WARRENSBURG — Warrensburg-Latham's summer football practices saw Nate Hayes and Mitchell Leathers do battle for the starting quarterback position.
Hayes had the arm, Leathers had the legs. Or so we thought.
Cardinals coach Aaron Fricke gave Hayes the starting position on Friday against Cerro Gordo-Bement and watched him scamper for 200 yards on the ground and two touchdowns in the Cardinals' 20-15 win.
Fricke didn't see that performance coming.
"(Cerro Gordo) took away what we wanted to do early on and it was allowing Nate to scramble and run on some designed plays. He is deceptively fast I guess, you don’t always see him look that fast in practice," he said.
Hayes put the Cardinals on the board in the first quarter with a 76-yard run for a touchdown, and as the clock was winding down in the fourth quarter, he broke free for a 93-yard run for his second score.
The runs were reminiscent of the scrambles that Millikin's Dionte Lewis would take during Cardinals' games the past few years.
"(Nate) had to put it on his back. That’s not the way I wanted it to go but he stepped up and saved the day," Fricke said.
Fricke said he was impressed with the tough game the Broncos threw at Warrensburg.
"I think Cerro Gordo is going to be very much improved this year from what I saw on the previous film from last year versus what we went against on Friday night," he said. "That was a tough team and they have some running backs that were pretty big and tough to bring down. I thought they were pretty good upfront as well."
Mount Zion overcomes turnovers
MOUNT ZION — Mount Zion's 12-6 win against Bartonville Limestone wasn't the prettiest of victories, but Braves coach Patrick Etherton will take it for a Week 1 win.
"I’m always happy when we win but as a whole we could have played better. We did a good job running the football but we turned it over four times," he said. "We were minus two on the turnover margin and anytime you win a game with a negative turnover margin you had to do some stuff right."
What was going right for the Braves was running back Jacob May, who ran for 160 yards on 30 carries.
May took advantage of the absence of fellow running back Sage Davis, who didn't dress for the game because of injury.
Etherton will take a more shared running load between the two when Davis returns.
"They both will start on defense and it will be the plan to keep them fresh and making sure it is balanced," he said. "It’s the same thing with our quarterbacks. If you can play more guys, it will keep them fresh and we will be better off."
Quarterbacking duties were split between Ashton Summers and Matt Carpenter, with Summers finding more success, going 5-for-10 for 110 yards.
"They will both play next week and they both do different things and excel in different areas. Ashton’s a sophmore and Matt’s a junior, so they both have stuff to learn," Etherton said. "Ashton threw a few interceptions and that's going to happen, and he’s going to learn from it. He’s a very intelligent kid football-wise. He’s gifted and was disappointed. He will learn from it and not repeat those mistakes."
Argenta's show on the road
ROBINSON — The big four offensive weapons for Argenta-Oreana were primed and ready for Week 1.
Bombers quarterback Josh Williams threw for 113 yards and ran for 203, including three touchdowns. Those scores came on runs of 44, 45 and 70 yards, respectively.
Makhi Stanley added 147 yards on the ground and when combined with Skyler Peterson's 49 (including two touchdowns) and the Bombers nearly reached 400 for the game.
Through the air, Makail Stanley had two catches for 99 yards and a touchdown.
"I think our (offensive) line opened up some good-sized holes, and you know Josh and Makhi are talented individuals," Argenta coach Steve Kirk said. "For the first time out this year I felt we played very well. Like anybody else we have a lot to clean up, but for Week 1 it was a good start."
Peterson's defensive play also stood out to Kirk.
"I thought Skyler had around 15 tackles, and after going back through most of the tape, I thought he was super," Kirk said. "He moved with the ball really well and covered the field really well."
Mac's new playmaker
MacArthur showed in its season-opening game that its defense will be as good as expected, and that its offense is a work in progress.
A potential playmaker, though, emerged in AJ Lawson. He had six catches for 64 yards and caught the game-tying touchdown with 7.2 seconds left in the Generals' 8-6 win against Springfield.
Those numbers aren't necessarily eye-popping, but he was clearly a mismatch for Springfield cornerbacks. First-time starter Deyon Jackson tried him repeatedly down the sideline, but struggled to keep the ball inbournds.
"He's a fantastic athlete," MacArthur coach Derek Spates said of Lawson. "We were just struggling to connect."
Jackson, though, will get better, and knows he has a weapon in Lawson.
"I feel like he's un-guardable in the CS8," Jackson said.