playing in front of a big crowd of family and friends from Sikeston, his hometown, started all four games at second base. He was 1-for-3 with a double in Thursday's game, 0-1 for Friday, 2-for-4 with a double Saturday, and 1-for-4 Sunday.

In 73 games this season, he's batting .296.

It's the last time this season Dewitt will play on an MLB field close to home. The Dodgers come closest to Sikeston again Aug. 13-16 in a four-game series at Atlanta.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rain stops district 13 games at Ste. Genevieve

Rain began midway through DeSoto's game against Rock Memorial on Thursday, pushing that game and the night's finale to Friday in the American Legion senior division district tournament at Ste. Genevieve.

DeSoto and Rock Memorial will resume at 5 p.m. Friday at Yanks Field, followed by Thursday's scheduled late game between top-seeded Festus and second-seeded Ste. Genevieve.

Those teams are the final four remaining in the tournament after Bonne Terre and House Springs were eliminated Wednesday.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Who is SEMO's real football expert? It could be worth $100

An item on our message board has all the info on the SemoSportsWeb high school football contest that starts up next month — it'll be worth $100 cash to the person who correctly picks the most football game winners through the 10-week regular season.

Click this link and get all the details on how to enter and what to do (it's simple, by the way). The season starts in a little more than a month, so the cutoff date will be that same week.

• Also in the forum are schedules for the district 13 American Legion senior division tournament at Ste. Genevieve's Yanks Field (it was scheduled to start Monday), along with the Senior Babe Ruth state tournament at Charleston (it starts Thursday). Click here for the games and times.

The schedule for the district 14 Legion tournament at Notre Dame High School should be coming out soon — final district games were played Sunday. The tournament begins Thursday.

• Local sports lost one of its biggest fans a few days ago when longtime sports reporter Warren Hayes died. Warren covered sports for several years at the Festus News-Democrat and Jefferson County Journal. Co-worker Dennis Barnidge has several fond memories of Warren in this Journal item last week.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

With limited field time, Festus has found solid footing

When district tournaments start next week for American Legion senior division teams across the state — including at Cape Girardeau and Ste. Genevieve — Festus might have the least amount of playing time of any of them.

Post 253 has played just 17 games out of a schedule that originally featured almost 30 dates. By the time the postseason starts Monday, Festus will have played no more than 21 games — and that's barring rain this week.

Scheduling problems started before the season even began for Festus. Coach Pat Bone said in a story in Tuesday's Jefferson Journal that the team's first eight games were cancelled while much of its roster was embarking on a state high school championship run at nearby Crystal City. Three games were lost to rain, and two were cancelled after district opponent Perryville dropped its senior division team in mid-June.

Even the team's own success has worked against it — after last year's state championship and national tournament appearance, Festus saw many old opponents drop off the radar.

"There were some teams that we have scheduled in the past that didn't want to play us this year, and that's unfortunate," Bone told the Journal. "I guess they just didn't want to come down, take a beating and go home. And that's OK. I have had down teams, and I've never turned down anybody. Cape Girardeau, Dunklin County, all those teams, they don't want to play us. And they have good teams this year. That's what I don't understand."

In spite of a shorter season, Festus went 11-0 in its district and will hold the top seed in next week's tournament at Ste. Genevieve. If it wins, it could face Cape Girardeau or Dunklin County, which are heavy favorites to reach their district tournament at Cape Girardeau.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Clearwater senior takes his spot (several spots) in state record books

There's no doubt Clearwater senior Kendall Fay was a monster on local baseball fields the past few seasons. But a story published Sunday describes exactly how history will remember him.

Acording to Rob Tate's Daily American Republic story, Fay will appear 17 times in the new MSHSAA record book next season after an amazing finish to his high school career.

Unofficially, Fay tied for the state lead in home runs (12) during the spring season and in RBIs (54) during spring games. Although no group compiled a complete list of single-season leaders for the past season, so far it doesn't look like anybody in the state had more homers or RBIs than Fay this season.

And as a result of a big senior season, he'll be listed just behind state record-setters in 17 career categories in MSHSAA history. Those stats include only the spring season, even though Fay also plays during Clearwater's fall baseball season.

Although he didn't break the state record in those categories, he came closest in the runs-scored list — he will rank fourth all-time with 132, just 35 behind record-holders Jake Whitesides of Hickman and Blake DeWitt of Sikeston.

According to the DAR, Fay ranks sixth all-time in walks, sixth in on-base percentage, 11th in extra base hits, 13th in runs per game, 13th in total bases, 15th in hits, 16th in slugging percentage, 24th in at-bats, 27th in batting average, and 31st in doubles.

