Jordan Burton will chime in weekly with thoughts from high school and college sports. He has a mowhawk...for now.
Big Man on Campus
Jaelon Acklin, Quarterback – MV/BT-Liberty: Big players step up in big games and Acklin did just that. He brought new meaning to the term dual-threat on Friday night against No. 3 Caruthersville. Acklin went 14-for-19 passing for 290 yards and five scores. He also had seven carries for 108 yards and two more scores, and just, and for a cherry on top he took a punt 95 yards to the house. Jaelon Football?
Kullen Carlock, Athlete – Camdenton: The senior made his presence felt on both sides of the ball in what very well may have been part 1 of the OC championship game against Hillcrest. Carlock, who typically lines up at receiver, took a handoff 54 yards for a touchdown. Defensively, he added a pair of interceptions, one of which came late in the fourth quarter, to help cap off the Lakers 17-14 win.
Brady Collier, Athlete – Strafford: Brady Collier touched the ball six times offensively on Friday night. He scored on five of those touches. There was no question of how explosive the Indians offense would be coming into the season and Collier’s 105-yard, five-touchdown game is further validation. It helps when Jacob Wade is out there chucking the football around.
James Denton, Athlete – MV/BT-Liberty: Nobody knows which came first, the chicken or the egg. We also don’t know if the quarterback makes the receiver look good, or if the receiver makes the quarterback look good. What we do know is that Denton racked up 239 yards receiving and five touchdowns. For good measure, he decided he would throw a TD pass himself when he found the younger Acklin, Jansen, on a 32-yard halfback pass.
Jacob Karlson, Quarterback – Nixa: In his first varsity start under center Karlson didn’t disappoint. The senior went 5-for-6 through the air for 130 yards and three touchdowns. He also racked up 129 yards rushing for two more scores. The Eagles offense seems to have a little more fire power in 2013.
Gabe Kirk, Quarterback – Cassville: Last year as a sophomore Kirk led the highest scoring offense in school history. In week 1, Kirk gave Cassville fans something positive to take from a 35-28 loss to Class 5 Branson. Kirk went 10-for-16 through the air with 155 yards to go along with a pair of touchdowns and no picks. He also tallied 131 rushing yards and another touchdown.
Zayne Kyser, Fullback – Salem: Much has been made about the Tigers installing a more spread attack in their first year under Brian McNamee. On Friday, that decision was validated with a 48-point effort, led by Kyser. The 240lb fullback totaled just 11 carries, but gained 100 yards and five touchdowns in Salem’s 48-16 win.
Johnny Malone, Defensive End – Lebanon: Malone was another guy that lived up to the preseason hype in week 1. He came into the season with a reputation of getting to the quarterback (9 sacks in 2012), and against Rolla he showed why. Malone racked up a pair of sacks to go along with nine tackles, helping to lead a stingy Yellow Jacket defense to a 27-7 win over the Bulldogs.
Sean Mulkey, Quarterback – Ash Grove: The Pirates running back Logan Allred has gotten many headlines all summer, but his quarterback is pretty good too. Mulkey tossed four TDs and 219 yards while going 11-for-20. As teams continue to load up the box to stop Allred, Mulkey will get the chance to test defenses deep. Friday he proved he can do it.
Payton Rawlins, Quarterback – Seneca: Rawlins may be the best quarterback that you haven’t heard of. How good? Well, he is the last quarterback to beat Lamar if that is any indication. Last year he launched an aerial assault, racking up 1,900 yards and 28 touchdowns. On Friday night he reminded the entire Big 8 that he is back. The senior went 18-for-32 for a ridiculous 356 yards and five touchdowns. Although the Indians lost to a bigger Carthage team 40-33, they will be a lot of fun to watch this season.
Jacob Wade, Quarterback – Strafford: Wade is probably a name that you will see here each week. Strafford is loaded, Wade is talented, and Coach Hester loves replacing the lights on his scoreboard. In Friday’s 51-22 win over Hollister, Wade had a workman like 287 yards passing and 83 more rushing to go with his four touchdowns. I’ve said it before; the Indians could average 60 points a game by the end of the regular season.
Matt Magee, Wide Receiver - Carl Junction: Magee did something that even Dorial couldn't do; consistently beat Webb City defenders. He racked up 172 yards on 12 catches and a touchdown Friday night in the 52-29 loss to the three-time defending state champion Cardinals. He also ran back a kickoff 98 yards for another score.
Logan Carney, Linebacker - Osceola: Last year Carney was amongst the area leaders in tackles, and 2013 is no different. Friday against Midway Carney registered 18 stops, two of which came for a loss. He also forced and recovered a fumble for the Indians in the 18-3 loss to Midway.
