KIRKSVILLE – The Tigers come into Week 4 having just lost to archrival Moberly, which saw their record drop to 1-2. Kirksville played well, but couldn’t come up with that key play or stop to overcome the Spartans.
The key for Kirksville this week: Don’t let Moberly beat you twice.
“I think we are right where we need to be. I am very impressed with the leadership we have on this team. They aren’t hanging their heads, they know they played a quality opponent and know they have to prepare for another one this week. We would like to be 3-0, but we have a good attitude and know that there is still a lot of football to be played,” said Kirksville head coach Jeff Jacques.
The opponent this week is another NCMC team, the Marshall Owls. Marshall comes in 0-3, but has the full attention of the Tigers.
“We are motivated from last year’s experience and not getting the win last Friday like we feel we should have. We do a pretty good job of self-motivating ourselves. We have a favor to pay back to them. They came into our house last year and beat us, and we need to return that favor to them,” said Jacques.
The Owls beat Kirksville 19-0 last season.
This season has been a different story so far for Marshall. The Owls have only scored 21 points in their three games this season, including being shut out by Chillicothe to open the season. Like Kirksville they dropped a tough one in their conference opener last week as they lost to Mexico, 14-7.
On offense the Owls will look to move the ball on the ground, and need to keep possession of the ball to have success.
“We match-up well with Kirksville. We have to be able to move the chains by using our running game and we have to quit turning the ball over if we are going to have success,” said Marshall head coach Jon Stockman.
The defensive front seems to be a key in Friday’s game.
“They are pretty aggressive up front and hopefully we can build off the success we had up front so far offensively. We are a little bigger and they are more aggressive so I feel like we match-up pretty well,” said Jacques.
Stockman and his staff have taken notice of the Tigers new attacking defensive scheme.
“Our offensive line is going to have to play with their eyes up and be looking for their blitzes, and still be able to deal with their defensive line that is big and fast,” said Stockman.
Page 2 of 2 - Looking beyond the big guys up front, both teams have talent at the skill positions that they hope can challenge the other team.
“Cook can run and throw and is a really good athlete, so we are going to have to play really good defense if we want to contain him,” said Stockman.
Kirksville looks forward to teams focusing in on the junior signal caller.
“He is just one of our important playmakers. We hope our opponents focus in on one guy, because we have six or seven guys that if I was a defensive coordinator I would have to think about focusing on the team as a whole,” said Jacques.
The Owls bring come in with a dynamic backfield duo, and a playmaking backfield on the other side of the ball.
“They have a really nice running back and quarterback duo. Their defensive secondary is big and physical as well,” said Jacques.
Both coaches know the value in picking up a win Friday night. Neither team wants to fall to 0-2 in conference.
“This is a big game for us. It is also our homecoming and we are playing against a team that played very well last week against another good team. I fell like the team that makes the fewest mistakes should probably win,” said Stockman.
Kirksville is hoping to build off the loss to Moberly, and not let the Spartans get them again.
“Hopefully we can build off our loss and learn from what we did and come back and get a win,” said Jacques.
Kirksville will be playing their third road game of the season as kickoff is scheduled for 7 o’clock Friday night in Marshall.