When the Missouri Military Academy varsity football team steps on the field Friday in Class 3, District 6, action, they'll be doing so at Blair Oaks.
The reason that could be a problem for the Fighting Colonel's is that it hosts went undefeated with a record of 9-0 overall this season. The Falcons have also won 20 of their last 21 games and this year boast a roster that runs 120 players deep according to maxpreps.com
MMA, on the other hand, doesn't rank high in ay of those categories after going 1-8 overall in 2017, not participating in the postseason in 2016 and forfeiting to Centralia in the first round of the season-ending championship tournament in 2015. The Colonels also are currently listing 21 available players among its ranks, but injuries and other factors have forced this team to work with less than that at various points during the regular season.
"We didn't play in the post-season last year," said coach Mitchell Jenkins. "In order to grow, and get our program where we want it to go, we have to learn how far the gap is between us, and programs like Blair Oaks, and figure out how to start closing the gap. I am excited by the challenge. While our roster is down to 16, and they will dress north of 60, we plan on giving them everything we have, and let the chips fall where they may."
Anyone who has seen MMA in person knows they're much better than its numbers might suggest because of how the team performed before Pedro da Rocha became the starting quarterback. That being said, if this squad simply meets its averages in this contest it'll have 74 passing yards and 111 rushing yards for 185 total yards, none of which will be enough to even begin to mount any kind of comeback.
"Our team is competing. Thats the thing I'm most proud of, is that we compete every down," said Jenkins. "I'd like to improve our execution in every aspect of the game. We are playing with many young players. While gifted, they lack Friday Night experience. This will be a great test for them."
Last week Da rocha left the game in the fourth quarter against Central Homeschool. As long as he's good to go this week he'll be looking to build on the 573 passing yards and 300 rushing yards he piled up in the regular season with eight touchdowns and nine interceptions. Styles Fountain also had a good game last week that included a touchdown to give him 36 carries for 189 rushing yards and 10 receptions for 274 yards in 2017.
Matt Thibodeaux and Wrayvous Givens could also end up being given a chance to shine for the Colonels. It just depends on factors such as Blair Oaks being ranked 42nd in the state and 1,789th in the nation by maxpreps.com.
"Blair Oaks is very balanced. They are ranked second in class 3. They don't appear to have a weakness," Jenkins said. "I am familiar with Blair Oaks on reputation alone, but have only coached in a couple JV games vs them. Having coached in this area for 16 years, I know Blair Oaks is always in the hunt for state championships."
In the 2016 MSHSAA tourney the Falcons eliminated Fulton 42-6 on Oct. 28 and Southern Boone 56-35 on Nov. 4 before losing to McCluer South-Berkeley 34-10.