Fay has signed to play next season at Williams Baptist College.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Headlines don't lie — there's a lot of news around here

One of the great things about being an independently owned sports site: For change to happen, there aren't multiple layers of managers and tie-wearers who have to approve it.

Instead, we've brought back an old format — local sports headlines — based on growing need and requests from visitors to our site. Simple as that.

The growing list of headlines will stay near the top right corner of our home page. In that small corner is where we've posted a long list of exclusive news for almost three years, from coaching changes to athlete injuries to state and national championships (and then watched the local corporate media play catch-up).

The format was dropped in February, but the bottom line is that there's too much local sports news in our area (much of which isn't covered elsewhere) to not give it greater attention. And so we will.

And while we were making adjustments, the ESPN Bottom Line news ticker found a new home at the bottom of the page, and local bloggers moved across the page.

As always, ideas and suggestions are always welcome. Drop me an e-mail at

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Longtime Bootheel coach takes Portageville football job

Ronnie Jones will be back on a New Madrid County football field in the fall.

Jones, a longtime coach at nearby New Madrid County Central, will coach Portageville's varsity team this season. He fills the job left open by Lee Wallace, who recently resigned.

Jones coached at NMCC for 18 seasons starting in 1983, the third season for the new school's football program. He coached the team to 12 winning seasons, including 10-2 in 1999 and 9-1 in 2000. His teams reached the playoffs nine times.

He later coached at Kennett for two seasons (2003 and '04) and at Scott City for two seasons ('07 and '08) before retiring.

Wallace was Portageville's coach for three seasons and led the program's turnaround last year. After going 0-9 in both '07 and '08, the Bulldogs were 4-6 in 2009.

Portageville will open its season Aug. 28 against Caruthersville.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Former Bismarck, DeSoto basketball coach dies

Frank Bradley, who coached high school basketball for several years at two Southeast Missouri schools, has died.

Bradley, who was 66, was voted KTJJ-FM basketball coach of the year in 1980 after coaching for several seasons at Bismarck and DeSoto. He died Friday at his home in DeSoto.

Services were held at Mahn Funeral Home in DeSoto. Memorials may be sent to The American Lung Association or DeSoto Elks Food Basket.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dunklin County builds momentum with Paducah tournament title

Dunklin County might have stepped into the driver's seat for the upcoming American Legion zone tournament after it went 6-0 to win a big weekend title.

Dunklin County (24-4) won six games in the four-day Polk Brooks Invitational at Paducah, Ky., including the decisive 15-11 win over Columbia, Tenn., for the championship Sunday. Columbia won the 2007 American Legion World Series.

Dunklin's most narrow escape came in its very first game, a 10-9 win over Lyon County — a game Lyon County led until the final inning. Wins over Gallatin, Tenn., Florissant and Paducah completed a sweep of its pool. Dunklin defeated Terre Haute, Ind., in Sunday's semifinal.

Dunklin County hosts zone rival Cape Girardeau in a key doubleheader at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The zone tournament — hosted by Cape Girardeau — starts in a little over three weeks.

Several Southeast Missouri teams were included in the Paducah field, but only Dunklin County advanced to the semifinals. Cape Girardeau and Ste. Genevieve both went 3-1; Jackson was 0-4.

Another big tournament over the weekend ended with a Poplar Bluff championship. The senior American Legion team defeated Charleston's senior Babe Ruth team Sunday in Poplar Bluff's eight-team tournament.

Click here for a full list of scores from the weekend.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

See Blake DeWitt play in St. Louis for a bargain

Sikeston alum Blake DeWitt will join the Dodgers for a three-game series in St. Louis next month, and a special promotion has dropped ticket prices to just $10.

To get the discount, go to and click on the ad for 101 ESPN Day at the Ballpark. Tickets are $10 plus tax for the July 16 game, but they're regularly priced for the other games in the series July 15 and 17.

DeWitt was sent back to the minors the past two seasons shortly before his Dodgers were scheduled to make their St. Louis trip.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chris Foster back on familiar ground as new North County coach

Chris Foster, whose all-state basketball career at Arcadia Valley led him to a record-setting run at Northern Iowa, is back in Southeast Missouri — this time as varsity boys basketball coach at North County.

Foster was hired to replace Dan Johnson, who resigned last month to accept the vacant Hillsboro coaching job.

Foster, 29, is a 2005 graduate of Northern Iowa, where he finished with 1,027 career points. He ranks No. 2 all-time in three-pointers made and second in three-pointers attempted.

The North County job is Foster's first as a head coach; he was an assistant coach at Northern Iowa for three seasons.

