Will host the California Pintos Friday night at Gene Reagan field
After facing what head coach Greg Hough called a gauntlet for the first three games of the season, the Boonville Pirates football team knows it won’t get any easier Friday night against the California Pintos on Homecoming.
Although the Pintos come in at 0-3 overall and 0-1 in the Tri-County Conference, Hough said it’s also been a roller coaster for Boonville the first three weeks.
Like California, the Pirates dropped their opening game in the TCC last week losing to No. 2 ranked Blair Oaks 31-0. The Pintos fell to School of the Osage by a score of 13-7.
“I’m not going to lie, the first-three weeks were very tough,” Hough said. “The first week was very humbling because we felt like we were prepared through the summer and stuff like that and excited about what things came on and how things were going and then Week 2 we kind of seen some flashes of our ability. That was fun to see and then in Week 3 we faced one of the best teams in the state and had terrible conditions. Again you see flashes of being really good and then you see flashes of self-inflicted wounds and lack of discipline and things like that.”
Hough said he feels like now is the time that the coaches have to make sure that they are doing the right thing scheme-wise such as getting the right kids on the field.
With constant adjustments being made every week, Hough said California is no different when it comes to the type of offense and defense they run.
“Offensively the last two games they’ve had 11 guys within the box, double tight set with a wing and then there is a fullback sniffer,” Hough said. “They also run out of the shotgun with their quarterback and running back side by side so it’s kind of one of those old school looks where Friday night there potentially at times could be 22 guys within about a tight end to tight end area. It’s going to be a very physical game. We just have to read our keys and be disciplined and be ready to play a very physical game.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Hough said the Pirates haven’t really seen a team that does anything like California. He said the last two weeks opponents have been double tight like a fullhouse type backfield so how the Pintos react to the spread concept and multiple formations they really don’t know.
“It kind of looks like they base out of a 3-3 stack so that’s what we have seen the last couple of weeks,” Hough said. “Some teams have been successful at stopping some of the things we do out of the 3-3 stack. Last week Blair Oaks ran a 3-3 stack with two linebackers right behind the three up front so they had eight guys in the box just because of the weather. I expect to see something in an odd front, which let’s them be able to stay balanced and to defend our formations.”
Hough said the Pintos are also big when you look at personnel, especially on the defensive line. And then to top it off, he said California two platoons some players from their offense and defense so there is going to be some fresh bodies coming in and out all the time.
“The linebackers want to get to the football and then the secondary consist of wide receivers so we feel like if we do us and get the ball out in space and maintain our blocks and do things like we hope, we could have some success.”
Although the Pirates have been shutout by their opponents in two of the last three games, they also put up 41 points on the board in Week 2 against the Holden Eagles.
As for California, they have also played up while opening the season with a 55-7 loss against Warrensburg and a 22-15 setback in Week 2 against Mexico.
Hough said he feels the Pirates have to eliminate the self-inflicted wounds Friday night against the Pintos.
“That’s the biggest thing with us,” Hough said. “The game of football is 48 minutes long and if you have a bad three minutes the game can change really fast. That’s been a proven point for us multiple times this year. It happened Week 1 in the Pleasant Hill game, where we had a couple of possession in a row of bad football and all of a sudden the game is over. The same thing happened Friday night at Blair Oaks, where we had about a three minute timespan where we didn’t play very good football and had some self-inflicted wounds and the game was over so we have to eliminate those bad plays.”
Despite being out-gained by Blair Oaks 394-95, Hough said he felt like there were times where the Pirates played good football. It’s just that 20 percent that keeps coming up and haunting Boonville, he said.
“It’s the small things that you are going to hear every single week,” Hough said. “We have to protect the football offensively, sustain drives and when we get opportunities to make plays we have to do it. I feel like this week there is going to be some opportunities for some individuals to shine.”
At 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the TCC, Hough said he feels like the offensive line plays has probably improved the most out of any of the units. He said from Week 1 to Week 3 the offensive line has played really well.
“Blair Oaks was putting eight guys in the box and we were blocking the first and second level guys,” Hough said. “It was actually the two safeties that were coming down and making a lot of plays in the hole and stuff like that. It just wasn’t our style of game and lucky it wasn’t Blair oaks, either, but they were just better than us. We’ve all seen flashes of how good this team can really be. Luckily I feel like the things that are keeping us away from being great or even at this point being successful on the scoreboard is just lack of focus. I feel like we are getting kids in the right situation defensively, we are just missing some tackles. We are making alignment and assignment mistakes. Mentally and physically we just have to get there.”
Hough said he also noticed a difference in the players this week. With this being Homecoming this week, Hough said California to him is kind of a natural rivalry.
“It seems like I have heard more talk from the kids this week about discussions with California kids and stuff like that,” Hough said. “I am a little new to it so I just ride with it. Homecoming and a lot of extra stuff is going on and I call it extra because the most important thing this week is the football game. There is a lot of work that goes into everything and it’s much appreciated but at the end of the day the most important thing is the football game so we have to keep our focus there and we hope to perform well.”
As for Homecoming, Hough said it’s great for school spirit and bringing the community together. He said he is one of those coaches that it doesn’t bother him but he still has to make sure the kids are focused on what coach Hough gets paid to do.
“I get paid to get these kids prepared for football games,” Hough said. “I think it’s great, I think it’s exciting to see people come back for Homecoming; the parade to have all of the little kids and stuff involved. But at the end of the day if we are not trying to win on Friday night, we are in the wrong place.”
Hough said this is another big conference game for the Pirates. He said there is one team at the top and nobody disputes that.
“Blair Oaks to me is head and shoulders above everybody else right now and honestly the rest is up for grabs and that makes it fun and exciting,” Hough said. “You kind of hope we would be a little more even at the top so that people can really fight and battle for a championship, but there is going to be some great football games the next couple of weeks. It’s going to keep everybody focused. But I will say this 100 times and I say it to our kids, it doesn’t matter who we play on Friday night if we don’t handle our business we are not going to be successful.”
Blair Oaks 1-0 3-0
Eldon 1-0 3-0
Osage 1-0 2-1
Versailles 1-0 2-1
So. Boone 0-1 2-1
Boonville 0-1 1-2
Hallsville 0-1 0-3
California 0-1 0-3
Friday, Sept. 14
California at Boonville
Osage at Hallsville
Eldon at So. Boone
Versailles at Blair Oaks
Friday, Sept. 21
Boonville at Osage
Friday, Sept. 28
Boonville at Versailles
Odessa 3-0 48
Pleasant Hill 3-0 46.33
Pembroke Hill 3-0 45.67
Hogan Prep 2-1 44.33
Center 2-1 41.33
Boonville 1-2 27.33
Southeast 0-3 22
Oak Grove 0-3 15.33
Friday, Sept. 14
California at Boonville
Grandview at Pleasant Hill
Bishop Ward at Pembroke Hill
East KC at Oak Grove
Hogan Prep at Southeast
Van Horn at Center
Saturday, Sept. 15
Central Academy at Odessa