After hosting the Father Tolton Blazers last Friday on Homecoming, the Boonville Pirates football team will now become the opponent playing on Homecoming this coming tonight at Mexico.
While this will complete the final year for the Pirates in the NCMC conference, nothing would make Boonville’s season more than knocking off Mexico on its own home field on Friday.
In last week’s game against Father Tolton, the Pirates probably played their most complete game of the season while coasting to a 27-17 victory. As for the Bulldogs, they took it one step further by knocking off the Hannibal Pirates on the road 28-14.
Of course if you go by head to head competition, Boonville fell to Hannibal in Week 3 by a score of 26-7 but the game could have been a lot closer if not for three Boonville fumbles-one on the Hannibal 1-yard line.
Needless to say, the Bulldogs will pose a different kind of problem for the Pirates. Boonville Pirates football coach Barry Blank said offensively the Bulldogs will run a double wing offense and like to run a lot of triple option and sweeps and then like to come back with a wing counter reverse.
Blank said Mexico’s offense also start with the quarterback in senior Jonathan Grubb. He said Grubb is a really good runner and reads the option very, very well. After that, Blank said the Bulldogs two wingbacks (senior Jaeden Pottebaum and sophomore Manny Hernandez) are also very fast and very explosive. “They are also very good blockers,” Blank said. “Mexico will also throw it some. I think they threw it six times last week, but they like to establish the run first. That’s their bread and butter. The thing for us is that we have to force them in second and third and longs. We also have to take advantage of their turnovers when they present themselves, and lastly, we just have to run to the football and be great tacklers this week.”
On the defensive side of the football, the Bulldogs will lineup in a 3-3-5 and will blitz the outside linebacker and safeties.
Blank said Mexico flies to the football and will have 5-6 kids at the point of attack. “Up front No. 62 (senior Aaron Terrese) is strong and physical and doesn’t take plays off,” Blank said. “It all starts up front with him. Their inside linebacker No. 42 (Grubb) also does a really good job of running to the football along with No. 2 (Pottebaum). He recovers so well when he reads run to pass. For us offensively, we have to run the football on the edges effectively. We also have to throw the ball to our outside receivers better because they will give us cushion on the outside edges.”
In the game last week against Father Tolton, Blank said he thought the team played well for 3 1/2 quarters. He also said the front three (Gabe Rumbaoa, Ben Horst and Kole Ficken) did a great job putting pressure on the quarterback.
Nonetheless, the task will be much greater this week against the Bulldogs, who have racked up over 1,106 yards of offense and 125 points during the last four weeks. The Pirates may also want to keep an eye out for senior running back Cameron Holman, who has 319 total yards of offense this season and has scored 56 points for Mexico.
Of course the Pirates will counter with their own weapons. In four games, sophomore running back Avian Thomas has a total of 529 yards of offense with 497 rushing on 79 carries and 32 yards receiving on five catches. Junior quarterback Malik Brazil, meanwhile, has 242 yards passing on 17 of 31 attempts with one touchdown and two interceptions. And when he does throw, junior tight end appears to be Brazil's favorite target with four catches for 76 yards. Senior Ben Eichelberger also has four catches for 69 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, Eichelberger is currently the team leader with 50 tackles while sophomore Josh Polk has 44 and Brandon Johnson with 42.
Blank said the overall key for the Pirates is that they can’t let Mexico get out to a early start being on the road. “I really feel like for us we have to make it a fourth quarter game,” Blank said. “At least within striking distance. We are just going to have to play really well for four quarters.”
Since 2008 when Boonville joined the NCMC, the Bulldogs are 5-4 against the Piratess. Mexico has also won the last three meetings against Boonville, the most recent a 28-7 victory in Boonville on 2016. The Pirates last win against Mexico came in 2013 by a score of 12-6.