Nobody asked me but...kickoff 2006 is upon us for area high school football action.
Yes, there is a big smile on my face during this time of the year. Football has returned. You can't beat the atmosphere and electricity of Friday night high school football. The air is crisp and the grass...the grass smells better than any rose.
The Sikeston Bulldogs will entertain the Caruthersville Tigers to kickoff the season. It will be interesting to see if the Bulldogs can corral Tiger all-state running back Kendrickus Reed.
Last season, Reed complied over 2,100 rushing yards and ripped up the Bulldogs for over 200 yards on the ground and scored six touchdowns.
Sikeston is full of questions this season and one of the big questions on that list is defense.
Sikeston looked much improved at last week's jamboree in Perryville. The tailback position looks to be solid this season and the offense might loosen up from the smashmouth style of previous years.
Junior quarterback Chase Ferrell appears to be more comfortable behind center for the Bulldogs after a season under fire in his sophomore campaign.
The future appears brighter for Sikeston football but Caruthersville will out-
athlete the Bulldogs in Week 1 and leave town with a hard-fought victory.
* Charleston will host Kennett on Friday and the burning question for the Bluejays is can they forget the bitter taste of last season's disappointing finish? The loss to Crystal City in district play last season was hard to swallow for many Bluejay fans.
Charleston will have the athletes-galore led by receiver Jamarcus Williams and quarterback Justin Clark. Running back Joseph Watts looks for a fourth straight 1,000-yard season.
On paper Charleston looks formidable and should have a good season. The Bluejays will get off on the right foot with a win over an improving Kennett squad.
* The New Madrid County Central football team also looked impressive at the Perryville jamboree. The Eagles have a good mixture of experience and youth that will make for an entertaining year.
NMCC will face St. Pius X of Festus in Week 1 and I have no idea what the Eagles will be facing. Let's go with the area team and pick the Eagles to notch the opening victory.
* Paris Tipler will have a monster game against the Hayti Indians on his way to the Carr Trophy, as the Eagles will slip by Hayti and returning head coach David Gilmore.
If you are a fan of offensive football, I suggest you make the drive down to Hayti to see a offensive-minded game. The over/under is 80 points from the Vegas books (Just kidding. I would never support gambling on high school games...unless you know it is a sure bet).
* Dexter travels to Ste. Genevieve and will have a great chance to beat the Dragons, who will have to replace 21 of 22 starters from a season ago. Take the Bearcats and look for senior quarterback Josh Stevens to have a nice game.
* Head coach Rhonda Ratledge has her Kelly Lady Hawks softball team looking primed and ready for a deep run in the state tournament. Don't be surprised if the Lady Hawks bring home a state title.
Many area fans marvel at the playoff runs of the Charleston boys basketball teams. The Kelly softball program should also get some credit for producing some outstanding teams year in and year out.
* Kudos are due to Sikeston football and track and field coach Jerry Dement for his tireless efforts in getting improvements to Sapp Stadium a.k.a. Sikeston Public Schools Stadium. The entire complex is in incredible shape and the Sikeston community should be proud of the best facility in the area, if not the state.
And finally, nobody asked me but...after having an outpouring for a Mt. Rushmore of Sikeston track athletes (thanks mom for reading), here are the four that should go on the mount. Remember folks, high school accomplishments only.
George Woods - shot put and discus (1961)
Karlos Draper - 200 and 400 (1984)
Bryan Howard - long and triple jumps (1991)
Marshaun West - 200, 400 and long jump (1996)
Others that garnered serious consideration...
Dennis Snelling (1969)
Tim Duncan (1980)
Breon Gardner (1989)
and the lone girl on the list, Tina Collins (1992)