Archive for September 4th, 2011
You learn a lot about your team on the road. And, East Prairie coach Jason Aycock liked the knowledge gained from his Eagles during a 29-14 win at Grandview Friday.
With a stifling heat and a quick 14-7 defecit, Ep was on the ropes. Insert freshman linebackers on defense, that’s the ticket. It worked, as the Eagles scored the last 22 points of the contest and kept the host Eagles off the board for the final three-quarters to improve to 1-1 on the season with a stiff test ahead at SEMO South foe Scott City in week 3
“I can’t say enough about how well our team responded,” said Aycock. “It’s hard to play on the road and especially in the heat (Friday – 95 at game time)…; any win on the road is a good win. Now, we got to get ready for (Scott City).”
Senior quarterback Dalton Golightly was as cognizant of the help from the underclassmen as was his coach.
“It feels good to get that first win under your belt,” said Golightly. “And to have the younger guys step in and contribute was a big help.”
Golightly added he felt the team took strides offensively and the defensive performance – after the first two quick scores by Grandview – keyed the victory.
“Mason Douglas, TJ Shands, really came in did a great job. Our offense started clicking a bit in the second half. Can’t give enough credit to our line and their blocking, especially downfield. It’s tough to win on the road. But, we got to put this one behind us and get ready for Scott City.”
Golightly wanted to give props to the line; Blake Story, Jesse Soto, Billy Aycock, Colton Triplett and Nick Hodges.
Hodges – for one example – noted Golightly, is contributing more as a sophomore than last year as a freshman because of his off-season work. He’s a perfect example of how improvement can be made in the weight room.
Ep will have to improve this week to face healthy rival Scott City. Two years ago, the Eagles piled on the Rams bruising some feelings. Oh, well. It’s football and the two long-time SEMO South foes will strap it up again this week.
Coach Aycock, noted the Rams are much improved this season and have a passing attack to go with their vaunted (student body left/right) ground game.
“We’ll need to play better, especially to start the game. That (2 and a 1/2 hour) trip to Grandview, with the heat…we came out a little flat to start the game. We can’t afford to do that this week because we’re facing a better team.”
Grandview opened the scoring with a march straight down the field to grab a 7-0 lead on a nine-play drive capped by a one-yard run; Ep answered back quickly as sophomore Brad Beck got off a 23-yard romp to the end zone; sophomore Frankie Nave’s PAT tied the score.
Grandview would put their final points on the board – that counted (they had 3 TDs called back with penalties and they were the HOME team) on the very next drive with a quick 3-play drive and a 14-7 score. That would be the last time those Eagles would actually put points on the scoreboard.
The next 22 would be put on by the visiting team starting with a defensive score courtesy of a Beck INT Td return that cut the lead to one, 14-13 early in the second quarter following a rave Nave missed PAT.
Ep would take the lead for good with 8:04 left in the first half set up by a Cody Smith interception; Beck scored his third TD of the game for a 19-14 margin at halftime.
Nave would account for the next seven with a 27-yard bolt up the gut and the PAT as Ep increased the lead to 26-14 on the first drive of the second half.
Facing constant fire from a Grandview team that will eventually put up a W, the Eagles weathered the storm buoyed by defensive play from underclassmen. Coach Aycock noted those freshman likely will get the starting assignment in the upcoming Scott City tilt.
“We got four senior leaders there on defense,” added Aycock, “and we got four sophomores and three freshman; that’s a lot of credit there to James (Hodges, Ep Jr. High coach who preps Eagles for the next level) and the job he does. The kids come here knowing what we do and how to do it….that’s a great help.”
Nave’s field goal with just over five minutes to play finished the scoring with the Eagles claiming the 29-14 victory.
Hayti 2 0 2 0
EP 1 1 0 1
Chaffee 1 1 1 0
Malden 1 1 1 1
S. City 1 1 0 1
P’ville 0 2 0 2
Dexter 2 0 1 0
C’ville 2 0 2 0
C’town 1 1 1 0
NMCC 0 2 0 0
Kennett 0 2 0 2
*South; ^ Central
EP at Scott City*
Charleston at Portageville
Chaffee at Hayti*
Sikeston at Dexter
Kennett at Gosnell, Ar.
Malden at Piggott, Ar.
C’ville at Crystal City
Farmington at NMCC
Kennett at EP
Charleston at NMCC^
Hayti at Caruthersville
Portageville at Malden*
Chaffee at St. Pius
Dexter at Scott City
Final score read Sikeston 43 Charleston 14….; that’s not the whole story. After two years of struggling to be competitive, the Blue Jays went toe-to-toe with the Bulldogs in the first half and if it wasn’t for two plays in the final moments of the second quarter that sapped the energy from the Jays….; all I can say is beware Portageville.
With a capacity crowd at John Harris Marshall Athletic Complex suffering through the suffocating heat, Charleston showed why SEMO observers know this is a different team the Jays are putting on the field. In the 126th meeting in the storied rivalry, a scoreless first quarter revealed the progress second year coach Brett Blackman is making. And, for the record, Blue Jay players were taking this loss personally, but were already looking ahead to next week’s contest.
“I feel like we lost a lot of momentum when Sikeston put those points on the board there at the end of the first half,” said senior running back Maurice Moore, who ground out 76 yards on 17 carries and responded to a reporter’s question immediately after the tough defeat with ‘yes sir’; “but we just got to bounce back and get ready for next week. ”
“We got a much improved team from last year, we just got to keep working hard to reach our goals. We believe in each other, we just got to work harder each day in practice.”
