And just like that, October’s here.
It seems like we just started fall sports practices yesterday. If you don’t look at a calendar and step outside, it still feels like August.
At some point, the weather will break. Unfortunately, with our luck, we’ll probably plunge directly into the depths of winter. Hopefully, we do get a fall this year with cooler days.
Until that happens, we’ll keep working through the fall sports season, the most congested of the year as far as teams go.
Some of the sports already are in the stretch run. Girls golf and softball will be among the first to reach the playoffs with the regular season ending soon.
Those will be followed by the rest. We’re already looking ahead at Week 6 in football. The first half of the season is done.
So far, I think the big stories are the area’s three undefeated teams, Washington, St. Clair and Hermann.
The Washington Blue Jays are enjoying their best season since 2006 and it’s great to see them undefeated right now. Washington faces a massive test this week at Ft. Zumwalt North, the GAC Central favorite and top-ranked team in Class 5.
Despite Washington’s success, it’s still only fourth in one of the state’s toughest Class 4 districts. Washington is in Class 4 District 5, where Lebanon, Camdenton and Helias (combined record of 13-2) are still above the Blue Jays in the standings. If the season ended today, the Blue Jays would be guaranteed one home game.
Meanwhile, Wentzville Liberty, the team Washington just defeated, is the top team in Class 4 District 4 with a 2-3 record. No team in that district has a winning mark. Washington easily would be the top team had it been placed there.
St. Clair is a bit of a surprise as well. The Bulldogs have overcome losing some very solid players last year to graduation. I don’t think the fact that St. Clair beat Union last week should be a big surprise. The final score, 32-12, was unexpected though.
That allowed the Bulldogs to shoot from third to first in the Class 3 District 2 standings. This St. Clair team has the grit and the coaching under Brian Robbins. Depth is the only area that could become an issue, but unless something drastic happens, this St. Clair team could be playing deep into the postseason.
Hermann has a good group of athletes and showed a lot of heart in its double overtime win in the Gasconade County Bowl over Owensville Friday. The Bearcats lead Class 2 District 5 and could be a player deep into the district playoffs.
Two teams face a crossroads this week, Union and St. Francis Borgia Regional.
Union needs to bounce back from its second half drop-off against St. Clair. At one point, the game was 14-12 St. Clair before the Bulldogs scored 20 in a row.
The Wildcats don’t have the easy road, either. Union gets onto the bus and heads on the long trip to Bolivar, which is 5-0 heading into this week’s game.
Borgia suffered one of its biggest defeats in years Friday against Helias. Dale Gildehaus said he can’t remember the last time Borgia was beaten that soundly at home.
The big key will be how Borgia bounces back in a rivalry game at St. Dominic. It’s winnable and Borgia needs all of the momentum it can get heading into a Week 7 trip to Cardinal Ritter, which beat Helias just as badly as Helias beat Borgia.
Most coaches will tell you that good teams don’t let a loss beat them twice. We’ll see if Borgia is one of those good teams.
If your favorite team is doing well this year, enjoy it. If not, remember that change is coming next year.
MSHSAA made the move to reclassify and redistrict every year starting last season. Next year, there are more changes coming, starting with new rules for classes and potential additional classes in most sports. Those changes are still to be figured out and we’ll hear more by the end of the school year.
The other huge change is how nonpublic schools are treated. The 1.35 multiplier goes bye-bye at the end of the school year, but a success factor, taking into account the last six seasons for each sports team, could move that team up at least one class.
I don’t think that change will really hit home until someone has a boys basketball team going to a district at one location and the girls team going to a different district tournament.
It should be an interesting school year.
If you get a chance, check out the new Washington disc golf course at Burger Park. The first nine holes are open and an official opening ceremony will be held Oct. 10.
The course is pretty forgiving. Most of the holes have plenty of room and it’s not tough to track down discs thrown way off into the rough on most holes.
The holes aren’t horribly long, and a beginner can easily play with the standard starting disc set.
The only thing I’ve seen is that there still is some undergrowth, especially around the tree lines on the fifth, sixth and seventh holes. Things are a little tighter there and it’s important to throw straight. Watch out for poison ivy.
It’s also a good idea to take a photo of the course layout at the start. It definitely helps the first time you play it in trying to figure out tee boxes.
Another nine holes are planned for the other side of Busch Creek, the signs state. The course should be a nice addition to others around the area, including Union and St. Clair.