Jordan Burton will chime in weekly with thoughts from high school and college sports. He has a mowhawk...for now.
Big Man on Campus
Blayne Armstrong, Quarterback – Marshfield: I’ve been calling Armstrong the area’s best pro-style prospect for some time. Apparently, he took offense to it. In Friday’s 50-23 win over Rogersville, the senior signal-caller ran for a career-high 200 yards on just 13 carries and a pair of scores. To throw a cherry on top he continued his freaky numbers through the air, going 27-of-38 for 331 yards and a pair of TDs. In 2013 Armstrong has thrown for 1,373, 13 TDs and just one pick. On the ground he has 374 more yards. He is on pace for 3,090 yards and 29 scores.
Jaelon Acklin, Quarterback – MV/BT-Liberty: He’s baaaaack. Acklin is amongst a select few group that could probably get a helmet
sticker each week, but when you do what he did Friday night it’s tough to justify not giving him one. For the second time this season, Acklin pulled a Kordell Stewart, throwing, running, and receiving a touchdown. He threw for 224 yards (15-of-19) and three TDs, rushed for 64 yards on just four carries and a score, and caught a 31-yard touchdown pass. So far this season he has accounted for 1,392 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Jordan Bailey, Running Back – Branson: Bailey is often the forgotten man in Branson’s loaded backfield with names like Ervin and Daniels, but the kid has some moves in the open field. He racked up 151 yards on just 17 carries for a pair of scores Friday night against Neosho. He also added an 89-yard kickoff return for a TD and a huge interception, leading to a score and a 44-35 Branson win.
Kullen Carlock, Wide Receiver – Camdenton: If you haven’t seen Carlock in person you are missing out. He is the culmination of soft hands, great genetics, and a progressive head coach. Jeff Shore has opened up the playbook, often coming out in a shotgun formation and spreading the defense out to make room for Carlock and quarterback Bo Dean. In Friday’s showdown with Kickapoo Carlock caught 13 balls for 118 yards a pair of scores, the second of which he ripped the ball from three Chiefs in the end zone.
Anthony Cooper, Quarterback - Kickapoo: Not enough can be said about the maturation and growth of Anthony Cooper. We’ve seen the talent and potential and in 2013 we are seeing the results. In Friday’s pseudo Ozark Conference championship game Cooper showed just how great of a grasp he has of Joel Wells’ offense. Cooper completed 19 of his 30 attempts for 227 yards and a pair of scores. He also ran for 61 yards and another score. The most impressive thing was his decision making. He took care of the football, and because of that was able to maintain drives in the fourth quarter to keep the Laker offense on the sideline in a 21-19 win over Camdenton.
Elza Evans, Running Back – Lebanon: Brock West who? Kidding, but Evans is surely helping Yellow Jacket fans get over the graduation of Lebanon’s all-time leading rusher. Evans is a bowling ball, and gets downhill in a hurry. He picked up a career-high 292 yards and four touchdowns on just 12 carries in Lebanon’s 38-0 win over Glendale. Yes, that is a ridiculous 24.3 yards per carry. He has picked up at least 100 yards in all four games this season, and with a huge battle looming with Hillcrest, you can bet the Hornets D will see a steady dose of No. 32.
Eli Floyd, Defensive Back – Salem: The Tigers suffered their first loss of the season in Friday’s 23-6 defeat to Thayer. There was a positive takeaway however; two to be exact. Floyd came up with a pair of interceptions, bringing his season total to five, which is pretty impressive considering we are just four games in and he plays in the run-heavy SCA. Oh, he’s only a freshman.
Bobby Otwell, Quarterback – Mountain Grove: Bobby the Bull continues to be the driving force behind an explosive Panthers offense. On Friday, he proved that if you load up the box he can beat you through the air. He picked up 214 yards and a TD on 8-of-10 passing to go along with his 138 yards rushing and two more scores in a 42-28 win over a tough Willow Springs group. T-minus two weeks until the Liberty-Grove showdown we’ve been waiting for.
Driston Self, Quarterback – Osceola: Self has the Indians thinking big in 2013. Friday’s 37-14 win over previously unbeaten Drexel, a district foe, is further proof that Osceola is capable of taking the Class 1 – District 3 crown. On Friday Self toted the rock 22 times for 193 yards and a hat trick of TDs. Defensively, he had a pair of interceptions, one of which he almost housed.
Dalton Taylor & Jacob Eden - Strafford: Strafford may grow skill position guys on trees. In Friday’s 63-22 win over Stockton, Eden and Taylor continued to show why the Indians’ offense may be the best gridiron show in the area. Eden proved that less is more, turning his seven carries and three receptions into 237 yards of total offense and four touchdowns. Taylor wasn’t far behind, adding 175 yards on just 12 touches and a TD. He also picked off a pair of passes, one of which he took 69 yards to the crib.
