Friday’s Class 4/District 13 trip to Kirksville to end the season

In case you aren’t aware of the fact by now, there will be no third consecutive football playoff appearance for the Mexico Bulldogs this fall.
Setbacks at the hands of NCMC rivals Moberly (close) and Hannibal (not so close) settled that issue the past two weeks, giving Devin Brown a different kind of challenge as he prepares his squad for Friday’s Class 4/District 13 trip to Kirksville (another league foe) to end the season.
“The guys know both teams will be playing not to finish last in our district, so I hope that will be extra motivation for them,” the third-year Mexico High School head coach said Wednesday. “It would be nice to finish the season with a win.”
A victory would give Brown’s Bulldogs a varsity record of 5-5 overall and 3-3 conference, surpassing the four wins they posted in each of his two previous regular seasons.
Despite again having fewer numbers to work with than he’d like, a 5-5 finish would leave returning Bulldogs something to hang their hats on for 2011.
“Have we made progress building a program? It depends on how you look at it,” he noted. “The program was really down when I took over and this year we’ve had some close losses we didn’t have in our two playoff years.
“Football is a tough sport to build a program in. It takes a lot of work and kids know I demand that from them,” he added.
Like Mexico, Kirksville has had its ups and downs, more of the latter as indicated by the Tigers’ record of 3-6/1-4. While state-ranked Hannibal dispatched the Bulldogs 45-0 last week, Moberly (like Hannibal assured of a playoff berth) knocked off Kirksville 35-21.
“We’ve been getting beat on the run the last couple of games and that’s something we’ve got to do a better job of defending,” the MHS coach said. The Bulldogs have scored 235 points and allowed 193, while Kirksville’s numbers going into its Senior Night are 129 for and 258 against.
“We’ve got to control the run and control the tempo of the game,” Brown added. “We’ve got to continue to clean up our penalty act also.”