The formula to success is pretty easy this week for the Boonville Pirates football team.
Win Friday night on the road against Southern Boone and move up as the No. 3 seed in the Class 3 District 7 playoffs. Lose and finish as the No. 4 seed with a likely matchup against fifth-seeded Oak Grove.
The Pirates and Eagles are both identical at 6-2 overall and 4-2 in the Tri-County Conference. The two teams have also dropped the same games this season, losing to the Blair Oaks Falcons and Hallsville Indians.
Of course the district standings isn’t the only thing up for grabs on Friday. If Boonville wins Friday night, they will finish third in the TCC. However if the Pirates drop their second straight game, they will place fourth.
1. Can the Pirates stop Southern Boone’s duel threat quarterback?
For the last-two weeks, Boonville has had a hard time stopping the run while giving up over 600 yards on the ground.
Boonville Pirates football coach Greg Hough said the Eagles run the option very similar to what Hallsville runs.
“They have the ability to pass a little bit more,” Hough said. “It’s kind of a true offense, where we have to stop the run and pass. They are pretty big up front on the offensive line, so we’ll have to win in the trenches offensively and defensively. As for the defense, they are going to blitz a lot so that will put a lot of pressure on our offensive line. We just have to get the ball in the hands of our playmakers and see what they can do in space.”
2. Can Boonville move the ball against Southern’s Boone defense?
Hough said first the Pirates have to win in the trenches. He said last week against Hallsville the Pirates got physically and mentally beat by the Indians.
“Statiscally they are probably the best run defense in the conference and we challenged that and they answered the ball,” Hough said of Hallsville. “We had some things that we could do Xs and Os on paper, but at the end of the day the jimmys and joes are the ones that have to get it done and we didn’t get it done. Big game is how we respond.”
3. Boonville looks to avenge last year’s loss against Southern Boone. Can they do it Friday night on the road?
Only time will tell. The losses are very similar this season for Boonville and Southern Boone. While the Pirates lost to Blair Oaks 38-21, Southern Boone fell to the Falcons 40-0. As for the game against Hallsville, the Pirates fell last week 27-14 while Southern Boone lost to the Indians 33-21.
Also something else to watch, the Eagles barely squeaked by California last week 21-14 while Boonville beat the Pintos 48-7 in Week 4.
4. Will the Pirates be up for the challenge on a grass field?
So far this season, Boonville is 2-0 on grass fields and 4-2 on turf fields.
That could be good and bad for the Pirates, who rely on their run game on offense. Of course the Eagles are also a run first, pass second offense.
This game will more than likely come down to the fourth quarter. The old saying that the team that commits the fewest mistakes will be the winner.
5. Can the Pirates bounce back after the loss against Hallsville?
Coach Hough called this week’s game the Super Bowl for the Pirates. While attention to detail has been the emphasis this week in practice, Hough said the main thing is that his team just has to be themselves.
“Attitude and effort is what I want to see,” Hough said. “If we do what we are capable of I think we can be successful, but if we do our own thing and don’t pay attention to detail, we’ll get beat.”
Either way, the Pirates will host a first-round playoff game in the district as the No. 3 seed or a No. 4 seed.