More than 20 boys and girls coaching jobs have been filled since the season ended in March. Click here for the full list.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Focused on baseball with an eye toward football

For the second year in a row, we're doing our best to round up scores for senior American Legion teams and senior Babe Ruth teams — rain has tinkered with the schedule as it usually does this time of year, but links to both scoreboards are on our homepage.

And for coaches, fans and athletes who don't see their team's score listed — pass them along to us at or in a text message via cell phone at 573-979-5929 after each game.

On the subject of lists: High school football preseason jamborees are about two months away, and teams have their preseason (and regular-season) schedules ironed out and ready to go. The links to both — along with last season's stats, SEMO 33 polls and photos — also are posted on our home page.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Michael Porter out 4-6 months after car crash

Sikeston High grad and current Missouri State University basketball player Michael Porter will be out 4-6 months after he was hurt in a car crash late Wednesday night.

According to a Missouri Highway Patrol report, Porter was not wearing a seat belt when his car overturned at a sharp curve on a highway in Christian County, about 5 miles south of Rogersville. He was thrown from the vehicle.

The accident happened at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. The report filed by the patrol doesn't specify the cause of the accident.

Porter was taken to a Springfield hospital and underwent surgery on his hip.

MSU coach Cuonzo Martin told the News-Leader that it's "a true blessing that it was nothing more than his hip. There weren’t any broken arms, wrists, knee or any head injuries."

Martin said that Porter "has a long road of recovery ahead of him, but all things considered the doctors indicated he was very fortunate. I'm just thankful that he's going to be OK."

Porter, an all-stater at Sikeston, was slowed by a hamstring injury in the 2009-'10 season and played just six games. He scored 23 points and had 11 rebounds.

Porter was recently approved for a medical redshirt and has four seasons of eligibility remaining.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Farmington takes another shot at KIT League baseball

In the annual ebb and flow of KIT League baseball, Farmington is in, and Sikeston is out.

Farmington makes its home-field return to the league Wednesday against Fulton, Ky. The teams are among five this season in the 5-year-old organization — Fulton, Marion, Owensboro and Dawson Springs' Tradewater represent Kentucky; Farmington is the lone Missouri team.

Farmington returns to the league with owner Ted Kapnick after the city's Firebirds franchise went defunct following the 2009 season. This year's Browns team — coached by Blue Mountain Community College coach Ryan Brisby — is 1-3 after road trips over the weekend.

At Sikeston, the Bulls' return to KIT baseball lasted one season. Sikeston finished fifth among six teams in the league last season before announcing it would be inactive in 2010. Its plans for next season aren't set.

Union City, Tenn. — a KIT member last season — also is inactive this year.

The KIT League is a collegiate summer wood bat group made up of players from NCAA, NJCAA and NAIA schools. Each team will play through July.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Crystal City finishes as a dominant Class 2 team

Crystal City set a high standard for itself after a 6-5 win over defending state champion Valle halfway through the regular season.

The followup was a nip-and-tuck run through the playoffs that ended with an emphatic 10-1 win Thursday over Carrollton for the Class 2 state title in Springfield.

Crystal City scored nine runs in the first two innings, highlighted by Nicholas Portell's two-run double in the first and a two-run home run in the second.

Crystal City (21-5) looked like a state champion early in Thursday's game, maybe even sooner. Clearwater was ranked No. 1 in the state before its loss to the Hornets in the quarterfinal round; Valle was No. 2 before falling to Crystal City in the district semifinals.

But Thursday's win was the most lopsided of Crystal City's postseason. Elijah Sample had three hits, and Logan Jett, Nathan Kaminski and Daniel Rothweiler had two apiece in a dominant offense.

Pitcher Gary Doyle went the distance and struck out three.

In two wins over two days, the Hornets finished with 28 hits and 16 runs.

The championship is Crystal City's first in baseball since an unlikely run in 2000, when the Hornets swept the playoffs and finished with a 13-14 record.

Cooter joined Crystal City as the only Southeast Missouri teams in the state finals; its 4-1 win over St. Elizabeth clinched third place in Class 1. Jonathan Boone, Seth Childers, Jesse Rayburn and Zach Watkins all had two hits; Boone pitched a complete game and struck out nine with a walk.

The Wildcats, who finished fourth in the state a year ago, ended the season at 23-7.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Caruthersville, North County and Van Buren make coaching moves

Nathan Morgan is the new varsity football coach at Caruthersville, stepping up from an assistant role to fill the spot left open by Brad Gerling. Gerling resigned last week to take a job as the district's elementary school principal.

Morgan's assistant coaching role will be filled by Jimmy Jackson, who will return to Caruthersville after an assistant coaching role last season at Hayti.

Two more coaching moves:

• At Van Buren, Dusty Weiskopf is the new boys basketball coach and will replace Wayne Jessen, who left for a coaching job at Mountain Grove. Jessen's team reached the sectional playoff round in March.

