Eagles see threat in Marionville's size
Pierce City knows challenge awaits on Friday
With its highest district seed ever in the new format, Pierce City knows that certain expectations come with being the favorite.
Despite being the No. 3 seed and welcoming No. 6 seed Marionville to Don Keebaugh Stadium on Friday, Coach Brad Hocker is still favoring the underdog role.
"I don't care that the Comets are 2-7," Hocker said. "They have tall receivers, a big line and an athletic quarterback. There are no easy games."
The Eagles stunned Sarcoxie on Friday with a 42-28 win. Hocker said that the game was the best four quarters his squad had put together all season. He especially was pleased with the play of his offensive and defensive lines.
"We have got to have that same type of play on Friday again," Hocker said. "We have to stop Marionville's big play capability, and our line is the key to us being able to accomplish that goal."
One bit of good news is that the Eagles are as healthy as can be expected at this point in the season.
"We have the regular nicks, soreness and bruises associated with the season grind," Hocker said. "But, we haven't had the types of injuries that sidelined our kids over the last few years. I think that has helped us tremendously this season."
For Pierce City, there is no secret to the game plan against the Comets.
"We have to be the more physical team, plain and simple," Hocker said. "Everything we do on both sides of the ball requires us to win the battle up front."
Pierce City is also looking to make a little history. The Eagles have not won a district game since 2011, and they have yet to win a game in the new tournament format, losing to Marionville twice, McAuley once and Cabool last season.
Keys for Pierce City
* Trench warfare
If the Eagles can sustain blocks on offense and clog the line on defense, they like their chances for victory.
* Relax and have fun
Pierce City needs to treat this game just like any other. They cannot afford to put extra emphasis on the match and get nervous.
* Minimize mistakes
Penalties and turnovers are killers in every game. The Eagles must eliminate both from their Friday performance.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.