Host the Pleasant Hill Roosters tonight in season opener at Gene Reagan field
It’s no secret that the Boonville Pirates football team is ready to turn the chapter after 10 seasons in the NCMC.
Although the Pirates finished four games under .500 during that stretch at 50-54 overall, they were two games above .500 in league play at 31-29.
But enough about the past. This season, Boonville will join the Tri-County Conference with Blair Oaks, Eldon, Southern Boone, California, Hallsville, Versailles and School of the Osage.
The Pirates will also begin the 2018 season with a new coach at the helm in former Lexington standout Greg Hough. After two years as Marceline and 10 years before that at Carrollton, Hough is ready to usher in a new era as the Boonville skipper.
With 65 players suited out for the 2018 season, seven returning on the offensive side of the ball and six back on defense, the Pirates will also try to improve on last year’s record after finishing 5-5 overall and 3-3 in the NCMC.
Boonville will kick off the 2018 season tonight against the Pleasant Hill Roosters starting at 7 p.m.
ON THE PLEASANT HILL ROOSTERS
Hough said coming from an old MRVC guy, the Pleasant Hill Roosters have been traditionally good over the years.
“Pleasant Hill was my first game ever as a coach at Carrollton,” Hough said. “But from an old MRVC guy, Pleasant Hill has been a team that has traditionally been good over the years. They return their quarterback, who is a good player. Just watching film from last year’s game, he hurt Boonville when he got out of the pocket. They also return their wide receiver and running back while graduating their four offensive linemen. I’m excited to get started. I feel there is a true buy in from the kids and I am so proud of what these kids have done. I really hope for our kids that we come out and play well and be successful.”
HOUGH SAYS BLAIR OAKS IS THE TEAM TO BEAT IN THE TCC
After losing to the Maryville Spoofhounds in the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs last year 49-20, the Blair Oaks Falcons appear ready to fly their wings once again in 2018.
Although the Falcons will have a new coach calling the shots this season, Hough said with what they return they are the team to beat in the TCC.
“I would say Blair Oaks based on what they return,” Hough said, “but a lot of my focus has been on us. I feel like if we don’t have our kids prepared physically and mentally it doesn’t matter what Blair Oaks does, Versailles, Eldon etc. From top to bottom I think the conference will be very competitive. Each week is going to be a new challenge but we’ll try to fix things as we go and try to improve each week as well.”
WHAT WILL BE THE PIRATES LOOK LIKE OFFENSIVELY
If you ask Hough, the Pirates will run multiple personnel groups and multiple formations this season.
With more returning players on the offensive side of the ball this season, Hough said the Pirates will have their core plays that they will run but will run out of a whole bunch of different looks.
“We will get under center as well,” Hough said. “If you look at what we do it’s old school football just with a lot of the new school twist. For every play call that we have there are actually three play calls. We have the run call, the quarterback run read and the screen option or pass option. We always want to put our kids in positive situations where we are plus four every play. I feel like if you get 4 yards each play you get first downs. We will chunk, we will screen game a lot with wide receiver screens, H screens, middle screens, outside screens and also our passing game. Right now what is best with us is our rollout stuff just because we want to stay clean and make our reads very easy. If we can control the football on the offensive side, that’s good football.”
Hough said in this offense multiple kids can also touch the ball and multiple kids can do things. He said you will see multiple kids lineup all over the place.
As for balance between run and pass, Hough said balance would be fantastic but every play the coaching staff calls will have pass option.
FERRARI TO LEAD THE SHOW AT QB
After putting in his time the last two seasons on the JV team at quarterback, Hough has named junior Nick Ferrari as the QB for Friday night’s game against Pleasant Hill.
While playing behind both Kole Ficken and Malik Brazil last year at the QB position, Hough said Ferrari isn’t the type of signal caller who will take shots down field but will be very, very good at 30 and below.
