Boonville teams hit the ground running on opening day of fall sports

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
Boonville senior Chandler Stonecipher brushes up on his blocking during a drill Monday at Gene Reagan field. The Boonville Pirates football team had 60-plus student-athletes participate in the first day of practice under fourth year coach Greg Hough.
Boonville senior Rachel Massa throws to home during a drill Monday at Bill Simmons field at Rolling Hills park. Massa will be one of five starters returning for the Lady Pirates this fall under head coach Christie Zoeller.
Boonville sophomore Kylee Turner attempts to hit the ball over the net during a drill Monday in the Windsor gymnasium. The Boonville Lady Pirates volleyball team will return four starters this season under head coach Dina Herzog.
Boonville junior Emma Neidig hits a backhand during practice Tuesday at the high school tennis courts. Neidig qualified for state last year and is projected to be the No. 1 player for the Lady Pirates this season.
Boonville senior Austin Coleman works on directing the ball during a drill Monday at the Boonville City Soccer fields.
Members of the Boonville girls golf team get in some practice at the driving range during the first day of practice Monday at Hail Ridge Golf Course in Boonville.
The Boonville boys and girls cross-country team runs around the football field during practice Wednesday at the BHS Sports Complex.

Four Boonville teams hit the ground running early Monday morning on August 9, while three opted to go with an afternoon practice for the first day of the 2021 fall season.

The Boonville Pirates football team and the Lady Pirates softball and golf teams, and the boys and girls cross-country teams welcomed athletes bright and early on Monday, while the Boonville Pirates soccer team and Lady Pirates volleyball and tennis teams hit the playing field that afternoon or evening with their first practice of the season.

All in all, it was a good day to be a Pirate.

Boonville Pirates football coach Greg Hough welcome 60-plus athletes in grades 9-12 on Monday. With the team pretty much intact from the 2020 season, the Pirates look to pick up where they left off last fall after finishing 6-4 overall.

On the first day of practice, Hough said the team is still doing their workouts like they did in the summer so nothing was necessarily new to the kids. “It was a little bit different format chunked into smaller groups,” Hough said. “A couple of reasons to get in smaller groups-one for COVID for tracking purposes, and then two we kind of know where our kids are at. We can move forward and do more team activities that kids need to work on with fundamentals and things like that.”

With a good July with multiple camps, Hough said he feels like the Pirates are ahead of the game. He said the players can do the stuff that the coaching staff is asking them to do right now, which is a positive.

“We’re trying to get in as many reps as we feel like we have to,” Hough said. “We’re going to be talented, but we definitely have to improve on things we can control, which is physically and mentally. We also have some guys stepping up and doing a good job with the offensive line, and then skill-wise, like I said, we had some guys missing through July camp, so we got a lot of kids reps. Whenever you can do that, where a kid might be three on the depth chart, he can still run with the ones and be successful is a good thing.”

The Pirates will don pads for the first time on Saturday from 8-10 a.m. Hough said it’s all going to be a lot of team activities on that day.

The Boonville Pirates football team will participate in a five team jamboree on Friday, August 20 at Moberly. Moberly Athletic Director Curtis Walk said teams participating in the jamboree are Moberly, Boonville, Centralia, Chillicothe and Hallsville.

Boonville will kick off the season the following week on Friday, August 27 at Pleasant Hill, starting at 7 p.m.

As for the Boonville Lady Pirates softball team, they return the bulk of their lineup as well after finishing 12-12 overall in 2020.

Boonville softball coach Christie Zoeller said 20 girls in grades 9-12 participated in a four-hour practice from 6-10 a.m. on Monday.

“We had a very successful first two days of practice,” Zoeller said. “We have been working a lot on fundamentals and situations. We have also been taking a lot of repetitions with ground balls and swinging the bat. We’ve worked small competitions into each practice to promote a little friendly competition. The girls have come out and worked hard each day.”

Like the Pirates football team, the Boonville Lady Pirates softball team will participate in a jamboree on Saturday, August 21 at Rock Bridge. The Lady Pirates will play Battle at 10:45 a.m. and Rock Bridge at 11:15 a.m.