The Mid-Lakes was a perfect 7-0 in week 1. Everyone knew Strafford and the Groves would be tough, but Skyline and Marionville also appear ready to challenge them for conference supremacy. Throw in improvement by both Stockton and Trey Rayburn’s Pirates and the conference will be fun to watch again in 2013.
Top of the totem
The Kickapoo Chiefs came in with high expectations, and despite a slow start Friday, they validated that with a 39-25 win over Parkview. Joel Wells' squad is probably the most complete on the offensive side on the ball in the conference. Jamariqune Green, brings big-play ability (73-yard TD catch Friday), while a trio of backs in Fuchs, Grant, and Reeves bring a ton of versatility. Cooper wasn’t always spectacular on Friday, but he settled in late and showed flashes of what can be a big season for him. Although they need to continue to improve defensively, keep an eye on sophomore Malachi Stout. He has big-time athleticism and is coming into his own in the defensive backfield, and if he gets his hands on the ball he’s a threat to house it. Kickapoo should pick up wins at Rolla and at home against Waynesville, before the Chiefs visit Camdenton for what will be a war.
As journalist, I am supposed to be unbiased. I’m not. I root for all of you, and Class 2 is going to break my heart this year. Lamar, Liberty, Mountain Grove, Strafford and Ash Grove will end the season ranked in the top 10 of the class. Three weeks later, only two of them will still be able to compete for a state title. To put it in perspective, Liberty is currently ranked No. 2, trailing only Lamar. On Friday night the Eagles visited No. 3 Caruthersville and handed them a 60-28 beatdown. Mountain Grove topped a Class 3 Rogersville team that is 2 years removed from a state title. Strafford and Ash Grove seemed poised for a week 9 matchup that will see them both unbeaten entering the game. And of course the two-time defending state champs Lamar seem set on a third title and finally adding a Big 8 crown too. On Friday they beat McDonald County 75-0. No, that isn’t a typo. Yes, Mac is Class 4. And no, they didn’t run the score up. In fact, it was 55-0 nothing at the half and they even kneeled on it in the red zone on a few occasions. Whoever represents Southwest Missouri in The Dome will have earned it.
Where are the running backs?
The emergence of the spread offense has been great. More points, more guys getting involved offensively, and more exotic defenses to combat the different formations. However, the role of the running back has been diminished. Blame Tim Tebow. Kidding, but only a bit. At Florida he proved that you can use a quarterback as feature running back out of the shotgun and since then life hasn’t been the same. In fact, his career rushing numbers as a Gator (2,947 yards and 57 TDs) are comparable to Jamaal Charles, Doug Martin, and Arian Foster during their college careers. When I was a kid I remember watching guys like Ron Dayne, Ricky Williams, and LT shred defenses in college. Now, most teams use a running back by committee approach. It protects the players, however, not their value. Cam Newton and Johnny Football have only furthered the trend and it is also catching on in the high school ranks. For as much as we talk about quarterbacks such as Acklin, Wade, Peavey, Cooper, Otwell, etc., they will all get close or exceed 1,000 yards both rushing and passing. Times they are a changin’.
I’m not sure if I am more annoyed with the NCAA or the reigning Heisman winner. Let’s be honest, I’m sure he got a cut of the profits from those autographs at some point, but the NCAA couldn’t prove it. So, they suspend him for a half because of “the spirit of the law”. What does that even mean? I’m currently scratching my head. He’s either guilty or he’s not, there’s no middle ground. He didn’t kind of take money or kind of sign autographs, so how is he kind of suspended. Along with that, he has made the NCAA and Texas A&M a ton of money in the last 12 months, doesn’t he deserve a little bit of that profit? With that being said, Manziel is an idiot for even putting himself in that position. He has affluent parents and is roughly seven months away from next April’s NFL Draft where some team is likely to make him a 21 year old millionaire. He can ball; there is no question about that. But he is clearly a kid that doesn’t quite get it yet.
It’s a new day
For the past few years, Pleasant Hope and West Plains have been in the cellar of the Mid-Lakes and Ozark Conference respectively. Both teams opened the 2013 season with wins. Troy Rayburn has put his imprint on the team and they are responding. Same is the situation with Steve Ary at West Plains. This summer at the OC 7-on-7 tournament you could that it wasn’t your older brother’s Zizzers. West Plains 14-13 win over Waynesville snapped a 31-game Ozark Conference losing streak. One game doesn’t make or break a season, but it is certainly a good start, especially for these two programs. Congrats to those coaches and kids for continuing to grind each day and seeing that hard work pay off.
Agree? Disagree? Have something you want me to talk about or a player who had a big week? Tweet me @thejordanburton or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.