Archive for November 4th, 2011


*The new playoff format for football in Missouri goes into effect for the 2012 season and is on the slate for a four-year trial program from information gathered today from East Prairie athletic director Jason Aycock.

Aycock feels the new system gives everyone a fair shake and puts football into the same playoff equality as basketball and baseball in MSHSAA formats. It was difficult for me to comprehend, but in a nutshell, coach Aycock explained it to me.

There will be a nine-game regular season schedule; with each team allowed to make their own slate. SEMO Conference alignments are set to stay the same with the inclusion of Kelly into the mix for the 2014-2015 season becoming an issue at that time.

The next two years are set. I’ll give you the Eagle schedule in a moment, but first here’s how the playoff format works – as I understand.

The District playoffs will begin in week 10 with everyone qualifying for the tournament as in baseball and basketball. You win, you keep advancing.  The biggest initial difference is combined Class 2 District 1 and District 2 into one District.

Meaning, Crystal City, Herculaneum, Scott City, St. Pius, Caruthersvillle, Malden, Charleston and East Prairie comprising the new District 1. At the end of the season, the 10th game will pit the #1 seed against the #8 seed; 7 vs. 2; 6 – 3; 5-4…with the winner continuing to advance.

The 11th game would be the regional; followed by sectional, quarterfinal and the semis and finals…

Now, the key to the fairness of the new format. The seeds will be determined by a point system. Now, I don’t know the fully sabarmetric points, but it’s really simple from an  outside perspective…

It’s like this; you get points for a win; you get more points for a win against a school in a larger classification. You lose points for a loss; you lose more points for a loss against a team in a smaller division…AND, vice versa….Get it? Is it clear as mud.?

For example, Ep plays 2 larger schools on their 2012 slate and 3 smaller schools…In theory, they coud gain more points by losing to a larger school than beating a smaller school. They risk losing more points by losing to a smaller school however….

AND, the season totals are what set the seeds for the tourney; so it takes the political aspect out of seed selection….It sounds like a good system, now that it’s been further explained. I’m sure there will be kinks to be worked out and obstacles to overcome but it does create an even playoff scenario but one drawback it eliminates one District champion….by combining the two districts to make the eight-team bracket.

Sounds like a simple trade-off; feel free to add your comments on the new system.

The 2012 Ep schedule opens with 4A Perryville; 2A Grandview; 2A Scott City; 1A Hayti; 2A Malden; 1A Chaffee; 1A Portageville; 2A Charleston and 3A Kennett….

I will follow up the Charleston 2012 slate soon; but it’s good to know the Battle of Mississippi County will take place again this coming season at John Harris Marshall Athletic Complex….

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*The new playoff format for the 2012 Missouri High School football playoffs turns out to be a lot simpler than I envisioned. Ok, there are some small details I may not have ironed out, but I do understand and will fill you in on what I understand in a subsequent story following this GAME RECAP from last nite….

FIRST: Wednesday’s 16-13 defeat at Crystal City where the Blue Jays fell in a Class 2 Regional playoff can only be described as a heartbreak.  A game in which the Blue Jays had the ball with two minutes and two timeout left; sitting with a first and goal from the Crystal City nine-yard line but just couldn’t punch it in; then having their game-tying 29-yard FG attempt to tie blocked by the Hornets.

Charleston was on seventh play of the 10-play drive that ended the season a mere three-points away from a possible rematch with Caruthersville but eons away from where the Jays were as team a year ago.

HAT’S  to Coach Blackman; assistants Michael Minner; Paul Bucher, Brad Berry, Justin Hutchens and Dan DeField; faculty and administration Athletic Director and CHS principal Jim Grasdorf and Superintendent Tony Watkins.

My guess is – even with the new playoff and schedule alignments – Sikeston will remain on the Charleston schedule …

*See accompanying story on 2012-13; 13-14 (and apparently 14-15, 15-16); a 4-year trial period is planned but absorbing Kelly into the mix will force redistricting and perhaps SEMO Conference alignment. The Hawks begin a two-year JV program in 2012-13.