Boonville will open the 2021 season on Saturday, August 28 in the Lady Pirate Lead Off Classic at Bill Simmons field and Boonville High School field.

The Boonville Lady Pirates golf team also had a busy day on Monday despite the scorching heat at Hail Ridge Golf Course.

Boonville golf coach Rob VanderLinden said 10 girls took part in the first practice, which consisted of chipping, putting and hitting balls on the range.

“We’re working for 20-25 minutes and then go in and take a break because of the heat,” VanderLinden said. “We had a lot of girls play in tournaments and matches over the summer and helped out with the young program, so they’ve stayed involved, but we’re just getting back into the swing of things and getting ready for three weeks from now when we have our first tournament.”

VanderLinden added that he will start doing evaluation and qualifying matches later in the week. “We’re hoping to get five qualifiers in before the first match and that always determines who’s varsity and who’s JV,” VanderLinden said.

Boonville cross-country coach Melissa Baker also tried to beat the heat with practice in the morning at Kemper park.

With seven runners at practice each day, Baker said there are also four that are dual sport athletes running on their own.

“We’ve had a good few days of practice,” Baker said. “The team has worked hard. We ran the campus here at BHS and then we hit the Katy Trail on Tuesday for a four mile run. We’ve also been getting in the weight room after we run. We will continue to build a base and get ready for our first meet at the end of this month.”

Boonville will open its cross-country season on August 31 at Salisbury, starting at 4 p.m.

Boonville first year soccer coach Alec Adair welcomed 19 to the pitch on the first day of practice on Monday. With more than half of the lineup returning from last fall, Adair said he will use the first week of practice to work on building the family environment.

“I think that’s something that kind of fell through the cracks the past few years,” Adair said. “I feel like it’s something you always need to work on. If you do that through practices when they get on the field, they’re going to love it. They’re going to love playing for each other, playing for me, playing for Coach Brackman and Coach Samuels.”

Although Adair coached three games last fall, he said the first week is all about getting touches on the ball and of course playing soccer. “We’ll work them into shape through fundamentals, and then start piecing it together from there.”

The Boonville Pirates soccer team will host the Clinton Cardinals in the season opener on Tuesday, August 31 at the Boonville City Soccer Park, starting at 5 p.m.

As for the Boonville Lady Pirates volleyball team, they went through a two-hour workout in the Windsor gymnasium under the watchful eye of head coach Dina Herzog and assistant coaches Joedi Herzog and Brittney Lowe.

With 26 girls participating in the first practice, Herzog said the girls did well.

“We worked on fundamentals, leadership roles and finding individual strengths that will contribute to our team’s success,” Herzog said, “and of course conditioning. “We’ve got an enthusiastic group of freshmen who have been at the two weeks of camp when I had open gyms. They’re pushing some of the sophomores, juniors and seniors, so I couldn’t ask more from the freshmen group, and the sophomores, juniors and seniors are all fighting for a spot to be on the team. During the second camp we talked to them about where they would be if I was putting a lineup together tomorrow. I told them we still have 14-15 practices to get where they wanted to be.”

The Boonville volleyball team will participate in a jamboree on August 24 at Centralia, starting at 5 p.m. The season opener is scheduled for Tuesday, August 31 at Southern Boone at 5 p.m.

As for the Boonville Lady Pirates tennis team, they hit the hardcourts Monday evening with 14 girls taking part in drills under the supervision of head coach Melissa Harvey.

Harvey said due to the heat the girls have practiced inside for most of the practice and then move outside for the last 45 minutes or so. “Inside we work on fundamentals, footwork and strengthening drills,” Harvey said. “We have been working on the basics all summer long with these ladies, so in the next few days we are going to quickly start moving into more advanced skills and game play strategies. Next week we will also start evaluation rounds and the following week we will start challenge matches to get a lineup set for our first match.”

The Boonville girls tennis team will open the 2021 season on Monday, August 30 at home against the Mexico Bulldogs at 4 p.m.