Blair Oaks Falcons Gearing Up for State Championship

9 years 10 months 1 week ago November 22, 2006 Nov 22, 2006 Wednesday, November 22 2006 Wednesday, November 22, 2006 6:42:03 PM CST in Sports

Any other game to players like Derek Verslues, who ran for 176 yards and 3 touchdowns as a sophomore, leading the Falcons to the Class 2 state title two years ago.

"Last time we came here, I was very inexperienced with this kind of atmosphere," he admitted. "But now I feel like I've matured since then and I have the experience. That helps."

Verslues missed four games this season because of mononucleosis, but Coach Brad Drehle said that actually helped the rest of the team.

"It forced a lot of kids to play up and improve their play," Drehle explained. "Kids had to rally around each other to get things done. With him back, it just made us that much better."

Motivation to improve started months ago, after the Falcons lost in the first round of the 2005 playoffs, then lost former Coach Ted LePage to a new job in Jefferson City.

"Our seniors, we got together about 2-3 weeks after that in the weight room," Verslues recalled. "We didn't have a coach in the weight room. We came in every single day and worked our tail ends off."

Drehle added, "We sat down with the seniors and said, 'You've been there. What did you like? What do you want to do different? It's your trip.'"

The Class 2 State Championship Game kicks off at noon this Friday.

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