2021 PIGSKIN PREVIEW: Where we were right and wrong

We put out our annual pigskin preview every August – and in that, we have our predictions for the season.

This year was a tough year for predictions with COVID, schedule changes, new coaches and good teams all over the place.

Like every year, we got some right and we got some wrong – and we have no problem admitting we whiffed hard on a few this season.

WRONG: COC standings

We got the top four teams in the COC right, but we messed up the order big time.

I thought Nixa would win it and they finished third. I thought Carthage would finish third and they won it, going 9-0 in the regular season.

We had Joplin 4th and they finished 2nd behind the Tigers.

We had Webb City 2nd and they finished 4th. I don’t regret it or feel bad about it. They went on to win it all. It is what it is.

RIGHT: Lamar Tigers

I almost feel bad taking credit for this because it was a no-brainer, but we had the Lamar tigers going 9-0 and that’s what they did.

Not only that, but it wasn’t really close.

Lamar won their regular season games by an average of 38 points-per-game. The Tigers finished as the Missouri Class 2 state runner-up.

They’re 25-2 with a state title in their first two years under head coach Jared Beshore.

WRONG: Girard Trojans

This team has been bouncing around .500 for years.

We had them picked to go 5-3 and they blew that out of the water.

Girard finished the regular season with a perfect 8-0 record – their first undefeated season since 1999. The Trojans won a district title and a regional title, finishing the year with a 10-1 overall record.

RIGHT: Aurora Houn’Dawgs

I thought the Aurora Houn’Dawgs would take another step forward – and that’s what they did this season.

We had them at 7-2 in our magazine and they finished 7-2.

After losing their season opener, the Houn’Dawgs ripped off 7 straight wins before falling to Nevada in the regular season finale. After that great regular season, their playoff run didn’t last long because….

WRONG: Seneca Indians

The Seneca Indians beat them in the first round.

Seneca is one of our biggest whiffs of the fall. We had them in our magazine at 2-7. They dunked on us and went 5-4 in their first season under head coach Cody Hilburn. Not only that, but these guys turned it on in the playoffs, going on to win a district title and finish with an 8-5 overall record.

Seneca. Guys. We blew it. Sorry.

RIGHT: Galena Bulldogs

Galena finished 7-1 this year and that’s right where we had them.

They lost their season opener at Commerce, Oklahoma – then went on a 7-game winning streak to end the regular season.

The Bulldogs did fall in the first round of the post-season, but they’re one of the best and most consistent programs in the area, going 41-10 the last five seasons.

WRONG: Parsons Vikings

I knew the Parsons Vikings were going to be better in year two under Jeff Schibi. I just didn’t know they would be that much better.

They were 3-6 last season. We picked them to go 4-4. They ended with a 6-2 record in the regular season.

Parsons went on to win a playoff game and finish 7-3 overall.

RIGHT: Missouri Southern Lions

I know you’re thinking “you’re going to take credit for picking them to go 3-8?”

Short answer: yes

In their first season under head coach Atiba Bradley, the Lions went 3-8 as we predicted.

That is significant, because the last time they won three games was all the way back in 2014 when I couldn’t even rent a car.

Southern is headed in the right direction, they’re fun to watch again and they’re going to continue to get better.

WRONG: McDonald County Mustangs

We had the McDonald County Mustangs in our magazine at 6-3. They went 8-1 in the regular season – their best finish since the 60’s.

This team was fun to watch. Their only loss in the regular season was to Lamar, who would go on to finish as the Missouri Class 2 state runner-up, and they finished the regular season on a six-game winning streak.

The Mustangs ended up playing for a district title and finishing 10-2. We were wrong there.


There are more we got right and wrong. Some by a little, some by a lot. These are just the ones that stood out to me.

Carthage gets by West Plains, finishes 3rd at Carthage Invitational

WATCH: Carthage gets by West Plains 58-54 to finish in third place at the Carthage Invitational. Joel Pugh hits five three’s and leads the Tigers with 18 points. Justin Ray and Max Templeman finish with 13 points and 12 points.

Yates, Shannon lead Carthage over Hillcrest in home opener

CARTHAGE, Mo. – (WATCH) Kianna Yates scores a team-high 21 points Tuesday night, leading Carthage to a 60-50 win over Hillcrest in their home opener.

Sophie Shannon adds 10 points, while Landry Cochran pitches in with 8 points.

Joplin rallies, claims class 5 district 12 championship

WATCH: Joplin drops the first set of the district championship game before rallying to win the next three. Joplin is headed to the state tournament and will face the winner of Tuesday’s Nixa/Kickapoo match in the sectional round.

Carthage’s Bryant set to make fourth state tournament appearance

CARTHAGE, Mo. – The Missouri high school girls state golf tournament starts on Monday. A familiar face from Carthage will be competing. Senior Hailey Bryant is back for her fourth time.

Bryant is a four-time state qualifier. She’s not new to big stage, but a lot has changed since her first experience as a freshman.

“I’ve definitely grown a lot since then,” Bryant says. “My freshman year I was extremely nervous and put a lot of pressure on myself because it’s the highest place you can go. Now I’m know that is what I’m here to do. I’ve been working towards this goal and I’m just ready to finally achieve it.”

“She knows who she is as a ball striker. She knows who she is around the green. She has more trust in herself then she may have had as sophomore,” says Carthage head coach, James Newman. “She’s comfortable in her own skin and who she is as a golfer.”

Bryant placed eighth at state last year. This year, she’s aiming even higher.

“As a senior this year I’m looking to go out there and prove to people how I can play,” Bryant says. “I want to go have fun and see the improvement from my freshman year to now.”

“I think if she leverages her ball striking and puts herself in those positions where she can really attack, she could have some of her best rounds coming up,” Newman says.

She has momentum. Bryant is coming off a Central Ozark Conference title earlier this month.

“At conference I still didn’t even feel like I played my best which pushes me even more,” Bryant says. “I feel like now I’m ready to actually play my best.”

“She has a quiet intensity about her and she’s competitive,” Newman says. “She wants it really bad and she’s very driven.”

Bryant has already accomplished a lot in her career. She’s a four-time all-district performer, a four-time all-conference performer and is the first Carthage girls golfer to get all-state recognition, which she earned last year.

“After accomplishing some smaller things, I’ve now set these bigger goals for myself and I’m finally reaching them and I’m really glad my last year I could do such a thing,” Bryant says.

As her high school career nears its end, Bryant is undecided on what her competitive golf future will look like.

“I love golf. The thought of stopping here stings a little bit. I think there’s a lot more I can accomplish,” Bryant says.

Carthage pulls away from Republic to get to 8-0

WATCH: Carthage pulls away from Republic Friday night to win 35-14.

Carthage is now 8-0 this season and will finish up the regular season on the road against Nixa next week.