Laura Elam will coach the varsity girls basketball team at North County next season; she replaces Craig Allen.

So far, at least 22 boys and girls varsity basketball jobs have opened across Southeast Missouri since late in the season. Five remain open.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Brad Gerling resigns at Caruthersville football coach

Brad Gerling has resigned as Caruthersville's varsity football coach to accept a job as the district's elementary school principal.
Gerling coached the Tigers five seasons, and the team's turnaround since 2007 was remarkable — from 0-10 in 2007 to 5-8 and a state quarterfinalist the next season. The Tigers were 10-3 last season.
Caruthersville reached the playoffs four times in Gerling's five seasons, including three trips to the quarterfinal round.
The school hasn't officially chosen Gerling's replacement.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cash-strapped Tour of Missouri cycling race called off

The Tour of Missouri couldn't find enough corporate backing to offset the state's lack of funding for the 2010 race — and finally today organizers pulled the plug.

The story from Associated Press writer David Lieb:

Organizers of the Tour of Missouri canceled this summer's bicycle race Thursday after state tourism officials declined to help fund it.

Tour of Missouri Chairman Mike Weiss said organizers pulled the plug on the race after Gov. Jay Nixon's administration refused to back it or even to meet with race supporters.

Earlier Thursday, a budget committee for the Missouri Tourism Commission endorsed a $13.4 million spending plan that included no state money for the race. State lawmakers had indicated a preference to allot the race $1 million.

Nixon spokeswoman Christine Bertelson said the final decision on state funding for the race belonged to the Tourism Commission, not the governor. But she indicated that Nixon agreed with the decision.

"In these economic times, given all the cuts that are going on all over state government, there are a lot of things that would be great if they could happen, but the state can't afford them," Bertelson said.

The 2010 Tour of Missouri had been scheduled for Aug. 31 through Sept. 6. Organizers had said previously that it likely would be canceled if the state did not subsidize it.

The three previous annual races received a total of $6 million in public money in addition to corporate and private donations. But the race struggled to find a title sponsor to attach its name to the event, which would have relieved the state of a financial commitment.

Supporters of the race blamed its demise partly on politics.

Last year, Nixon's administration temporarily froze the race's $1.5 million tourism allocation because of the state's financial troubles. The money ultimately was released and the race occurred.

Nixon is a Democrat. The Tour of Missouri was started under his predecessor, Republican Matt Blunt. And it has been championed by Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a likely challenger to Nixon in the 2012 election.

Race supporters complained that Nixon's office ignored their requests for meetings where they could have made a case for the race.

"There needs to be some sort of state endorsement for us to move forward with the planning," Weiss said. Because that never occurred, "we're not working on the event."

The race had been managed by Atlanta-based Medalist Sports Inc., which had wanted a commitment to public financing by this month.

"The leadership and support unfortunately appears to no longer exist, which is an integral element of a successful event of this nature," Chris Aronhalt, manager partner of Medalist Sports, said in a statement Thursday.

Financial woes also have scuttled professional cycling races in Utah, Connecticut and Georgia in recent years, leaving the Tour of California as the country's only high-level pro cycling event.

An economic analysis of the 2009 Tour of Missouri - paid for by the state - estimated that a half-million people watched the race and spent more than $30 million. But some tourism officials have questioned the value of the race when compared with a more broad-based marketing campaign for Missouri.

The proposed state tourism budget endorsed Thursday also cuts funding for advertising and marketing for the state fiscal year that begins July 1. Advertising spending would be less than half of what it was just two years ago.

"Everyone's going to have to take a cut in these tough times," Tourism Commission Vice Chairman Scott Hovis said during Thursday's budgetary meeting.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kevin Emerick resigns as Jefferson basketball coach

Kevin Emerick has resigned as women's basketball coach at Jefferson College, leaving behind an amazing record to go into a private business venture.

Under Emerick, Jefferson's teams were 129-11 over four seasons. During that stretch, his teams never lost a region game, a conference game or even a game in their home gym in Hillsboro. Every loss came at neutral sites.

Emerick's teams were 8-6 at the national NJCAA tournament, and they finished second in the nation the past two seasons.

Southeast fans might remember Emerick as an assistant coach for one season under B.J. Smith. That season, Southeast reached the NCAA women's tournament and set a school record for most wins in the program's history. Emerick left shortly before an NCAA investigation into multiple violations in the program.

Jefferson has not announced Emerick's replacement.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Valle eliminated; G'Darius Stevenson to Sikeston?

Defending Class 2 state baseball champion Valle was eliminated from another state playoff run Friday afternoon.

