By ERIC X. VICCARO
The Ste. Genevieve High School football team will return to action this Friday in the opening round of the district playoffs.
And the opponent will be a familiar one: Dexter.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Dragon Field in this Class 3, District 1 first-round match-up. The winner will face top-seeded Kennett on Nov. 6.
“We know them, and it helps playing a familiar foe,” said Ste. Genevieve head football coach Ken Weik regarding the Bearcats.
For the past several seasons, Ste. Genevieve has scheduled Dexter in the regular-season opener.
While the Dragons (3-4 record) have been on a sidelines the past couple of weeks, Dexter has been playing. The Bearcats topped Class 2 Malden, 34-12, this past Friday.
“Their record is not great,” Weik said, “but, they have played a lot of tough teams.”
Expect Dexter (3-5) to run a spread offense; however, the Bearcats are a run-first kind of team, Weik noted. They line up in a 3-4 on defense.
“They don’t run anything fancy, but what they do, they do well,” Weik said. “On defense, they have a couple of good linebackers, and they get to the ball well.”
Dexter has several players of note: defensive tackle Francois Haasbroek (6-foot-3, 250 pounds), quarterback/cornerback Payton Driskill, outside linebacker Ryan Collier (6-2, 195), defensive tackle Bradyn Crockett (6-0, 290), linebacker Lucas Alday (6-1, 226) and linebacker Josh Alday (6-1, 200).
Driskill intercepted a pass in last week’s win over Malden, and the Bearcats held Malden scoreless in the second half.
Meanwhile, for Ste. Genevieve, sophomore Aiden Boyer is rounding into form as the Dragons quarterback, with 1,118 yards passing in seven games with 11 TD. He’s also rushed for 390 yards.
Austin McBride has also produced solid numbers, with 67 carries for 364 yards. Payton Matthews is the leading receiver with 13 catches for 400 yards.
Jacob Johns might weigh only 150 pounds according to the roster, but he has a nose for the ball — to the tune of 58 tackles (46 solo), two quarterback sacks, 12 tackles for loss and one fumble recovery.
Kaden Flye has recorded two interceptions. Bret Bieser, Klayton Squires and Dale Propst have been contributors as well.
Both Dexter and Ste. Genevieve have similar numbers. The Dragons have scored 201 points to the Bearcats’ 179. Dexter has yielded 187 points while Ste. Genevieve has conceded 198.
Last year’s game wasn’t all that competitive, with the Dragons posting a 49-7 road victory over the Bearcats with a senior-laden team.
In the district, Kennett was given the No. 1 seed — followed by Valle Catholic, St. Mary’s, Ste. Genevieve, Dexter, Fredericktown and Doniphan.
However, Doniphan will not be able to participate in the Missouri State High School Activities Association playoffs due to ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) problems.
Weik said the Dragons have been able to practice the past couple of weeks; however, not at full strength.
“We are going to have a majority of our kids back, but we’ve been able to get what we needed to with what (players) we have,” Weik said.
The Dragons blanked Perryville, 41-0, on Oct. 9, and Weik was encouraged with the direction of both the offense and defense. The offense was able to sustain drives, and not rely on one big play. The defense also was putting it together.