It’s one of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits.
Setting the backdrop of a fictional filming of the 1976 recording session of the Blue Öyster Cult hit “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” cult legend Christopher Walken plays a producer that delivers the famous line, “I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell.”
Seeing that the line has become a bit overplayed since it dropped in 2000, I thought it could use a bit of repurposing.
And with the first week of prep football practices coming to a close, I thought it was only fitting to change the line to: I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more football.
Fortunately for me and fans in the Democrat’s coverage area, the plot lines on the gridiron are abundant with Friday night under the lights set to kick off in less than two weeks.
While there are dozens of topics to be discussed, I’ve narrowed the field down to five things to watch.
S-C chasing a West Central title
Last year’s 4-6 Tigers finished the league schedule with 2-3 record, but a promising sign in a down year was that two of those losses came on the road by scores of 40-34 vs. St. Pius X 42-35 vs. O’Hara.
This season, even with the task of filling the void left by 15 seniors, the Tigers have their sights on regaining the swagger that captured them league titles in 2008 and 2009.
After beginning the regular season with games against Nixa, Helias, Hickman and Grain Valley, the Tigers hit the conference schedule running with a matchup at rival Warrensburg, which will no doubt be trying to avenge last year’s 30-27 loss in Sedalia. Then it’s defending champion O’Hara, last year’s runner-up Clinton and then Center and St. Pius X.
John Cox’s move
to Knob Noster
After leading Concordia to a 12-2 campaign and a second consecutive trip to the Class 1 semifinals, head coach John Cox shocked many when he accepted the same position at Class 2 Knob Noster.
Replacing Jon Lindquist, who moved to Jefferson City, Cox left behind a 55-17 record over six years at Concordia to join a program that — including last year’s 1-9 campaign — has gone 16-45 over that same period.
In becoming the fourth Knob Noster coach in four years, Cox will be tasked with building the program from the ground up. But with his track record, the Panthers couldn’t be in much better hands.
Cole Camp steps down
to Class 1
Once at the bottom of Class 2, Cole Camp’s decision to end its cooperative partnership with Green Ridge put them just under the Class 1 enrollment guidelines, which tops out at 241 students.
But will the switch provide the ammo for the Bluebirds to make their first trip to the playoffs?
Returning 11 seniors, eight starters on offense and nine on defense from last year’s 5-5 squad, Bluebirds coach Kevin Shearer’s crew is certainly in good shape to break the drought as the Bluebirds enter their seventh varsity year.
“The core group has been with us for a long time,” Shearer said. “Leadership shouldn’t be issue.”
SH building on last season
In its fourth varsity season, Sacred Heart had a groundbreaking 2011.
Under first-year head coach Ben Lyles, the Gremlins finished above .500 for the first time ever at 6-4, enjoyed their first win streak (six), won their first Kaysinger Conference and district games (42-36 over Windsor) and made the playoffs.
Now the question is: What will they do for an encore?
The Gremlins lost six seniors, but they had 19 players show up to the first day of practice, including quarterback Chase Lyles, running back Michael Hohne and lineman David Lorandi. So the talent and speed is there, according to Lyles, who is focused on proving last season was no fluke.
Northwest celebrates 10 seasons of varsity football
The Mustangs may be playing a different brand of football in Hughesville, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting.
Returning to eight-man football last year and excelling in the faster-pace game with a 5-5 mark and a trip to the playoffs, the Mustangs mark their 10-year anniversary as a varsity program with a talented roster that includes five seniors, junior quarterback Cortlen Austin and a slew of young, hungry talent.
Northwest head coach Caleb Crooker, who has been with the program since its inaugural junior varsity campaign in 2001, is encouraged that the team’s speed and talent at the specialized positions will allow the team to build on last season.