The Boonville Pirates football team and the Marshall Owls both took wrong turns last week in Week 8 of the 2013 season.
While the Pirates fell on Senior-Parents Night against the Moberly Spartans 38-7, the Marshall Owls took their show on the road against the Hannibal Pirates only to be turned away by a score of 42-6.
The 2013 season has also been disappointing for both teams, with the Pirates going into Friday night’s game at 3-5 overall and 2-3 in the NCMC and Marshall at 2-6 overall and 1-4 in the conference.
Boonville coach Devin Brown and Marshall coach Jon Stockman also know what it at stake on Friday. Although the Pirates have pretty much owned Marshall the last five years, winning all five games, Brown said this year all that stuff has changed.
“Moberly had never won here and they beat us 38-7 and then we had never won at Mexico and we go on the road and win 12-6,” Brown said. “With these kids and this team all that stuff goes away. You just have to play one play at a time and that is what we have been telling the kids all week. You play one snap at a time and play your tail off for that six seconds and get after it.”
Stockman said just like every week the Owls want to be 1-0 after this week is over.
“We need to improve on respecting our opponent and studying our opponent,” Stockman said. “We also need to improve on what we do here at Marshall. Anytime you win football is a game of momentum. Anytime you win you want to take that into Week 10 or the following week, but the bottom-line is that we want to be 1-0 after this week.”
In the game last week against Hannibal, Stockman said the Owls and Pirates played to a 0-0 tie at the end of the first quarter and then Marshall blocked a punt to go up 6-0 in the second.
Unfortunately for the Owls, Hannibal came back with six unanswered touchdowns for the rest of the game to win by 36.
According to Marshall Democrat Sports Editor Chris Allen, the last time the Owls had a lead against Hannibal was in 2008, when starter Matt Jacobs ran for 207 yards. However, on this night, the Pirates rallied back with 21 unanswered points in the first half to go up 21-6.
Something else that didn’t make Coach Stockman happy about the Hannibal game, is that the Owls turned the ball over four times in the second half.
“They started gouging us with the run game and we didn’t tackle very well in the first half,” Stockman said. “Then, in the second half, they made some big plays down the stretch, one of which was a pick six, when we were trying to hurry up with big plays and get back in the game, which is something we don’t do very well. We were out of our game a little bit because we were down 2-3 scores. We made the final score worse with what we were doing. Hannibal is a good football team and they executed well even after their slow start. Hats off to them. We just have to play better this week.”
Of course the Pirates didn’t exactly set the world on fire last week, either. While giving up two touchdowns on just two plays to start the game against the Spartans, Boonville also faced an uphill battle while trailing 30-0 at the half.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that Boonville came back and played better in the second half, although Moberly still held a slight advantage 8-7. The Spartans also finished the game with over 400 yards in total offense while holding the Pirates to 137 yards in total offense.
Brown said he was disappointed in the effort. “I think the kids were, too,” Brown said. “Obviously when we went to watch the film and talked about, it was just a few plays here and there and Moberly hit big strikes on us. It is three weeks in a row now that we have let someone score on the first possession, which you can’t do, especially if you want to win the game. The kids just have to come out and play. It’s like they are waiting on the first possession or they are playing their scout team. That team Friday night is going to be a lot better than our scout team.”
Although the Owls graduated 19 seniors last year, Stockman said they still have 12 seniors on the team this year with a few players returning on both sides of the ball.
Marshall also has several players putting up good numbers again this season.  Junior running back Devin Cott leads the Owls in rushing with 120 carries for 542 yards with four touchdowns. Of course 202 of those yards came in a shootout against the Fulton Hornets.
As for the passing game, senior Canaan Heinzler will get the start, however, senior Zach Glassmaker has thrown for more yardage while completing 21 of 48 passes for 238 yards with one touchdown and five picks. Heinzler, meanwhile, has completed 21 of 54 passes for 185 yards with eight interceptions.
