Archive for November 2nd, 2011

BLUE JAYS travel to Crystal City for playoff game

Who would have thought those words would be printed in reference to the 2011 Charleston football season. Coming off 1-9, 0-10 years, the program’s rebuilding process is only in the second year under coach Brett Blackman.

With a 5-5 finish to the regular season, including a 2-2 mark in the rugged SEMO Central Conference won by 3A District 1 champion Dexter, the Blue Jays may be a bit ahead of a schedule…

Whatever the case, Wednesday Night at Crystal City the Blue Jays get their first taste of the playofs since 2007. The only thing standing between them and a rematch with 6th ranked Caruthersville and a chance  to redeem the regular season ending clunker, is the 7-3 Hornets.

CRYSTAL CITY:  Charleston has two common opponents with Crystal City. District champion Caruthersville and District 2 runner-up Herculaneum. The Blue Jays defeated Herky 38-12 in Weeek 7 and it was one of the best four-quarters the Jays played all season. *(insert post_of that game)

In the Hornets three losses – Caruthersville 34-12; Class 1A state favorite Valle 54-7 and 7-2 Christian. So, the Jays have their work cut out for them but it’s not an insurmountable obstacle as the Tigers of Hopke Field seem to be for SEMO opponents.

Caruthersville is on quite a run and with sophomore Darrell Monroe averaging 2-first-downs every time he touches the ball, the future looks bright and he’s the #2 back on the team. Carr Trophy candidate Elbie Fonda is the region’s leading rusher and top scorer and this really is just an extension of his junior season.

I don’t have many C’ville sources; but the only drawback on the field for Fonda could be lack of size; but for break out speed and underated toughness, he could easily man a spot on some collegiate campus next fall…

Back to the Bue Jays; Charleston will bring three backs to the game fully as capable of Fonda as breaking the long runs and run just as tough; Senior Maurice Moore – to me – the overriding memory of the past 3 seasons; I saw Mo at his lowest on an Ep Field in 2009 and saw him this year in 2011 completing the ‘360…Moore is a stand up young man – and his been to this reporter – for the last 3 seasons.

Senior Jamaul Gray has been through the wars…and deserves high marks for his – along with all his senior teammates – for seeing this beginning rebuilding process thru the rigors of painful – literally – defeats and the rewards and confirming wins of this season.

Gray, being recruited heavily by Southern Illinois University, also is a contributing player on the Blue Jays basketball team – that finished third in State last year – and are loaded for bear this season – is by all accounts, a model student- athelete.

HAT’S OFF…Jamaul – who has literally played half this season with a cast on his left- throwing hand….

Add to the mix, a freshman Rontavious Clark who has years ahead to add yardage totals but has been a constant for the team this season.

Throw in the mix of upper-class leadership and the Jays may build off this momentum and put together a solid run the next few seasons with the new complicated MSHSAA playoff system goes into effect for the 2012-13 season.

It better not affect the East Prairie game – from my end – and I understand that Ep is smartly dropping this year’s state title contender Mountain View Liberty from the schedule as well as Caruthersville and it’s reported the Eagles will play Perryville in the season opener.

Schedule ramifications with the new alignments may get complicated – AND Kelly will also have to be considered in the near term for future opponents.

I wont pretend to know a lot more than that about Crystal City. I know this, Charleston is capable of winning that game. What I don’t know, but would sure like to find out, if Charleston could beat the Tigers in a rematch. Most observers scoff at that suggestion. Many thought the first outcome was no surprise.

Tell that to David Freese and StL Cardinals fans…

But, first the Hornets. A two-hour drive up I-55. Look for the lights. When Ep played Crystal City *(ina 2009 playoff defeat), the game was moved because – ironically – flood waters of the Merrimac River at the time to a neutral site at St. Genevieve High School….

GAME PICK: Charleston 34  Crystal City  28….

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TUESDAY – feels like a MONDAY, NOV. 1

Has the kinda fall-out feel for a Tuesday. Monday would be more appropriate I feel with the after glow of Halloween  – great nite for school age children to catch the ‘croupe’ – and combine this with the witching tale of Tony LaRussa’s resignation before the dust of the celebration of the greatest World Series in history was complete…

Hence my reasoning for this to have a Monday feel…FOR THE RECORD…

Saw numerous absolutely -apparently time-consuming – and ultra creative costumes while out and about in Charleston and the Ep Trunk or Treat plus the online sharing from various overgrown ‘kids’ enjoying the festive holiday…Great Times had by all….!

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