Having just made a huge statement in the North Central Missouri Conference by winning at Hannibal last week 28-14, the Mexico varsity football team, 3-1 overall, is now preparing to host Boonville, 2-2 overall, on Friday.
While losing this game could cause the Bulldogs to lose ground in the race for the league title, this weekend is also Homecoming, all of which could be a recipe for disaster and mayhem if not properly managed.
"Homecoming is a great time for the school and alumni that come back to celebrate. Homecoming can become a distraction mainly off the field," said coach Steve Haag. "We have to push the distractions behind us Friday and focus on football. The most important part of homecoming is winning the football game. This will not be an easy task with a good Boonville team coming to town."
When it comes to common opponents, the Pirates lost at home to Hannibal 26-7 on Sept. 1. The squad also got beat 30-15 at home by Eldon to start the season, but since then has stood up and knocked down Holden 23-19 on the road on Aug. 25 and Father Tolton 27-17 at home last Friday according to maxpreps.com.
"Defensively they play a version of a 3-4. They will probably walk up their linebackers on the edge since we are a run team. Up front they are very good, and we are going to have to stay on blocks to be successful," Haag said. "Their quarterback Malik Brazil is also a very good athlete who is getting better each week and throwing the ball. Offensively they do a good job of keeping defenses off balance, and we must ready for both run and pass."
The other weapon for Boonville that Haag mentioned was running back Avian Thomas. Currently he has 79 carries for 497 yards and six scores, making it a necessity that Mexico be aware of where he is on every play
The Bulldogs counter for all this talent is an intricate web of strategy and design that Haag isn't quick to share with just anybody. What we do know is that this team has several two-way threats who love to break big plays. This includes Cameron Holman, who has 43 carries for 230 yards and four touchdowns and five catches for 89 yards and two scores. Jasean White also has two kickoff returns for 55 yards, a four-yard punt return, two tackles and one interception for Mexico.
"Cameron is an explosive player that has done a great job in all phases of the game (offense, defense, special teams)," said Haag. "Defensively he has had a great start with 40 tackles and two interceptions. Jasean is getting better each week. Last week he had a really good game offensively and continues to be solid on defense. Both players bring experience and speed to the field that helps us tremendously."
After this game the Bulldogs are at Centralia on Sept. 22 in non-conference action that is sure to be physical, especially along both offensive and defensive lines.