Crystal City defeated the Warriors 1-0 in the district championship at Kirkwood. It's Crystal City's second win of the season over Valle, the first a 6-5 win April 16.

Crystal City will play a sectional game at home Monday against either Charleston or Scott City, which played at 11 a.m. Saturday at Perryville; that game has been rescheduled twice because of rain.

Other quick notes:

• Word spread this week that all-stater G'Darius Stevenson will bolt NMCC, move to Sikeston and play football for the Bulldogs in the fall. The move would be huge for Sikeston — a team coming off a record-setting season — and a punch to the gut for NMCC, itself coming off a district championship year.

The only problem: It's not happening. G'Darius and NMCC coach Arlen Pixley both said Friday that it's just a rumor. Stevenson, who ran for more than 2,000 yards last season as a junior, will wear an NMCC uniform in the fall.

• Two schools made boys basketball hires this week, both in the Jefferson County Conference. At Festus, assistant coach Anthony Kinder will be the new head coach, replacing Shawn Erickson. At Hillsboro, the Hawks have hired North County coach Dan Johnson to replace Chris O'Connell.

That leaves just a few boys basketball jobs available out of almost 20 that came open since the season ended. Spots are still open Doniphan, Grandview and North County.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Makeup dates set for Thursday's district rainouts

Three high school district baseball championships scheduled for Thursday were washed out, but all three have been rescheduled.

In Class 2, Valle and Crystal City — both ranked among the top 5 in the state coaches poll — will play at 1 p.m. Friday at Vianney High School in Kirkwood, the school announced late Thursday afternoon. The game was moved from Brentwood, where the field is partially covered by water.

If the game is once again postponed because of weather, it's expected to be rescheduled for Saturday.

Also in Class 2, Charleston and Scott City will play at 4:30 p.m. Friday at St. Vincent.

In Class 3, Park Hills Central and Potosi will play at 4 p.m. Saturday at Potosi.

All three games will help complete the sectional schedule for Monday and Tuesday.

Seven more SEMO teams take district baseball titles

Seven Southeast Missouri teams joined the list of district champions Wednesday and earned spots in the state high school baseball sectional round that starts next week.

In Class 4, Jackson knocked off North County 1-0 and advanced to play Tuesday against either Pacific or Washington, which are scheduled to play Thursday. That game, along with others scheduled Thursday, face a forecast of heavy rain.

Elsewhere Wednesday, Notre Dame — ranked No. 1 in the most recent state coaches' poll — defeated No. 5 Kennett for its Class 3 district title and will face either Park Hills Central or Potosi, which play Thursday.

In Wednesday's other district finals, Clearwater advanced to set up a sectional game against Twin Rivers on Monday, while Cooter and Chaffee advanced to a Class 1 faceoff, as did Oak Ridge and Winona.

Two other district championships are set for Thursday: Scott City vs. Charleston at St. Vincent in Class 2, and Crystal City vs. Valle in Class 2.

Click here for the latest state coaches' rankings, and check out the MSHSAA site here for detailed state playoff brackets.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Twin Rivers heads into state sectional round

Updated 10:10 a.m. May 19

Twin Rivers became the first of almost a dozen local teams that could claim a high school baseball district title after the Royals won Tuesday.

Twin Rivers knocked off Neelyville for its Class 2 district title, setting up a sectional game against either Clearwater or Greenville; those teams play Wednesday.

At least five district championships will be up for grabs Wednesday, several of them moved up a day as coaches try to beat Thursday's forecast of rain.

At Risco, coaches shuffled their Class 1 district schedule to include semifinals at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, followed by the championship at 5:30.

Other championships on the line Wednesday feature Bernie at Chaffee at 4 p.m.; Couch vs. Winona at Van Buren at 4; Greenville at Clearwater at 4; Kennett at Notre Dame at 4; and Jackson vs. North County at Poplar Bluff at 3.

Two of those games feature matchups of state-ranked teams. Notre Dame is No. 1 and Kennett No. 5 in the latest state baseball poll (click here for the full rankings), and in Class 1, Bernie is No. 8 and Chaffee No. 10.

Other finals are scheduled for Thursday.

At Caledonia, Lesterville and Oak Ridge are scheduled to play at 4:30 p.m. Thursday for a district title. Finals will be at 3:30 Thursday for Class 3 teams at Potosi, at 4:30 for Class 2 teams at St. Vincent, and at 5 for teams at Brentwood, where the final could feature Crystal City and Valle, which are ranked among the top five in the state poll.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rain makes a mess of district baseball schedule

Wet fields Monday again delayed the start of four high school district baseball tournaments that involve Southeast Missouri teams. But among those that did play, two have produced unlikely championship rounds.

