There’s a lot to look forward to for the upcoming fall sports season.
From the new turf fields at area high schools, to all the sports teams preparing for competition, to Mizzou and St. Louis Rams football, and to the St. Louis Cardinals as they fight for a spot in postseason.
The new turf fields are on schedule and coming together at Washington, Union and Owensville.
All three complexes should be tremendous.
St. James will begin work on a new turf field following the fall sports season.
We all know that Borgia, St. Clair, Sullivan and Hermann already have turf fields, which leaves Pacific as the only area school, besides New Haven, with grass.
It isn’t as much of an issue to acquire turf at Pacific than it was at Washington. Pacific has had the nicest grass field in the area for a long time. You could eat off that thing.
I still think eventually, down the road, a turf field will come to Pacific.
Right now, the Pacific folks are focusing on the construction of a new commons area at the high school. Work is slated to begin soon.
This fall, Washington and Borgia both are celebrating anniversaries of state championship football teams.
Washington is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its 1973 team that won the Class 3A state championship, a 14-7 victory over Jefferson City Helias at Rolla High School.
The 1973 team will be honored at Washington’s Sept. 6 game against Timberland.
The Sept. 6 game also is the Blue Jays’ home opener, which will be the first varsity football game on the turf. That will be a big night.
Borgia is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its 1993 team that won the Class 3A state championship, a 24-21 victory over Chillicothe in Springfield.
The 1993 team will be honored at Borgia’s Sept. 13 game against Duchesne.
As far as the 2013 football season goes, I’ve already been asked several times who will be the team to beat in our area.
Usually, I have a pretty good grasp of that question. This season, the picture isn’t as clear.
Washington, Borgia, St. Clair and Sullivan each definitely will have new starting quarterbacks after the graduation of their starters.
With that new turf, the Blue Jays are going to play with a lot of energy and could very well make some noise this season. When you have Kyle Summers in the backfield, anything is possible.
I’m also hearing good things about the Knights and the talent they have. They will be a determined team that wants to prove that last season’s 4-6 record was a fluke.
With an experienced returning quarterback in Blake Hulsey, I think Union is ready to make the jump toward the top of the Four Rivers Conference.
St. Clair and Sullivan will be waiting for the Wildcats. The Bulldogs and Eagles hardly will be pushovers. I expect both to have solid seasons. Hermann could be a sleeper. Could Pacific, St. James or Owensville be the surprise team in the league? It’s possible.
As far as the Rams are concerned, we know that Bernie Kosar isn’t a fan, but I still feel pretty good about the team.
The first-team defense didn’t look good in the first preseason game against Cleveland, but they didn’t throw much at the Browns.
There are three first-round picks on the defensive line in Chris Long, Robert Quinn and Michael Brockers and a lot of speed and play makers at linebacker and in the secondary.
The key to the season is the health of the offensive line, and that’s off to a shaky start after right tackle Rodger Saffold suffered a dislocated shoulder against the Browns, and will miss the entire preseason.
But the Rams have some weapons on offense. Sam Bradford just has to find a way to put the ball in their hands.
Mizzou’s season also depends heavily on the offensive line.
What can I say? The offensive line is tremendously important in football.
The Mizzou offensive line needs to keep quarterback James Franklin on his feet and open holes for running back Henry Josey.
That won’t be easy against the rugged defensive lines of the SEC.
I don’t know what’s going on with the Cardinals, but things haven’t been pretty since the all-star break.
In that recent stretch against Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Los Angeles, quite possibly the four other teams that will join the Cards in the NL playoffs, the team went 4-11. And then for good measure, they lost two out of three to the Cubs.
Because five teams from each league qualify for the playoffs and ironically, there are only five decent teams in the National League, the Cardinals will be in the playoffs, unless they have a historic crash. But it could be a short visit to the postseason, especially if they play in that one-game wildcard.