Braymer, Trenton games KO’d by COVID-19. Polo tries again to halt long loss streak
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
Two area high school football programs which haven’t experienced the sweet taste of triumph for more than two years hoped to be able to simultaneously slake their thirsts this Friday (Sept. 11), but only one will get that chance.
At week’s start, potentially the best – and possibly last – 2020 chances for the Braymer Bobcats and Polo Panthers to terminate win droughts extending back to 2017 awaited. However, by mid-week, Braymer faced a 2-weeks hiatus from games and practice after a player for last week’s opponent, Concordia: St. Paul Lutheran, subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. Because that Saint played a lot against the Bobcats, most BHS players and their coaches have been forced into a 2-weeks quarantine.
As a result, their 8-man game against the fledgling Keytesville/Mendon: Northwestern Thunder (0-1) was canceled and next week’s scheduled game at Orrick is at least postponed.
Polo’s Panthers still will try to put two excruciating losses at the start of their 2020 season behind them and best the guest Wolverines of Maysville.
PHS lost its opener to Plattsburg 7-0 when the Tigers scored in the game’s first minute after the Panthers fumbled on the opening kickoff return. Then, last week, Polo was shaded by Slater 15-14.
In the Maysville-Winston co-op club, the Panthers will meet a squad which, in its opener, thrashed a St. Joseph Christian team playing its first-ever 11-man game after a decade or so of 8-man competition. The Wolverines were, in turn, crushed by the outstanding Mid-Buchanan Dragons last week. Given the two extremes in experience and talent between its two foes to date, how good or bad Maysville might be and what Polo’s chances of victimizing them to end its 22-games-plus losing streak is difficult to evaluate. However, it’s safe to say that the Panthers likely won’t get any better chance the rest of the year.
On Thursday came word that Braymer was not the only area football team which would not be allowed to play this week.
Winless Trenton was due to visit Princeton for the squads’ Grand River Conference-East opener, but a THS Pirate turned up positive for the coronavirus Thursday, forcing that game to be nixed, although there were unofficial indications Princeton might try to find another jilted club to hook up with some time during the weekend.
Among games which, as Friday dawned, still were to take place around C-T-area gridirons Friday night, Southwest Livingston (2-0) will have a potential “trap” game at DeKalb, Hamilton: Penney (1-1) will start KCI Conference play at North Platte, reinvigorated Brookfield (2-0) will play its home opener against defending Clarence Cannon Conference champion Centralia, Carrollton will try for its first win at Lone Jack, Marceline (1-1) will hope to rebound from its “Bell Game” spanking by Brookfield as it visits Lewis and Clark Conference foe Knox County, Norborne/Hardin-Central (1-1) will make the long journey to North Shelby, and Keytesville/Mendon: Northwestern will swap out Braymer for Hughesville: Northwest, which was due to be sidelined St. Paul Lutheran’s opposition. They’ll play at Keytesville.
Southwest/Hale/Tina-Avalon co-op club impressively defeated two highly-regarded 8-man contingents the first two weeks and has the team which outlasted it for the state title last November, Mound City, coming to Ludlow next week. Thus, it would be awfully tempting for the Wildcats to completely overlook DeKalb in between.
Brookfield’s home opener pits it against 2-0 Centralia after the Panthers barely fought off a solid Hallsville team in non-league play last week while Brookfield was thumping Linn County rival Marceline. Coming off the “high” of that win to face the reigning conference champs in their first home appearance could be the best thing for the Bulldogs’ chances. They could use that challenge and being at home to sustain that emotional and competitive peak, rather than have to build back up to it some time later.