At Poplar Bluff, fourth-seeded Jackson and seventh-seeded North County will play at 3 p.m. Wednesday for a Class 4 district title and a berth in the sectional round after both used upsets to sneak into the finale. Jackson knocked off top-seeded Festus 6-3 on Monday, just before North County defeated sixth-seeded DeSoto 4-1.

The Class 2 tournament at Twin Rivers has also produced an unlikely championship pairing; third-seeded Twin Rivers and fifth-seeded Neelyville will play at 4 p.m. Tuesday for the championship after Monday's upset wins over Malden and Senath-Hornersville.

At least four other tournaments have yet to complete the first round. Rain on fields at Brentwood, Potosi, Risco and St. Vincent have kept almost 20 area teams from playing a postseason game, but those tournaments are scheduled to try again Tuesday.

Get the updated brackets and times on the MSHSAA's baseball page.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Tour of Missouri is all but dead -- will you miss it?

Missouri legislators had to cut $6 million from something in the upcoming budget -- it looks like $1 million of it will come from the Tour of Missouri cycling race, which probably won't survive without the state's financial help.

The race was a boost for tourism across the state, especially in smaller communities that included Cape Girardeau, Farmington and Ste. Genevieve, which were among cities on the race's 600-mile route. Last year's event drew about 500,00 spectators who, in addition to watching the race, spent an estimated $38 million eating local food, buying local products and staying in local hotels.

The 2010 version of the race was already ranked by one publication as one of the top five cycling events in the U.S.

There's still a chance the race will come back with corporate sponsorship -- not a good bet in a dicey economy, but not impossible. We'll hope that somebody steps up with a hefty financial backing.

If it doesn't come back, will you miss it?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kelly picks Josh Eftink as head coach

Josh Eftink will go from Woodland to Kelly after he was hired as the Hawks' new boys basketball coach this week.

He's the second coach so far this season to leave one SEMO area head coaching job and quickly land in another one. Nate Wills — who coached at Kelly the past three seasons — will take over at Bell City next season.

Eftink coached at Woodland the past three years.

About a half-dozen boys basketball coaching job remain open, including those at Doniphan, Festus, Hillsboro and Woodland. At least 17 boys basketball teams will start next season with a new head coach.

Click here for the full list of coaching changes coming up next season in the 23-county area.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Brian Brandtner is back, this time at Cooter

Brian Brandtner, whose short stays at Bell City at Caruthersville led both schools to a string of 20-win seasons, will try to work the same magic at Cooter next season. The school said Tuesday it's formally hired Brandtner as its new boys basketball coach.

Brandtner will also teach history at the high school. He replaces Delane Beckwith, who coached the Wildcats for three seasons.

In a little more than three full seasons at Bell City and three more in Caruthersville, Brandtner's style on and off the court drew criticism, but his results on the court were a hit with fans. Two of his three seasons at Caruthersville produced 20 wins apiece; he left there for a job at Bell City, where two of his three teams lost in the state championship and each won at least 25 games.

Brandtner's departure from Bell City was a sudden one; he was suspended in December 2008 amid an investigation into conduct off the court. He was never reinstated.

Cooter's hiring is the 10th boys basketball coaching job filled since the end of the season in March. Several area schools remain in the hunt for coaches, including Doniphan, Festus, Hillsboro, Kelly and Woodland.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Coaching job still open at Kelly, other schools

Official word from Kelly High School officials is that the boys basketball coaching job is still open, despite reports on and at least one other message board that it was filled.

One job that has been taken: Jeff Null is the new boys basketball coach at Naylor, replacing Glen Eubanks. Null will also coach the baseball team.

Boys basketball coaching jobs remain open at Doniphan, Ellington, Festus, Grandview, Hillsboro and Woodland (where both the boys and girls jobs are still vacant), among others.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Updates on coaches and rankings

Dustin Benson is the new boys basketball coach at Twin Rivers. The board approved the hiring over three other final candidates Tuesday night.

Benson has lifelong ties to Twin Rivers and was long considered the frontrunner for the spot left open by Rob Brown, who left last month for the head coaching job at Liberty High in Mountain View.

Benson played baseball and basketball at Twin Rivers before he graduated in 2000; he went on to play baseball at Crowley's Ridge College and graduated from Arkansas State. He was the head softball coach and assistant basketball coach at Poplar Bluff.

Plenty of other high school coaching jobs are open or have been filled in the past month alone. See the full list here.

• Several visitors to the site have asked about our SEMO Top 10 baseball poll, the exclusive rankings we developed last season with help from local baseball coaches, athletes and fans. The weekly poll won't appear this year, but we're already planning to bring it back in time for next season. For the 2010-'11 seasons, we'll continue our rankings for SEMO football, boys basketball and girls basketball as well, along with baseball and (hopefully) volleyball, too.