The receiving corps has also been good at times this season. Junior Logan Harris leads the Owls with 18 catches for 161 yards and one touchdown while senior Tyler Cott comes in at 15 catches for 153 yards.
On the defensive side of the football, Tyler Cott and Devin Cott each have 55 tackles on the season while Harris has 52 and senior linebacker Brett Maupin 38.
Stockman said at some point and time every ballgame the Owls have played has been winnable with the exception of the second half last week against Hannibal.
“We started out 0-3 and expectations coming off last year is that we were going to be better, but the bottom-line is that we started out 0-3,” Stockman said. “We played real well for a half against Kirksville and were up 33-0 and then we had some injuries and had five starters out the second half of the game and the Fulton game which never helps anything. But injury-wise you play the next man up and you go from there. We are not happy with the record for sure but I am proud of the way our kids are still practicing hard and still trying to get better and still working.”
Stockman said he also knows what is at stake Friday night. With the district playoffs beginning the following week, Stockman said the Owls would like to take a little momentum into Week 10.
“It’s our Senior Night here so we want to send those guys off with a win,” Stockman said. “We have never beat Boonville since they joined the NCMC so hopefully our kids will come out and play well.”
The Pirates have also played well at times this season. Like Marshall, Boonville also started the season at 0-3 with losses to California, Higginsville and Hannibal. However, after dropping three straight, the Pirates also won two in a row by beating Knob Noster 34-3 and Mexico 12-6. Then, after losing at home against the Kirksville Tigers in Week 6 36-7, Boonville came back the following week on the road and won on the final play of the game against the Fulton Hornets 42-39.
Despite the roller coaster season, senior quarterback Jacob Francis has been steady to say the least while leading the Pirates in both rushing and passing with 75 carries for 212 yards and 81 of 162 for 990 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions. Junior receiver Austin Hulbert has also come up big for Boonville with 32 catches for 458 yards and five touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior Tyler Peterson is what one opposing coach called a “one man wrecking crew” while leading the team with 145 tackles with 104 solo stops and 41 assisted tackles.
Stockman said the Francis kid is pretty good.
“He runs the ball well at times and he has a good arm,” Stockman said. “The offensive line is also pretty good up front. They protect Francis when he is throwing the ball. They also have some kids that can catch the ball and run with it after they do catch it. Defensively, we are going to have to be real sound in our assignments and our tackling. Our defensive line is also going to have to get a pass rush and backers are going to have to wrap up and play well.”
As for Boonville’s defense, Stockman said the Pirates have always been pretty aggressive. He said the backers are real active blitzing and the defensive line is pretty good as well.
“Offensively, we are just going to have to be more sound in our blocking assignments and hang on to the football,” Stockman said.
Brown also assessed the Owls both offensively and defensively. He said in addition to being big up front, they also have two good running backs, one of which is really good.
“They rotate their quarterbacks a little bit as well,” Brown said. “They will get in the power I, double tight and four wide sets so they will vary it up on offense. As for the defense, they come at you. They have one linebacker that is really good but they also have a couple of defensive ends and one tackle that are good up front. The secondary also has a little speed back there. You will see Marshall in a 4-2 or a 4-4 depending on what teams give them offensively. They are an attacking style defense and they will come at you and they play hard.”
With Boonville currently seeded sixth in its district in Class 3 and Marshall eighth out of eight teams in Class 4, both coaches agree that this game is not a make or break game going into the district playoffs.
“Both teams want to win because you don’t want to lose going into districts,” Brown said. “You want to have that win going in and be able to practice the next week and have a little energy from it and have a little positive reinforcement going in, but we just have to worry about us and play the way we can play.  We are not really worried so much about next week, we are worried about winning this game, especially the way we lost last week.”
Stockman said he thinks the game is going to be evenly matched.
“I think both teams have some real good players and obviously we both have our strengths and weaknesses,” Stockman said. “I think it should be a heck of a ballgame with two pretty evenly matched football teams. We jut have to make sure we keep them out of the end zone as much as possible and we have to try and move the chains offensively.”