Dominating the competition on and off the field, the Missouri Cyclones breezed to their fifth victory in a row Saturday at Borgia.
On the field, the Cyclones dominated the Gateway Hawks in a 41-6 blowout.
Missouri (6-1) held the Hawks to a pair of first half field goals while rolling to the easy victory at Borgia.
And the Cyclones got good news from the Great Midwest Football League office. The Midwest Chargers, who held a one-game edge in the Gateway Conference Southeastern Division over the Cyclones headed into this week’s games, lost to the Twin City Dawgs, tying the teams at 6-1.
The Cyclones moved up to third in this week’s GMFL Power Rankings at 57.87, behind only the 7-0 Detroit Ravens (64.17) and the 6-1 Twin City Dawgs (63.69).
Skill Makes Difference
Head Coach Troy Robertson says it’s a difference in skill level that has given his team the edge to keep itself in contention for the title.
“We are still by far the most talented team in the area,” said Robertson. “There’s no reason we can’t win it all. For us to be going through the motions and still winning by 30 is crazy.”
Missouri continues its quest for the division title and a playoff berth this Saturday night in Indiana. The Cyclones visit the Evansville Enforcers, a team they beat 48-18 in Warrenton June 16, Saturday. Kickoff in the Southeastern Division game at F.J. Reitz High School is set for 7 p.m.
Anthing for the Fans
The Cyclones continue to work on trying to build up a local fan base and had two contests for those attending the game.
The Cyclones even dominated off the field. Defensive lineman Mike Brooks won a hot wing eating contest at halftime as the Cyclones tried to get the crowd more involved in supporting the team.
Team sponsor Big Boy’s Grilled Subs and Wings provided the hot wings for the competition, which also included defensive back Sergio Kahn and two fans.
In the end, although sweat poured down his face, Brooks prevailed to eat all of his wings.
At the same time, a lucky fan had a chance to kick a 25-yard field goal for a gift card, but missed all three chances.
Domination is not new for the Cyclones this season.
The team’s average margin of victory over the past four weeks has been 27 points.
Robertson said this success has come in spite of struggle. Particularly, a lack of discipline has been exposed by the glaring fact the Cyclones have given up 90 yards per game on penalties.
“We’re horrible right now at getting penalties,” said Robertson. “That shows inconsistency on our part, and we’ve got to be more disciplined. We’ve had a lot of personal fouls and we’ve got to get that under control.”
The Cyclones wasted no time dispatching their visitors at Borgia Saturday, jumping ahead 20-3 by halftime. The Hawks were able to move the ball, but struggled near the goal line. Gateway struggled with its punting game, frequently giving the Cyclones strong field position after kicking it away.
“We felt like we left some points on the field in the first half,” said Robertson. “Ever since the Nashville game (preseason opener), it seems like we’ve just been going through the motions.”
Will Rodriguez booted a 44-yard field goal to put Missouri on the board with 11:24 remaining in the first quarter.
An errant snap set the Cyclones up in the red zone again moments later, as Daryle Jones plunged in from eight yards out.
Gateway connected on the first of its two field goals, both by Dillon Forbes, with 5:25 left in the opening period. The Cyclones were able to keep the Hawks out of the red zone, holding them to 36 yards on 32 carries.
“We went away from our traditional 3-4 defense and went to a modern 3-4, using Jason Null as our pass rusher,” said Robertson.
The Cyclones built on their 10-3 lead when Tony King hauled in an 18-yard grab from quarterback Mike McMullen on the opening drive of the second quarter. King finished with 80 yards on four receptions.
Rodriguez split the uprights on a 25-yard field goal in the final minute of the first half, giving Missouri a 20-3 advantage.
The Cyclones opened the second half by returning a kickoff return for a score and added two more touchdowns, including one by running back Keenan Miller.
Robertson was pleased with the rushing effort by his primary tandem of backs. Miller had 35 yards on seven carries, while Jones amassed 63 yards on 13 carries.
“They dictated the game,” acknowledged Robertson. “Our running game was pretty solid.”
McMullen, who started while splitting snaps with first-year quarterback Clayton Tunney, finished 11 of 17 passing with 178 yards.
“We had a couple of guys come off the bench and play well on defense,” said Robertson. “Lucas Gibson has been a great third linebacker for us.”
While the Hawks were the visiting team, some of them didn’t have far to go to get home.
Quarterback Tom Gajeski is a Defiance resident.
Defensive lineman Waymond Hemphill is a Wright City resident.
And Gabe Sydnor and Jeremy Boschert are from Wentzville.
Warren County Record Sports Editor Derrick Forsythe and Missourian Sports Editor Bill Battle combined to write this article.