The Southern Boone Eagles football team jumped from its No. 10 ranking to No. 7 in the state’s media polls.

What does that mean?

Not much, according to Eagles head coach Trent Tracy.

Tracy, who notes that his team is paying more attention to this week’s opponent Wright City than polls, realizes that when teams get to the line of scrimmage, polls mean nothing.

How did SoBoCo reach its Class 3 No. 7 ranking?

They returned eight starters on defense from a team that went 9-3 last year, so they entered the season tied for a No. 10 ranking. That’s legit.

The Eagles then defeated Class 2 unranked North Callaway – in a game they should have won – and jumped to No. 7 after other teams lost in the first week.

As high school coaches know, high school polls are even more flawed that college football polls. At least with college teams, sports writers and poll voters can watch the teams play via dozens of cable TV packages.
In Missouri high school football, a poll voter from the Jefferson City or Columbia newspapers might see the big schools play, but will only see teams from the Tri-County Conference play maybe once each year.

The other problem with the Eagles being ranked No. 7 is that in last week’s win they didn’t play like a top 10 team. Many of those miscues – costly penalties, missed tackles, blown blocking assignments, etc. – were due to it being the first game of the season. No doubt, the Eagles have the talent and they will need to get better each week.

But if SoBoCo is going to be worthy of a ranking – and win eight, nine or 10 games this season, they need to complete passes, make field goals and not make mental errors.

I have no doubt they will do that, mostly because the team’s attitude is right where it needs to be.

Senior Seth Mueller said Monday that he was confident that the Eagles would play a better game this week, based on what they learned last week.

“We had a hard time playing with consistency in the first half and stopped ourselves,” Mueller said, “but we figured some things out and got the offense moving,” Mueller said.

Mostly, the Eagles figured out how to win – which is a lot more important than looking at where you stand in the polls.

By Bruce Wallace