I 've got to be honest about it. I never was a 'football guy' while attending high school. Didn't know, or didn't want to know, anything about high school football.
I come from a school where basketball ruled, and still rules, all else. Friday nights, to me, meant nothing more than no school the next day.
I didn't keep up with the local football scene, because, even if I wanted to, there wasn't much to keep up with. Sure there was NMCC, Dexter, Charleston, Jackson and Caruthersville early in the 2000s making headlines. But as we hit the 2003-05 era, lets face it, there wasn't much to boast about as far as Southeast Missouri football was concerned.
However, over the last three years I've fallen hard for fall Friday nights. I can't wait for football season to start and I hate to see it go. It helps to have decent, competitive teams in our area, obviously. But it's even better to have teams that can not only make the playoffs, but be considered as some of the top teams in the state.
I know it goes through spells. Talent levels change and some teams that look like powerhouse programs one year, turn into 1-win teams the next. But, I've been fortunate enough to have witnessed state championship caliber teams throughout my three years behind a Standard Democrat sports desk; football, basketball, you name it.
Particularly this year in football, we currently have three area teams still in the hunt for that trip to 'The Dome' in St. Louis. Sikeston, Dexter and Caruthersville all advanced on Monday night with wins in Class 4, Class 3 and Class 2 respectively.
Some have better chances than others to possibly make it to a championship situation. But, all the same, they are still fighting for that chance.
After living in Sikeston and working for a Sikeston-based newspaper, the turnaround for Sikeston football the past two years has been fun to watch. The excitement that has generated in the last two Novembers has been staggering. There's a buzz about football which has everyone talking and asking me questions about sports. Which, for your information (FYI for all you texter's and message board posters), I can't get enough of if you see me out and about.
Dexter has caught that fever as well. With a district title and a trip to the quarterfinals in the near future, the Dexter grad I work with has a little extra pep in his step. Which is never a bad thing.
And Caruthersville, well, the Tigers are just on the cusp of our coverage area. Although, I have watched them twice this season and have seen why C'ville fans are excited about this year's squad. Not only are they from the region, but Caruthersville head coach Nathan Morgan is an avid Notre Dame Irish football fan. It's just two reasons why I'm rooting for them to go as far as they can.
So, hopefully, no matter where your from, we can all get behind the three teams left standing. Don't be like me during my high school days. If you have the chance, go watch one of these three teams and see what I was missing.
Of course, my high school basketball team that I followed couldn't get out of sectionals. Four straight years, four straight losses to the same team. Dang you Bell City.