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It’s a ‘Bigger Game’ for those who remain

Out of 342 Missouri High Schools that have football programs, only 84 still have their uniforms checked out. It’s a new season for each of those 84 teams with each game meaning the elimination of one of the two teams playing it. That number will be reduced to 52 tonight with the Class 1-4 sectionals being played at various sites around the state (Classes 5-6 and 8-man football will be played this Friday and Saturday).

The Farmington Knights, Ste. Genevieve Dragons and the Valle Warriors will be the three local teams that will be trying to advance to the next level of sate play tonight. Crystal City and Herculaneum, which are also from Mississippi Area Football Conference, will also be trying their hand at a sectional win.

The Farmington Knights will be playing in a Sectional Game for the first time since 1990. There may be those who say that the task might seem overwhelming since Farmington doesn’t know what its like to be in this new situation, but they might be forgetting that the Knights who will take the field at West Plains are this year’s team.

To the players, it is a little irrelevant of what teams have done in the past. Many of them are in their first year experience as a varsity player. Their objective is to go as far as they can this year, for right now, it is the only year that counts.

However, if it is experience that you are looking for, then look to their coach. Farmington coach John Bacon has been not only to sectional games before, but he has also coached five state championships in a row.

You can be sure that Coach Bacon has researched the West Plains Zizzers (6-4) very well and will have his team ready for the game. That was evident in last week’s North County game. If the Knights defense can put the clamps on the Zizzers like they did on the Raiders, then they will play again on Monday.

The key to tonight’s game for the Knights is to be resolved and play within themselves, protecting the football and playing their game. They have been doing that all year, and there’s no reason to suspect they won’t tonight. Big game: they’ve already been there – that’s experience.

Even though West Plains has he home field advantage, they might not have the home crowd advantage. West Plains athletic Director Jim Laughary, after talking on the phone to Farmington athletic director Pat Burns, stated, &#8220It sounds like the whole town (Farmington) is coming.”

The Ste. Genevieve on the other hand has made the play-offs an annual event, and with some regularity they have advanced beyond the first round. Coach Bob Stolzer always has players ready to play, and it should be no different tonight at Dexter.

Unlike Farmington, the Dragons are familiar with their opponent. Ste. Genevieve played Dexter in the first game of the season, which they won 12-7. Dexter barely made it into the play-offs with a 6-0 win over Perryville last Thursday. The Dragons beat Perryville 36-13, but they cannot take Dexter lightly. The play-offs are a one game at a time format. One loss and you are done.

That’s where, once again, their player’s experience is a plus for the Dragons. Dexter, 7-3, has made the play-offs 10 times, but the last time was in 2002. Those who played for the Dragons’ varsity last year are back to try again this year. They know what the big game is.

Valle, like Farmington, has not been to the play-offs in a little while (10 years). The Warriors, however, had to eliminate last year’s champion, St. Vincent, to get where they are now. First up for them tonight will be South Shelby (9-1), but the Warriors (8-2) have a big advantage that the Knights and Dragons do not have. Their big game will be at home.

There’s a good chance all three teams will advance to Monday’s quarterfinals if they play their game and remember, it’s a big game for the other team, too.

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