"Easy" would be one way to describe the Pierce City Eagles football schedule this season. Pierce City has dominated every game they have played, becoming masters of taking their opponents out of the game early.
Yet many "experts" still doubt the resolve of this squad. They point to a 6-0 record and a #8 Missouri Class 1 state ranking and ask who they have beaten and then discuss the possibility of the Eagles being overrated. People are pointing to this Friday night's game against Lockwood as a harbinger of things to come for this Eagles' squad.
This Friday, Pierce City has a chance to make a statement. A chance to prove they are a legitimate team and a force to be dealt with. This Friday, the Eagles entertain the 4-1 Lockwood Tigers.
"When you look at Pierce City on tape, they don't appear to have any weaknesses," said Lockwood Head Coach Clay Lasater. "They can run, throw, catch and defend. The only thing that sticks out is that they haven't had to play four quarters of football."
True, the Eagles have only played their starters in the fourth quarter one time this year. They have relied on a stellar defense and a quick strike offense to power them to early big leads.
The Tigers will run a spread style offense to stretch the Eagles' defense.
"Normally when you tell people you run a spread offense they immediately think you throw the ball 60 times a game," added Lasater. "We do throw the ball, but we try to use the spacing to create gaps for our running backs. We like to use the screen pass and option attack and take what the defense is willing to give.
"Defensively, we need to out-physical Pierce City and try to wear them down," Lasater said. "We have to take away the Eagles' ability to run the ball Friday in order to win. We want them to have to throw the ball to win this game. We might have an advantage if we can wear them down and get a close game into the fourth quarter."
A win for Lockwood would be a huge stepping-stone for its program.
"Leaving Friday night with a win would be awesome," Lasater said. "Our seniors have endured a lot of hardship over their playing careers. To beat Pierce City on their home turf would really make a statement about the amount of effort and time our kids put into this program and put us back into the conference title chase."
Pierce City is coming off a 50-0 win over McAuley. The Eagles are looking to remain perfect on the year.
"At this stage in the season you are concerned with getting through the game healthy," said Pierce City Head Coach Mac Whitehead. "When you only dress 27 kids, one or two keys injuries can really put your team in a bind."
The Eagles are very familiar with the Tigers' attack.
"Our defense must play extremely well," Whitehead said. "Lockwood's quarterback is a very good athlete, and we cannot allow him to run wild. I believe Coach Weatherly has a good strategy going into the game. We just have to execute.
"Offensively, we need to spread the ball around," Whitehead added. "We have four or five big play type players, getting the ball into their hands can be a little challenging at times. We want to run the ball and force them to stop us. Controlling the clock and sustaining drives will be key Friday night."
The Pierce City-Lockwood game promises to be a thriller. Kick off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Don Keebaugh Stadium.