By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
Talk about parity.
With three weeks of league play remaining, six teams are tied for second place in the Big 8 Conference standings with 2-2 records.
“It means the Big 8 is as balanced as it’s ever been,” Seneca coach Dan Scheible said. “There are good football teams from top to bottom.”
“Cassville has separated itself from everyone else,” Carl Junction coach Jesse Wall said. “With three games left, anything can happen between now and then.”
Carl Junction and Seneca are looking to improve their league marks to 3-2 when they square off tonight in Carl Junction. Kickoff is at 7 at Bulldog Stadium.
The Bulldogs (2-4 overall) are looking to bounce back from last week’s 47-13 home loss to Lamar.
“Lamar played pretty well,” Wall said. “We were very disappointed in the way which we played. We didn’t play very well on offense, nor did we play very well on defense. And for the first time all year I thought our effort wasn’t very good as well.”
Seneca (3-3) downed Mount Vernon 48-20 last week behind tailback Braxton Graham’s 303 yards rushing on 14 carries. Graham, who has 869 rushing yards this season, also returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown.
“With his rushing and kick returns and interception returns, he had over 500 all-purpose yards last week,” Scheible said. “He’s playing as well as anybody around. Marty Mailes was our starting tailback, but he dislocated his thumb in the Cassville game. Braxton is picking up the slack at tailback.
“Montana Cooper at defensive tackle is playing well, and Marty Mailes on defense is playing well. We’ve had a good season, not a great season. We’ve been close to some really good teams. We feel the one game we stumbled a little bit was Aurora. I don’t think we played our best football at Aurora.”
“Seneca is running a little spread stuff,” Wall said. “They still want to run toss, the still run isolation. They have two very good running backs and a quarterback who runs the ball well and throws pretty well. On defense they do the same thing, a 4-4 with a secondary that’s very athletic. The linebackers play hard and do a great job, and the defensive line does a nice job as well.”
Carl Junction averages 342 yards per game — 156 on the ground and 186 through the air.
Quarterback Dustin Satterlee has completed 87-of-138 passes for 1,111 yards and eight touchdowns. The receiving corps is led by Matt Magee (28 catches for 343 yards, three touchdowns), J Thomas (25 for 349, 1 TD) and Connor Rohmiller (13 for 223, 3 TDs).
Nick Thompson has rushed for 512 yards and seven scores on 87 carries.
“We think Carl Junction has good speed and is greatly improved,” Scheible said. “We expect a hard-fought, typical Big 8 football game.”