Game Preview, Rosters, Keys to Winning
First you need to realize that Blair Oaks in ranked No. 2 in Class 3 for a reason: Plenty of speed, terrific skill position players, a well-coached disciplined football team.
Then you need to remind yourself they are beatable: Hallsville took them down a couple of years ago at their place, Eldon has beaten them in recent years. So, from time-to-time, the Falcons go out and lay an egg – just like any high school football team.
But you cannot count on the Blair Oaks Falcons coming to Ashland and playing their worst game of the year and Eagles coach Trent Tracy knows that.
“We have to go out and challenge them on every play,” Tracy said. “We have to have some confidence and realize we are a good football team, too.
The Falcons make things happen on both sides of the ball and much of it centers around skill players such as No. 3 Cody Alexander at running back on offense and safety on defense and Nolan Hair, the Falcons’ quarterback.
Alexander will line up in different positions against the Eagles and Blair Oaks will try to get him the ball on a short pass, a running play or….well, anything. SoBoCo will need to know where Alexander is on every play.
But that’s not all. The Falcons have plenty of weapons.
No. 7 Jake Van Ronzelen and No. 34 Brenden Brown run the ball hard, are quick and physical. Both backs are tough to bring down.
“The Falcons offensive line is not really big, but they fire off the ball hard and fast,” said Tracy.
Defensively, Tracy said the Falcons are a lot like Osage. “They are good athletes, they fly around and they are very disciplined,” Tracy said.
In the defensive backfield, Van Ronzelen had three interceptions last week against Hallsville and Alexander, the safety comes quickly to help stop opposing ball carriers.
Keys to Beating Blair Oaks
• Eliminate turnovers – the Eagles had six miscues last week, which would make beating winless Warsaw difficult, much less beating the No. 2 ranked team in the state.
• Field Position – If you see the Eagles starting inside their own 35-yard line more than twice in the first half, it could be a long night. However, if the Eagles can move the ball some and push the Falcons to their own end of the field, the SoBoCo defense just might keep the Eagles in the game.
• Special Teams – This reporter has been saying all season that Parker Boyce is a good enough field goal kicker to win a game for the Eagles. This would be a great week to prove my point. But besides putting points on the board, the Eagles will have to be smart about returning kickoffs and maintain coverage each time they punt or kick the ball away to the Falcons. Pulling off an upset usually requires a team winning the special teams play.
• Somebody Make a Big Play – “At the end of the day, you won’t get a lot of big plays against a team as good as Blair Oaks,” Tracy said. OK, one or two might do the trick – a Cole Morris sack or a Seth Mueller interception on defense is a good possibility.
• Avoid Injuries – SoBoCo will only have one starter sidelined – Nick Graddy is likely out with illness.
Southern Boone Eagles vs Blair Oaks Falcons
7:00 p.m. – Friday, September 28, 2016