Charleston junior Cole Byford stepped up with his explanation for the ultimate outcome.
“We just made too many mistakes. Every time we made one (Sikeston) would capitalize,” said Byford. “We just got to bounce back and get ready for Portageville next week.”
“I’m proud of my teammates; We were on the field the whole game, not rotating in and out and everybody kept playing the whole time, it’s hard. “We all fought to the end …we stayed together as a team and family and fought it out to the end.”
Blackman took over the once-proud – and not so distant so – Blue Jay football program two years ago coming off a 1-9 season plagued by injuries and roster depth. Looking at the program courtesy of the Charleston Lion’s Club Friday night at a steamy JHMAC, the Blue Jays listed 32 players on a roster which finished the 2009 season with 14. For the record, Sikeston brought 72 to the fight Friday night. For CHS, there are currently 7 seniors; 6 juniors; 11 sophomore and 7 freshman. That group of seniors vividly recall the struggle and will be rewarded for the worthy endeavors this year.
And, the intense Blue Jay head coach deserves due credit for where this team/program is – now; With arguably the most dominant basketball program in SEMO, the football program has high goals to aspire. Just witness the baseball team under region baseball guru Michael Minner and the support/excitement and Blue Jay pride during their first Final Four appearance.
While walking a pair of reporters to fulfill his obligations in supporting the program with radio interviews; Charleston Blue Jay football is well chronicled on the radio by Mr. Dave Manker and Spencer Whitehead and crew(s). Blackman responded with class in his initial assessment of the games moments after its conclusion.
“Here’s the thing about this ballgame,” said Blackman. “We had about three plays that got us of the ballgame. We’re three plays away from making this a totally different ballgame. If that would have been different (the outcome) may have turned out different.”
“We consistently drove the ball all night long. The one thing we did was stop ourselves with mistakes and stupid penalties. That’s the thing we have to get worked out in practice.”
“Give our kids credit. They battled. You’re seeing a totally different ball team than we had last year. They never give up (and) they fight…again, things out there in the second half, we can’t do that guys, we can’t do that.”
As for the game itself, it was scoreless at the end of the first quarter. Charleston opened the game on offense and punted on fourth down. Sikeston took the ball at their own 40-yard line and converted third-and-one into a first-and-goal on a 28-yard burst. The Blue Jays defense bucked up keeping the Dawgs out of the end zone in the four-play sequence highlighted by a Byford smack down on a Sikeston runner.
Taking over at their 1-yard line, sophomore Jay running Robert Bogan slipped a tackle in the end-zone and scampered for a 15-yard first down run. On the ensuing fourth-and one, Jays quarterback Jamaul Gray – who took over the helm of this offense two-years ago to the game following a vicious hit on then QB Deonte Jones – calmly drew the Sikeston defense offsides. Charleston finally was forced to punt with 1:40 left in the first quarter.
At the end of the period. It was scoreless. Charleston held the ball for 13 plays and two first downs; Sikeston 12 plays and two first downs. It was the second quarter where things turned as the Bulldogs scored on a perfectly timed pump fake for a 19-6 lead which hit 21-6 after the conversion. If the TD reception was the game changer, then the back breaker ensued with a killer INT return for a TD as the halftime horn sounded to the dismay of a dazed Jays fan club in stark contract to the delirious Dawg Pound. Sikeston led 29-6 at halftime.
Charleston had answered Sikeston’s Kyland Gross’ 16-yard score – which came off a reverse at the 11:47 mark of the second quarter for a 7-0 lead – with one of their own. Gray, a left-hander, broke to the corner and romped untouched on a dazzling 25-yard sprint to the end zone. The 6-foot senior has reportedly run the 40-yard dash in 4.42; Published reports also have SIU interested in his collegiate services.
Sikeston struck quickly three-plays later on a Watson 34-yard run leading only 13-6 at the 4:05 mark of the second quarter. Charleston managed to move the ball with Moore bulking for a first down at the Jays 45-yard line at 3:18; but the Jays had to punt and got off a good one pinning Sikeston at the 10 with 1:49 left in the half. Five plays later Keldon Warfield broke free down the Sikeston side line for a wide open running catch to the end zone for a 21-9 lead following the conversion.
An ill-timed decision on the Jays first play from scrimmage following resulted in the back-breaking 66-yard INT return. The curious two-point conversion gave Sikeston the deceiving 29-6 halftime bulge.
Game over moments into the second half as Charleston executed the onside kickoff to take possession, but lost a fumble on their third play and Sikeston’s Nich Nichols ran 55-yards to the end zone and the final dooming TD and 36-6 Sikeston lead. Gross would add the final Dawg score with 4:44 to play.
Charleston – as noted prior – did not halt competing. Gray’s second score from 35-yard s out with just over a minute to play and the subsequent conversion made the final 43-14. Not indicative of what happened in that game. Said a subdued Gray moments after, “We played better against them than any other year I’ve been here.”
For the record:Gray led the Jays in rushing with 91 yards 11 carries; Moore had 76 on 17; Bogan with 61 on 10 and Clark 11 yards…; Passing; Gray 2-7 12 yards; one INT. Sumner Foster had one reception.