Just in case you're feeling nostalgic, check out the final 2009 baseball rankings here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New coaches are in at Advance and Portageville

Both Advance and Portageville have chosen new coaches to head up their boys basketball programs.

At Advance, Risco grad and former all-state basketball player Andrew Halford was approved this week as the new varsity basketball coach. Halford will graduate in May with a physical education degree from Hannibal-LaGrange. He replaces Josh Dowdy, who left the position in March.

At Portageville, coach Jim Bidewell announced his resignation at a school board meeting this week and will leave the position he's held for 28 seasons. Assistant coach Jason Irby will take over the program as its head coach.

Bidewell, who will remain as assistant principal at the high school, leaves his job as the dean of Southeast Missouri basketball coaches. He led the Bulldogs to five state titles, including four in a row from 1991 to 1994 and then again in 2009. He was inducted into the state basketball coaches hall of fame in 2006.

As Portageville's coach since 1982, Bidewell had the longest continuous role as a varsity boys head coach in Southeast Missouri history, three years more than retired Scott County Central coach Ronnie Cookson.

Bidewell won more than 500 games at Portgeville and averaged more than 21 wins each year. The Bulldogs were unbeaten in 1991 and '93, and only two of his teams finished below .500.

Irby brings several years of experience into his role as Bidewell's successor, including seven seasons as head coach at East Prairie. He coached the Eagles to 18 wins in 2005, which at the time was the most for the program since 1986.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Niemczyk's signing is an energy boost for sluggish Southeast

Nick Niemczyk's verbal commitment this week to play basketball at Southeast might be the best news this program has gotten since the addition of Will Bogan (for now, we'll overlook how that marriage went sour not long after it began).

Niemczyk, who started alongside Bogan at Bell City, is a Three Rivers Community College sophomore who gives SEMO its first injection of local talent since Bogan, himself an all-stater who — for better or worse — kept fans interested and talkative. It helped that he grabbed a few rebounds along the way.

With Niemczyk, the Redhawks get a familiar name with local appeal. At 6 feet, he's a sparkplug who averaged about 13 points per game on a TRCC team that finished second in the national tournament last month. He joins two recruits for next season — a 7-foot junior college sophomore and a 6-foot-8 high school senior — who add hefty size.

If this is second-year coach Dickey Nutt's idea of recruiting, the future is looking up.

Friday, April 02, 2010

And two more coaching jobs come open

I've been told in the past two days that at least three more high school boys basketball coaching jobs have come open, bringing the count to 14 so far in the region — and that's less than a month removed from basketball season.

At Hillsboro, Chris O'Connell won't return next season after he stepped down. At Advance, Josh Dowdy was not rehired for the upcoming season. And at Doniphan, Cory Russell will remain as a teacher, but the school has begun a search to fill the basketball coaching job.

Rumors are already floating on familiar names diving into the pool of candidates for both the Advance and Twin Rivers jobs.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

With one high schools hoops job filled, more open up

Word came today that South Iron assistant coach Rob Harlow will take over as head coach at Clarkton next season, replacing Scott Blackburn. It will be his second run at the Clarkton job after posting winning seasons (16-9 and 20-5) in 2004-'05 and '03-04, his only other two seasons with the Reindeer.

Blackburn coached the team for the past three seasons, including a 20-7 finish in 2009 that ended with a loss to Eminence in the state sectional round.

But with one job filled, more have opened across the region. Bell City, Ellington, Grandview, Kelly, Naylor, Scott City, Twin Rivers and Woodland all have started searches for new boys basketball coaches. It's a long list, but one that's still shorter than last season when at least 15 jobs came open.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Good news about an old friend and a new race track

A couple of items heading into the weekend:

• Former Cape Girardeau Central quarterback Mitch Craft is optimistic that he will land in the Canadian Football League soon. Craft, playing linebacker and defensive end with the Lafayette (La.) Wildcatters indoor team, has been contacted by scouts with the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL about playing linebacker in the league. Craft just began the new indoor season with three tackles, three hurries and two knockdowns in a 44-28 loss to the Greenville, S.C., team.

• Owners of Thunder City Speedway near Doniphan will unveil the track's new configuration with a practice day in late April, followed by weekly stock car racing each Saturday. Both are changes from last season, when the track was a one-eighth mile D-shaped oval (it's been expanded to a one-quarter mile oval) and held events on Fridays after it opened in August. Pictures of the dirt track's new look are on the track's site at

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What's your baseball score?

The high school baseball season started Saturday for several SEMO area teams and, after a wet day Monday, goes full speed today. And just as we did last year, will post a full list of daily high school baseball varsity scores from across the region.

