The SoBoCo Eagles complete their regular season schedule when they travel to Versailles this Friday in a Tri-County Conference game.
It is a game which should be labeled “Trap Game” for the Eagles and “Opportunity Knocking” for the Tigers.
SoBoCo, at 6-2, could be caught looking ahead to the playoffs while Versailles, 3-5, is looking to notch their biggest win of the season.
And if the Tigers catch SoBoCo not focused on playing the game in front of them, they have the ability to make the upset happen.
Versailles has a scrappy group of players – with only 10 seniors – who have continued to improve throughout the season. The defeated the California Pintos and beat Warsaw 35-14. On the other hand, they lost to Hallsville 6-0 in a game they probably think they should have won.
But while the Tigers may not match up physically well with the Eagles, they do some things on offense that has been a challenge for the SoBoCo defense all season.
“They are aa team that will run in 13 different formations,” said Eagles coach Trent Tracy.
“When they run between the tackles, they are tough to stop.”
The Eagles defense will need to keep track of running back Shane Randall – especially when he’s running behind tight end Devin Radcliffe.
“They run out of different formations, but they are effective when Randall runs behind No. 45,” Tracy said of Radcliffe. “He’s a big, rangy tight end and blocks well.
On offense, the Eagles will need to continue to build on what they have done the past two weeks against California and Warsaw. In those games, the Eagles pounded the ball inside with junior Cooper Mange beginning to assert himself as a strong running back with big time speed.
Jackson Sartain ran for 100 yards last week against the Wildcats and you can bet Versailles will be committed to stopping him.
But if the Eagles offense is running right, they will quickly move to the short pass and then quarterback Spencer Taggart will look to find Sam Stichnote with the long ball — or maybe Clay Jeffrey across the middle.
Either way, Taggart should be able to shred the Tigers 4-4 defense when they are in a “cover 3” pass defense – the Eagles just have too many weapons. However, that is assuming the Eagles are dialed in and ready to play.
“We need to build on what we have done the past few weeks,” Tracy said, “we need to continue to improve.”
If the Eagles take the field at Versailles ready to do just that, mark it up as the team’s 7th win of the season.
If the Eagles take the Tigers too lightly or are looking just two plays past this Friday to next week’s opening playoff game – it might make that bus ride home from Warsaw seem like a quick trip to Columbia.
• The Eagles will be missing a few players this week: Receiver Zane Safely will be held out of the game due to a concussion he received last week; Colton Lowrey was ejected from last week’s Warsaw game and will miss this week’s contest; lineman Charlie Smith has been ill this week and his participation will be a game-time decision.
• Playoff implications – With a win, the Eagles not likely out-point Mexico in the playoff standings, but if the Eagles don’t win, Fulton could grab the No. 3 spot. The differences fall in who you play in the district playoffs and where those games are played.
As the No. 3 seed, the Eagles would likely play Christian., 1-7, at home on Oct. 21. If they are are the No. 4 seed, they would host Wright City, a team they demolished in the rain in Week 2.
In the event they win their first playoff game and there are no other upsets, the Eagles would face Mexico at Mexico. If they are the No. 4 seed, they would have a re-match with Blair Oaks in Wardsville. Either way, the district title goes through the Falcons home turf.
Southern Boone @ Versailles
7pm Friday, October 15, 2016