EAST PRAIRIE -- It's business as usual for the East Prairie Eagles despite the loss of all-state running back Paris Tipler, who left the team following the season opener.
"We're a different team now than what we were, but I'm proud of the kids, the way they've battled through adversity," said East Prairie coach Cory Adkisson. "The kids have really rallied around each other. We told them that no one player is greater than the team and I think we're even more of a team now."
The Eagles, winless in two games, seek to get in the win column against visiting Scott City tonight.
"They're hungry and I know they're going to be looking for a win," said Scott City coach Terry Flannigan. "Anytime Scott City and East Prairie hook it up, it's going to be a battle."
Last week's final score, a 35-13 East Prairie loss to Corning (Ark.), may be a bit deceiving. The Eagles trailed by only one point at 14-13 going into the fourth quarter.
"We just couldn't punch it in," said Adkisson. "We were in the red zone twice, once right before the half and again at the end of the game and we just ran out of time."
The Eagles still have weapons on offense in tailback M.C. Williams (14 carries for 59 yards), quarterback Cameron Woodward and receiver Tony Jones.
"M.C. is stepping up and playing well for us and someone else is going to have to step up now that Paris is not with us," said Adkisson.
That someone may be Caleb Hatton, who moved to the backfield from a wideout position. Hatton ran five times for 61 yards and caught two passes for 60 more against Corning.
"We're not going to change a whole lot," Adkisson said. "We're going to stay with our base stuff, but we did tweak our offense a little bit to try to be more balanced than we have been in the past."
Going more to the passing game last week, Woodward completed 6-of-12 for 146 yards with Jones the prime receiver with three catches for 79 yards.
Adkisson said the Eagles just want to play their game against the Rams.
"They're a very good football team coming off a big win over Portageville and we haven't got a 'W' yet," he said, "but if we come in and play as hard as we did against Corning, I think we'll be in the ballgame."
Scott City (1-1) displayed a balanced offensive attack last week in a 36-6 win over Portageville.
The Rams rushed for 188 yards and passed for 123 on four completions in nine attempts with two touchdowns -- 75 and 29 yards -- from quarterback Ethan Watkins.
Receiver Blake Dirnberger, currently the area's leading receiver, grabbed both TD passes.
"That's the type of offense we want to run because our play action can set up a lot of big pass plays," said Scott City coach Terry Flannigan. "That's why we're going to work real hard on our run game and that's just going to open Watkins up to throw a lot better."
Leading the Rams' ground game is the running back tandem of Cody Carlyle (16 carries for 90 yards) and Chris Blankenship (13 for 48). Also rotating into the backfield are Rynn Eskew, Trey Schlosser and Shae Simmons.
"They mix it up," said Adkisson. "In week one, they were more of a passing team and, in week two, they predominantly ran the ball. We've been preparing for both."
Flannigan pointed to several keys to success for Scott City, on both sides of the ball.
"The No. 1 things we're going to have to do on defense is try to corral their backs, cause some turnovers, run to the football and tackle," he said. "That's a thing we've been struggling a little bit with but it's much better this year than last.
"Then, offensively, we want to control the ground game and open up our play action."
The two Class 2, SEMO Conference Southern Division rivals clash at East Prairie at 7 p.m. tonight.