We gather results from a variety of sources to create a pretty big list, but to be absolutely sure your team is listed, e-mail yours to, or send a text message from any cell phone to (573) 979-5929. Then look for scores to pop up throughout the night and into the next day as they trickle in.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Arcadia Valley's lone loss heightens the "overrated" talk

Basketball fans in this part of the state are a tough bunch.

Arcadia Valley was 28-0, defeated schools twice its size and took four tournament championships back to its Ironton campus since late November. The Tigers were ranked No. 1 in the Class 3 state media poll since early in the season and had the second-longest win streak in the state.

And the talk going into Wednesday's Class 3 sectional game? The Tigers were overrated, and critics were lined up from Kennett to the Dexter gymnasium last night to see it for themselves.

Tough crowd.

For a team that skeptics called "overrated" since midseason, Arcadia Valley didn't look that way in its season-ending loss to unranked Kennett. AV cut a 17-point lead down to 4 points in the second half before a few quick defensive highlights sent Kennett (22-7) streaking toward the finish of a 77-57 win.

Overrated? Overmatched, no doubt. Kennett's bench was a factor. Overwhelmed, maybe. That could account for AV's mediocre 14-of-25 free-throw shooting.

But overrated? We won't know that until at least Saturday — against Cardinal Ritter, Kennett can prove that it was the team actually underrated all along.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Charleston hires a new football coach

Brett Blackman will coach Charleston's football team next season, his second run as a football head coach in Mississippi County.
Blackman was hired to replace Jeremy Helton, who left the program after one season. The Bluejays were 1-9 last year under Helton, the program's fourth new coach in six years.
Blackman most recently was an assistant coach and eighth-grade coach at Sikeston. As a head coach, he spent the 2003 season at East Prairie, where the Eagles were 4-5.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Basketball coaching shuffle gets an early start

Two small schools in the region already are looking for new boys basketball coaches for next season.

At Grandview, Jim Keeling will leave his position as head coach after the end of his second season. The Eagles are 6-14.

At Bell City, Chris Miller resigned in late February citing personal reasons. Miller was in his first season with the Cubs, who finished out the season with assistant coach Pat Niemzcyk as interim coach.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Sikeston MMA fighter closes in on world record

A mixed martial arts competitor from the area could land himself in the Guiness Book of World Records after this weekend.
Don Davis Sr. of Sikeston will try to become the oldest MMA fighter in history Saturday when he competes against Justin Moyer at the Absolute Fighting Challenge event in Poplar Bluff.
Davis, at 63, can set the record by stepping into the ring in one of several fights on the card. The event at Scooter's II starts at 7 p.m.
Davis trains at The Academy, a gym owned by his son, Don Davis Jr., in Morehouse.
General admission is $20, with upper level seating $25. Platinum VIP tables that seat six also are available.
More information on upcoming events and the organization is at

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Scott Central vs. Sikeston -- is it still worth the wait?

A post this week on a statewide message board is building interest — again — in a boys basketball matchup between Scott County Central and Sikeston that might or might not happen.

As I first mentioned here back on Dec. 28, administrators and coaches at both schools have been working on scheduling a game between the Scott County schools for several weeks. If it happens, it would be the rematch of last year's game that packed the Show Me Center and saw Sikeston win 86-85. It was the first meeting between the schools in decades.

Right now, insiders at both schools say the chances are about 50-50 that logistics can be worked out so that a game will be played in February.

While both programs still head up the SEMO Top 25 (with Scott County Central No. 1 and Sikeston No. 2), it'll be a tall order to match the energy last year's game generated, but from a spectator's view, it could be a fun one to watch.

Let's hope it happens. Again.

Friday, January 08, 2010

A recession-proof plan: Free admission to seven sporting events

DeSoto High School has come up with a great way to show is appreciation to fans: Free admission to a week's worth of high school events.

The school has designated January 18-22 as Community Appreciation Week and will charge no addmission to fans attending several home events:

Jan. 18: Varsity and JV girls basketball vs. St. Vincent, 6 p.m. (at high school)
Jan. 19: Freshmen boys basketball vs. Jefferson, 5 p.m. (at high school)
Jan. 19: Varsity and JV boys basketball vs. Grandview, 6 p.m. (at high school)
Jan. 19: 8th-grade boys and girls basketball vs. Farmington, 5 p.m. (at junior high)
Jan. 20: Varsity and JV wrestling vs. North County, 6 p.m. (at high school)
Jan. 21: Varsity and JV girls basketball vs. Crystal City, 6 p.m. (at high school)
Jan. 21: 7th- and 8th-grade girls basketball vs. Grandview, 5 p.m. (at junior high)