What I learned… The Ozark Conference race is going to be a wild one…
Kickapoo topped Camdenton in what was a game that lived up to all the hype, and gave the Chiefs the early season lead in the conference. Cooper was great, and a healthy John Fuchs proved his value and diversity as he continues to put up numbers in the receiving game and anchoring an underrated Poo defense. But, Kickapoo still has showdowns looming with Lebanon and Hillcrest before they can completely claim an OC title… Speaking of those two, Hillcrest will visit Lebanon is KSPR’s Game of the Week. The winner of this game will still have a shot at a conference title, while the loser will need some help. Both teams are playing great football since their respective down to the wire losses to Camdenton. It will be an intriguing battle to see how the offensive line of Hillcrest deals with Johhny “The Manimal” Malone, who will enter the game with 8.5 sacks on the season. He will face the most elusive quarterback he’ll see all season in jitterbug Matt Rush, who continues to grow at his new position… A wildcard in all of this is the Parkview Vikings and Joplin Eagles. The Vikings still have Camdenton, Hillcrest and Lebanon on the schedule; all of which are home games. Meanwhile, Joplin is quietly 3-1 in Ozark Conference play and should be 5-1 heading into the devil’s den for last three games of the season. Those opponents? At Lebanon and hosting Camdenton before visiting Kickapoo in week 9.
The COC-Large picture is about to get real clear. After Carthage’s 42-14 shellacking of Ozark on Friday and Willard getting beaten badly by Nixa, this week’s Nixa-Webb City matchup will essentially be the conference title game. Webb City seems to have bounced back from that loss to Har-Ber, meanwhile the unbeaten Eagles have given up just 28 points all season. Jacob Karlson continues to make plays on both sides of the ball and “Big Baby” Alec Murphy must be accounted for on every play. It will be interesting to see how the Cardinals defense will handle him. They are no stranger to stopping elite players. Remember, just two years ago they held DGB to three catches and less than 50 yards.
Still not sure what to make of the Big 8? Me neither. Monett lost a ton from last year’s Class 3 semifinal team, and yet here the Cubs are sitting at 4-0 with state champion wrestler Chase Brennan leading the Cub attack on the ground. Meanwhile, Cassville, who hadn’t dropped a conference game in half a decade, is now sitting at 0-2 in the conference after a 26-7 loss at home to Seneca. With a visit to the 3-1 Carl Junction Bulldogs and Matt Magee looming, it could easily be 0-3. Magee has is averaging more than 100 yards receiving per game, and the Bulldogs are averaging a cool 50 points per game. CJ, it appears, will be the biggest hurdle to Lamar’s hunt for that elusive Big 8 title. The Bulldogs are big and athletic, and if both teams can take care of business on Friday, we should see an undefeated Big 8 showdown between the two on Oct. 4.
If a Mid-Lakes scoreboard doesn’t a blow a fuse by the season’s end I will be shocked. Ash Grove, Skyline, and Strafford all enter Week 5 unbeaten and averaging at least 40 points a game. Look no further than these three to see the various ways you can run a spread attack… Marionville is sitting at 2-2, but gave Ash Grove and Strafford all they can handle. When the Comets head into district play they won’t have the best record, but I find it hard to believe that they won’t make their way out of Class 1 – District 2.
I am not a Chiefs fan… Oddly enough, I like the Broncos. Long story short, my dad grew up in Denver, thus I inherited the blue and orange. However, I have long said that this season should be a good one for the KC faithful. Adding a quarterback and head coach that needed a change of scenery was huge. Furthermore, the schedule couldn’t have set up any better. The AFC West has cross-divisional matchups with the NFC East and AFC South, neither of which seems to be extremely tough this year. The Chiefs also matchup with corresponding finishers, last place AFC teams in 2012, this season (Buffalo & Cleveland). Throw in a talented defense, and you can see why I had the Chiefs finishing 10-6 and making the playoffs coming into 2013. That’s the good news…. The bad news? Don’t book your trip to New York just yet. At the end of the day you are still strapped with a head coach who comes up small in big games and a quarterback that is allergic to throwing the ball more than 15 yards down field. Kansas City has what it takes to win regular season games as long as they take care of the ball. But when it comes down to playing the best of the AFC, it won’t bode well. In the modern day NFL you need an elite quarterback to win big games, or at least one that can consistently make plays. Alex Smith may not beat the Chiefs with Matt Cassell-like plays, but he won’t beat anyone else either.
Fantasy update… Team Burton is currently looking bad this week. The owner (idiot) forgot to bench the injured Reggie Bush and Jermichael Finley. Furthermore, I’m going up against Peyton Manning versus the Oakland Raiders on Monday night football. Barring something crazy by Aaron Rodgers, I will likely fall to 1-2 on the season.
Where do you get your info. Jr. Rec Connor Ratcliff from Parkview had 7 rec for 186 yds and 2 tds. One td was 92 yds-longest in Missouri this year. Ratcliff is the #1 rec in class 5. Maxprep has all this info.
If your school's coach doesn't send info in, and I can't confirm a player's stats, then I can't use that player.