Posted: Aug 22, 2014 4:52 AM by John Zupon Jr., KOMU 8 Sports Reporter
Updated: Aug 22, 2014 5:52 AM
MEXICO - The smell of fresh cut grass is in the air, and school is in session, which means Friday Night Fever is back. In the first Game of the Week, the Mexico Bulldogs host the North Callaway Thunderbirds to kick off each teams' season.
KOMU 8 News will be covering most games with a real-time live blog with fan photos and score updates.
Be sure to watch Friday Night Fever at 10 p.m. on Friday night to see how your favorite team fared in week five.
Our Game of the Week teams both had sub-par seasons last year, but both look to learn and improve from it.
Who: North Callaway Thunderbirds (4-5 last season) at Mexico Bulldogs (3-7 last season).
When: Friday, Aug. 22, at 8 p.m.
Where: Hawthorne Heights Field, Mexico High School 639 N Wade St. Mexico, MO 65265
Distance: 16.5 miles, or about a 19 minute drive
Significance: Both teams got new coaches after the disappointing season last year, and both coaches want to bring the rivalry back between these two schools. The last time these two schools faced off in the home opener was six years ago. New North Callaway Head Coach Kevin O'Neal says this game is huge for the players because it's more about pride. He says they play baseball during the summer together and basketball during the winter.
Class 4, District 5:
1. Helias Catholic
8. Liberty (Wentzville)
Class 2, District 6:
1. Bowling Green
2. Montgomery County
5. North Callaway
6. Clark County
Mexico Bulldogs (Last Season: 3-7): The Bulldogs are coming out of an off season with a new coach and new scoreboard. Coach Steve Haag replaced Ty Harrison who was 4-16 over the last two seasons, but Haag does not want to replace everything. He wants the Bulldog defense to carry the wins, but the offense will need to give them support as they lost 4 games last season by 12 points or less. The goal of the season for the Bulldogs is to get back to .500.
Player to Watch: Tyler Bratch, senior DB/RB - Last season Bratch helped his team so much that he earned himself All-NCMC honors alongside fellow DB Skylar Harrington and junior LB Karsten Ekern. Bratch alongside Ekern will need to have good games on both sides of the ball if they want to win against North Callaway.
North Callaway Thunderbirds (4-5): Replacing a coach who roamed the sidelines for 26 years is never easy, because it leaves big shoes to fill for the incoming coach. But new Head Coach Kevin O'Neal is looking to overcome that obstacle. O'Neal must make sure his team does not sputter out of control too early this season like the Thunderbirds did last year, losing four of their first five. Also a challenge for O'Neal is the inexperience at defense, but he does come in with a very good offensive tandem.
Player to Watch: Cole Branson, senior QB - Branson is looking to continue his hot streak. He finished last season with 1,600 total yards and 14 TD's. He is looking to keep connecting with fellow senior WR Steven Coleman who caught 3 TD's for 338 years last year. If the Thunderbirds want to make this game interesting against the Bulldogs they will need to be finishing the others sentences.
Prediction: The game will be close for the first half, but the Bulldogs will find that their defense, and the fact that they have home field advantage, will lead them to a win.
North Callaway - 14
Mexico - 21