“Nick is really good on the intermediate routes and the quick game,” Hough said. “He has a quick release, especially in some of our screen packages. He can also look one way and give a head and shoulder fake and then bam flip his hips and stop and throw the other way with some nice velocity. There will be some growing pains no doubt but he seems to be a very, very smart kid.”
Freshman Treveon Coleman could also get some reps at QB this season but his main role will be to play at wide receiver.
Hough also mentioned freshman Jamesian McKee as having a huge upside at quarterback.
Hough said McKee will be playing some with the younger guys at the JV level. “Jamesian wants to play wide receiver but if you look at the depth chart and who we have there, I just thought it would be better if he stayed at QB,” Hough said. “However he has a huge upside. He is only going to get bigger, but I see him as a kid that has a future at QB and if not there he is a good enough athlete to play wide receiver.”
HOUGH HAS PLENTY OF RUNNING BACKS
Before going down last year against Mexico in Week 5, Boonville junior running back Avian Thomas was having a breakout year with 519 yards on 89 carries with six touchdowns.
Although Thomas will still be the main back this season for the Pirates, Hough said seniors Landon Weaver and Brandon Johnson will also touch the ball in a two fullback set.
“For the most part we will be a one back set,” Hough said, “but we will also do some stuff with two back set with Weaver. I know what Avian can do and I truly believe he is a next level kid if he works hard and stays humble. As for Weaver, he can run a lot of the same stuff as Avian, especially between the tackles. We will also use Johnson in that position. I call him a glorified guard but we will throw him the ball and get him the ball in some run game stuff.”
Other players that could see time at running back this season are sophomores Andrew Wiser and Spencer Steakley and freshman DaWan Lomax.
Hough said the running back position this season is definitely like a thunder and lightning combination. “They are all different,” Hough said. “They can run the inside zone, the counter and the trap. The goal is to get the ball in space and let our kids go.”
PIRATES WILL HAVE SPEED TO BURN AT RECEIVER
The wide receiver position could be without a doubt the fastest group in the TCC.
Although the Pirates finished with only 829 yards in the passing game last year, Hough said there are a bunch of players with both talent and speed.
Johnson, a two-year starter at tight end, led the Pirates in receiving yards last year with 16 catches for 288 yards and one touchdown. After that, junior Tramell Coleman returns after hauling in five catches for 53 yards while senior Malik Brazil had two catches for 11 yards.
Hough said Brazil, who moved from quarterback to running back to receiver last year, has improved tremendously throughout the summer.
“Malik can play the inside slot along with Treveon Coleman,” Hough said. “Treveon is probably one of the most talented freshman that I have ever been around. What is good about him beside being talented is that his work ethic and his mental mind set are what separates him from other freshman. I feel like that kid is one of the hardest workers on the team. He brings it every single day. He also has a very good football IQ. He is going to have his growing pains, but I would go to war with that man. His attitude and effort is always fantastic and he will make some big plays for us this season.”
Hough said Treveon Coleman will be complimented on the outside by senior Trae Williams, a first year player. Hough said Williams has track star speed and is getting used to the physicality of football.
“Trae is going to be kind of the sleeping giant and Malik can be that to because you talk about Tramell on the other side,” Hough said. “Tramell is another Saturday player in my opinion. When that young man is focused and his effort is high, he is probably one of the best wide receivers in this area and I say that most all-around wide receivers.”
Hough also mentioned sophomore Lane West as a backup to Brandon Johnson at tight end.
THE PLAYERS IN THE TRENCHES
While losing all five players across the line to graduation last year, the Pirates will definitely be young and inexperienced in the trenches. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t talent on the offensive line.
Hough said seniors Dylan Watson and Dalton Williams will play the left side of the line at tackle and guard, respectively. Junior Brady Stock, meanwhile, will get the starting nod at center with the right side consisting of junior Greyson Mesik at guard and seniors Sean White and Andrew Pefferman rotating in at tackle.
“We’ll have a lot of first year starters on the offensive line,” Hough said. “Our success will depend on them. If we’re successful, they’re successful but we still have some work to do there. I think we will also have some decent depth on the line. Freshman Peyton Hahn will be a backup at center and senior Bryant Davis can play guard. We will have one guy for each spot as a backup.”