BACK TO THE GAME: Charleston took over 80 yards from the winning score and put together a clutch 10-play drive that gave them a shot at the victory.

TO THE final four plays of the game that had the Jays set up with a first and goal from the nine-yard line with with just under two minutes left in regulation.

On first down, the classic Charleston counter play was snuffed for no gain; setting up second and goal with Blackman calling time out to address strategy with 1:35 to play and one time-out in their pocket.

With Charleston rolling up yards offensively all nite; Maurice Moore had 122 yards and Gray had 75 yards on 20 carries;  Clark had a big play run on the night as well on the counter trap play; and Michael Hull had a career passing nite going  7-10 for 108 yards and one INT; the Blue Jays had options. And, with the Hornets moving up men in the box and field shortened due to the ball at the nine – the offensive play called – and I admit I was not there – but the call holds credibility to me.

Unfortunately, the pass fell incomplete to a receiver in the end zone. Third down was a close variation of second down. Again, I wasn’t there and haven’t talked to Coach Blackman yet, but game conditions suggest this was a good call…

On fourth-down, Charleston called their final time out and – according to what was relayed via the 107.1 broadcast, apparent discussion was had on whether to kick or go for the score.

Ultimately, the decision was a field goal attempt that was blocked by Crystal City ending a succesful season with a gut-punch defeat. Sports, are reflections of life with the peaks and valleys; the runs; the comebacks; and in the end, only one team ends its season with a victory.

Many positives out of the game and also plenty of missed opportunities for the Jays.

Charleston ground out an incredible 21-play drive  immediately following Crystal City’s score and conversion for an 8-7 lead at the 9:53 mark of the second quarter; that ensuing Jays drive consumed much of the second quarter ending on a incomplete 4th down pass attempt with 1:03 left before intermission.

Hauntingly foreshadowing the similar game ending first-and goal situation.  As noted before, after struggles of 1-9, 1-9, 0-10, it’s a safe bet to assume the Jays are rounding the corner in Blackman’s second year at the helm of the program.

Talking via Facebook with some of the Blues Jays, it’s also a safe bet the team is in good hand for leadership. This from junior Kaelin Armstrong…..

“Last night was a heartbreaker in its truest sense. It was a hard-fought game to the end, but we just couldn’t pull it out. Give credit to Crystal City , they’re a well coached and physical team. We just couldn’t capitalize on the many opportunities in the redzone. And as for the season, It was a great year & a turnaround year for the Charleston Bluejays. I am forever grateful to this years Seniors for what all they gave to the team & taught me as well.. But watch out next year! WE are coming, I think everyone know the BLUE is back!”

And the thoughtful student athlete added about his coach:

“Coach has been a great mentor to me personally and a great leader for our program. He has turned us around & gave our town & our school new hope that wasn’t there when he first got here. He is a great coach man.. and a great person .. he truly cares for the kids, and is a fighter until the end. He’s like a second father to me personally.. & we really do need some kids to come out next year .. and be ready to play because we are losing some important pieces to our team this year.. We just all have to step up next year even more and pick up their great effort … they laid the foundation .. now it’s time to build upon it.”

Junior Cole Byford, has been a wealth of great information and ‘feel’ of the team before and after games, was still reeling a bit from the defeat but offered this….

We played hard and just got beat”.

And senior Jamaul Gray, college bound somewhere (*SIU)  is looking to get healthy and contribute to Charleston Hall of Fame basketball Coach Danny Farmer’s Blue Jays (third in the state last season) with his strong left-handed move to the hoop offering depth to a basketball team that’s talented 1 thru 10

All I can say is we gave it our all.”

Gray, who is fairly quite spoken but always very polite in person – offered this via FB. I’ve covered 100’s of athletes during my time in journalism;  I’ll offer this up for you;  just FYI, Jamaul is a really nice kid…for what it’s worth…just a pretty nice young-man….If you need further confirmation, ask his coaches; teachers; administration, fans – and even a sportswriter or two…

*SEE Ep 2012 schedule….on following post….

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