Boonville junior linebacker Harper Stock has been one of many bright spots this season for the Boonville Pirates football team.
Although the Pirates came up short last Friday on the road against Southern Boone 32-21, Stock said he thought the team played a really good game the first quarter but then weren’t playing to the level they should have been in the second half.
“We kind of thought that we had the game given to us in the first quarter and then it all went down hill from there because everybody thought it wasn't going to be that bad, so we kind of quit playing as a team,” Stock said.
Stock did his part for the Pirates with 13 total tackles along with two tackles for loss and one quarterback sack.
The loss dropped Boonville to 6-3 overall and 4-3 in the Tri-County Conference behind Blair Oaks, Hallsville and Southern Boonville.
Boonville finished second last year in a two-way tie with Southern Boonville at 5-2 in the conference.
As for the play of Stock, Boonville Pirates football coach Greg Hough said Harper has grown as the year has gone on.
“This is Harper’s first year of playing varsity football,” Hough said. “He has made many sacrifices for his team this year. He made a number/position change and has learned offensive line and has played weeks now with a shoulder injury. He is a wrecking ball out there and he sacrifices his body each week  and leaves it all on the field. His success this year is only a small portion to what he can achieve in the future if he continues to work on improving his strength and skills.”
Through nine games, Stock is the leading tackler for Boonville with 111 tackles (60 solos/51 assists) along with 13 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and one fumble recovery.
Stock also knows the Pirates will have a tough task against 4-5 Oak Grove in the opening round of the district playoffs Friday night at Gene Reagan field.
Boonville finished fourth in the Class 3 District 7 standings with 34.5 points while Odessa finished fourth with 34.44 points.
The Panthers improved to 4-5 on the season Friday night with a 20-14 win over the Warrensburg Tigers.
Despite the five losses, Oak Grove has fallen to some pretty good teams while losing to Blair Oaks 44-21, Center 41-10, Odessa 42-10, Excelsior Springs 35-22 and Harrisonville 20-17.
Blair Oaks, Center and Odessa are all Class 3 teams while Excelsior Springs and Harrisonville are both in Class 4.
Hough said Oak Grove is good.
“We will be the underdog in that game for sure even if we are the 4 seed,” Hough said. “We will have to prove ourselves. It's like I tell the kids its a fight or flight situation. Our backs are against the wall. Not everything is peachy and great right now. Everybody loves a winner so when things get tough people want to fight or flight. We're fighters and we are going to work hard as a coaching staff and we have some kids that will work hard and hopefully we will figure out hard to stop this bleeding.”
Odessa finished first in the district with a perfect record of 9-0, followed by Center at 8-1, Southern Boone at 7-2, Boonville at 6-3, Oak Grove at 4-5, St. Michael the archangel at 3-6 and Pleasant Hill and Clinton each at 0-9.
In other matchups on Friday, Odessa will host Clinton while Center will entertain Pleasant Hill. Southern Boone will also host St. Michael the archangel in the opening round of the district playoffs.
The winners will advance to the semifinal round of the district playoffs on Friday, Nov. 8.