To state it was a weekend of surprises would be a massive understatement.
Not only did the St. Louis Cardinals sweep the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first two games of the National League Championship Series, but the Mizzou Tigers and St. Louis Rams both posted huge road wins.
Mizzou proved it learned something from its weak early schedule to win at Georgia Saturday. However, losing James Franklin to a season-ending injury was not what the team had hoped to see. Now, fans will get to see if Maty Mauk will live up to the hype we’ve heard about him for the past couple of years.
The Tigers are in a great position right now, moving up the national rankings and getting into position to be a huge player in the Southeastern Conference East Division race. Maybe the fans will let Gary Pinkel keep his job for another year now.
Did anyone expect the Rams to win in Houston, much less dominate the Texans? I saw a stat that it was the most points St. Louis had scored since the 2006 season. For Rams fans, you hope Jeff Fisher’s team has turned the corner for the time being.
The Rams not only made plays on offense, but came up with key turnovers and scored on two of them. That was impressive as well.
And then there’s the high school sports scene.
In football, it seems that Sullivan is the team to beat. However, they’re only ranked third within their district. Can the Eagles defend their district title? It’s much too early to tell.
Justin Biermann and the Eagles are scoring points like we expected them to do. Had they been able to do so in the first two weeks of the season, the Eagles probably would be in the state poll.
Union has bounced back from two bad losses to quietly put together a strong season as well. Blake Hulsey has a number of receiving options for his passes. Logan Bellamy has been the biggest of those receivers. Hulsey definitely is a special talent at quarterback and he’s only a junior.
Borgia has pushed back to overachieving status once again this year. Not much was expected from a team which returned only nine seniors or lettermen from last year and was hammered with injuries. Borgia faces a huge game Friday night when St. Clair visits. The Knights have to win if they have any hopes to host a Week 10 game.
I don’t think many people figured Borgia would win four games all season, much less in the first six weeks.
The thing to like about Borgia is that they’re doing it without one huge player. It’s a bunch of kids filling roles while the Knights constantly try to reshuffle to deal with injuries. Dale Gildehaus and his staff certainly are earning their pay this year.
There are teams I haven’t seen but would love to watch.
St. Clair comes to Borgia this week. The Bulldogs hit hard and feature Skyler Hutchison, a gritty player on both sides of the ball. Hutchison is a load to try and bring down.
Perhaps the most entertaining team in the area is Washington. The Blue Jays feature the area’s best running back, Kyle Summers. Having seen him play American Legion baseball last summer, I know he is a natural athlete with a ton of ability.
Summers has been able to find holes in most defenses this year. Washington hasn’t exactly played a creampuff schedule either. Washington is going to have to figure out how to stop opponents to make a run in the playoffs. Only once have they held an opponent to less than 20 points in a game. That’s not going to work if the Blue Jays are going to make any playoff run.
Another team I would love to see is Hermann. The Bearcats have shelved the spread offense and are back to running the tried-and-true veer once again. They picked up a huge win over St. Clair last Friday. Hermann has another massive league game at Union in Week 9, which could determine second place in the FRC.
I see a ton of volleyball in my travels. And Borgia’s got the best team in the area at this point.
Is this the year Borgia puts another board on the wall? It’s way too early to tell.
Borgia has an amazing team, but should it win its district, a gauntlet of the winner of District 5 awaits (likely survivor of Villa Duchesne, Visitation, Westminster Christian) would be the first-round opponent. The other two districts could be represented by St. Dominic and Duchesne if I had to guess right now. Both of those teams have given Borgia trouble as well.
Borgia (23-2-1) has to be the overwhelming favorite for the Class 3 District 8 Tournament in Union. The big question has got to be how to seed the rest of the field.
We do know how the bottom of the field likely will stack up. Salem (0-20) will be the seventh seed and St. James (1-16-4, the win came over Salem) will be sixth.
Sullivan (7-9-4), Union (13-8-1), St. Clair (8-14-2) and Owensville (14-12) each has a legitimate claim on the second spot. Will Sullivan’s championship at the St. Clair Tournament be enough to overcome its losing record? Can one of the other teams emerge as a sure No. 2? Those are huge questions to be answered.
Outside of that district, Hermann (14-11) likely will win the FRC title. Any Linda Lampkin team is a threat to make a playoff run, but they’ll have to find a way to beat Fatima if it comes to that. What I like about Hermann is its confidence. Jamie Gleeson, in particular, isn’t afraid to attack the ball from any spot on the floor. This has a big effect on the team.
If New Haven (18-10) approached every match like it played Sept. 23 against Borgia, I think the Lady Shamrocks would have a good chance to be playing in Cape Girardeau in November. Defending District 5 champion Valle (17-6-1) probably will have something to say about that though. Last year’s state champion, Winona, also is in the section.
Washington is getting better as the season goes along. With two-time defending state champion Lafayette in their district, it’s not likely that the Lady Jays will progress beyond the preliminary stage of the district tournament. The same can be said for Pacific. But the future is bright.
Washington has some impressive young players on its freshman team and it shouldn’t take long to rebuild after this season.
Pacific impressed me by pressing New Haven in the Hermann Tournament third-place match and with its win over Washington during pool play.
Want to see a great match? Go early to Borgia next Monday to watch the freshman teams play in a rematch of the Washington Tournament championship from a couple of weekends back. That should be pretty entertaining.
In softball, Sullivan’s the only remaining team. The Lady Eagles didn’t allow a run in the district tournament, but will need everything to survive the sectional round against Blair Oaks. Sullivan lost to the Lady Falcons earlier this year, 17-0, at the UCM Tournament in Warrensburg. For Ashley Crump’s team, at least this game will be at home.