Last season’s Silver Tiger game was certainly one to remember with the long lightning delay, the pouring rain and the overtime win for Smith-Cotton.
“It was a wild game,” said Smith-Cotton coach Ryan Boyer. “Those games are a lot of fun when you end up on the winning side. Those can be stressful for sure.”
It was the fourth straight time S-C had beaten Warrensburg and S-C goes for No. 5 on Friday at Walton Stadium-Kennedy Field in Warrensburg.
Warrensburg is hosting its games at the University of Central Missouri this season because of construction at its facility, so the big rivalry game gets a bigger venue this time around.
“It is neat and I think it’ll be a neat atmosphere, especially playing at UCM,” Boyer said. “… I told them, ‘guys enjoy it. It’s not every day that you get to play in a college-type setting.’”
Usually records can be thrown out in this game since four of the past five Silver Tiger matchups have been decided by three points or less.
But its hard to ignore the records this season with both entering the game 2-0. S-C has started the season with a 42-14 win against Republic and a 41-14 win at Marshall. Warrensburg ran away with a 61-26 win against Excelsior Springs in week 1 and a 39-13 win at Pleasant Hill last week.
“We talk about being a great team and great teams don’t focus on past success,” Boyer said. “They continue to work for the next one.”
Both teams have been able to use the running attack to move the ball. S-C has had Dalton Zaremba, Ricky Warren, Noah Aziere, Carlton Homan and others getting a share of carries so far.
S-C will be without Zaremba for at least several weeks with an ankle injury, but options are there to replace him in the backfield.
“Zaremba is a great running back for us and he’s done well for us,” Boyer said. “He’s going to be a tough one to replace, but we do have some depth at that running back position. We have some guys step up.”
Warrensburg also has a host of players carrying the football this season.
Koby Wilkerson is a shifty and fast running back for Warrensburg. He ran for 171 yards and three touchdowns on just 13 carries last week at Pleasant Hill.
Connor Burson also had 13 carries and ended up with 56 yards and a score. Jacob Carter and Mike Flores combined for 39 yards on 12 carries.
“The big thing there is again the fundamentals that we stress every week, which is our keys and reads, attack and swarm tackle,” Boyer said. “They have a few shifty running backs and they have one really shifty running back. With that, it’s first guy there has to wrap and secure it then everybody else swarm to it.”
Warrensburg will use these backs to run some misdirection plays at times as well.
For S-C’s running game, it will be going up against Warrensburg’s big front line and the speed the rest of the defense has.
“Just eliminating mistakes and then capitalizing on any mistakes that we can is the big thing,” Boyer said.
Jason Strickland can be reached at 660-530-0147 or on Twitter @J_Strick_Sports.