The Boonville Pirates football team will base its defense out of a 4-2-5 this season.
Hough said this is going to be a bend but don’t break defense at times.
“We hope to create a lot of turnovers,” Hough said. “We just want to play fast. It’s a very simple defense but it’s also a very aggressive defense. We want our kids to make good reads, play with good fundamentals and play with good technique and of course get to the football.”
JOHNSON TO LEAD THE LINE AT DE
The Pirates will have plenty of star power at the defensive end position this season in seniors Brandon Johnson and Dylan Watson.
Although Johnson is switching from linebacker to defensive end this season, he does so after finishing second on the team in tackles last year. A unanimous all-conference and all-district selection in 2017, Johnson finished the season with 53 solo stops and 41 assisted tackles for a total of 94. He also had a team-leading 11 tackles for losses.
As for Watson, he finished the season with 26 total tackles in his first year of football while playing the safety position.
“Brandon is putting his hand down on the ground this year,” Hough said. “There is nobody on our team that wants to play against him. I don’t know what his upside is by the end of the year, but he is a kid on the radar right now with a bunch of Division II schools. As for Dylan, he will play whip or the weakside and has a great first step. Greyson Mesik will also play outside and has a high motor. He can also play inside technique as well.”
As for the interior of the line, Hough will look to seniors Dalton Williams and Andrew Pefferman, juniors Alan McCarter and James Dorman, sophomore Gage Offineer and freshman Peyton Hahn.
Hough said Williams has a super high motor and plays low at pad level. As for Big Al, Hough said he will play the one technique and is another big, strong kid. “All of these kids are 100 percent full go,” Hough said. “Peyton has impressed us on the scout team while Dorman may be a bit undersized at DL but has good athletic ability.”
Hough said the Pirates will have four really good players at inside linebacker this season in senior Landon Weaver, sophomores Lane West and Harper Stock and freshman DJ Wesolak.
However of the four, only Weaver saw any real playing time last year at linebacker while finishing with 46 tackles.
On the outside, junior Josh Polk returns after finishing the 2017 season with 84 tackles, eight tackles for losses, four fumble recoveries and three interceptions. Polk was also a second team at large player in the NCMC. Playing opposite of him is junior Peyton Keeran.
Hough said Steakley is another player that could play on the outside.
The secondary is another area with several returning starters from last year.
Senior Carson Campbell returns for his third season at cornerback, where he finished with 31 tackles, one interception and one tackle for a loss. Tramell Coleman also returns at safety with 40 tackles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Hough said Trae Williams will play opposite of Campbell at corner, with Treveon Coleman, Hunter Pethan and Russell Potter as backups.
“We are going to be a zone team, man team and make sure we communicate and just play hard,” Hough said. “Again, we want to play hard, play fast.”
Senior Hayden Potter and juniors Will Rehagen and Sarah Miller are all battling for the kick off and PAT duties while Landon Weaver will handle the punting duties for the Pirates.
Aug. 24-PLEASANT HILL, 7:00
Aug. 31-HOLDEN, 7:00
Sept. 7-at Blair Oaks, 7:00
Sept. 14-CALIFORNIA, 7:00
Sept. 21-at Osage, 7:00
Sept. 28-at Versailles, 7:00
Oct. 5-ELDON, 7:00
Oct. 12-at Hallsville, 7:00
Oct. 19-SOUTHERN BOONE, 7:00
Oct. 26-Districts, TBA
Note: Home games in caps.
(5-5 overall, 3-3 NCMC)
Eldon 30, Boonville 15
Boonville 23, Holden 19
Hannibal 26, Boonville 7
Boonville 27, Father Tolton 17
Boonville 24, Mexico 21
Kirksville 27, Boonville 6
Boonville 28, Fulton 24
Moberly 41, Boonville 7
Boonville 36, Marshall 22
Pleasant Hill 43, Boonville 7