Like most community newspapers, The Citizen’s calendar more or less coincides with the school year.
So, that means that while we haven’t been on vacation the past few months, we have been less busy than we are when school is in session.
So, that in turn means since school got under way for students all across Platte County last week, that we are going to be quite a bit busier here at Citizen Central.
A big reason for that is the beginning of the fall sports season. As you probably already know, The Citizen is the only media outlet in the Northland that provides consistent coverage week-in, week-out of all Platte County, West Platte, North Platte, Park Hill and Park Hill South high school sports teams.
For the fall season that means that we are keeping tabs on 32 total football, volleyball, softball, soccer, tennis, golf, swimming and cross country teams between the five schools.
Wow, that’s tiring just saying that.
Anyway, the proof of our dedication to covering high school sports in Platte County is evident in our annual Fall Sports Outlook, which is inserted in this issue. It’s 32 pages packed with Pirates, Bluejays, Trojans and Panthers (both PH South and North Platte) previews, team pics, schedules and plenty of local advertisers.
It’s the only publication of its kind you will find anywhere and it serves as our kickoff to the fall sports season.
So, come along for the ride with us every week — we will keep you informed about all your favorite high school teams.
Speaking of sports, this week also marks the start of the college football season and that means the Black and Gold returns to the gridiron.
One would think after last season’s disappointing 5-7 first season in the SEC, MU would enter this year’s campaign with something to prove.
And the Tigers should be able to prove they belong if a couple of things happen.
First, senior quarterback James Franklin must stay healthy and return to the signal caller he was in 2011 when he racked up nearly 4,000 total yards and accounted for 36 touchdowns.
Second, the offensive line must also stay healthy. The MU O-line resembled a MASH unit for most of last season and the five projected starters only played one game together out of 12.
Finally, two prime-time players must turn in prime-time seasons. Sophomore running back Henry Josey, who missed all of last season after suffering a horrific knee injury his freshman year when he was leading the Big 12 in rushing, must be the Tigers go-to guy in the backfield. And when he’s not getting the ball, sophomore wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham should be. MU grossly underused DGB — the nation’s No. 1 player coming out of high school — for most of last season before finally throwing the rock his way the last quarter of the season.
And it goes without saying that MU Coach Gary Pinkel needs a better performance this year as well. Pinkel made several questionable game-day decisions last year and his inability to solve the Tigers’ ball-snapping woes was inexcusable.
I think the Tigers will at the very least prove the experts who picked them to finish fifth in the SEC East wrong. If Mizzou finishes the non-con portion of their schedule unbeaten —a touch chore, considering the Tigers visit an improving and dangerous Indiana team Sept. 21 — look for an 8-4 schedule and a bid to a nice bowl game.
Speaking of football, there is actually reason to be optimistic about our Chiefs this season.
For starters, after four years of Toddeo Crenhaley, the team will be led by an actual proven commodity at head coach — Andy Reid, who had more playoff wins in his 13 seasons at Philadelphia than the Chiefs have in their history. There’s also an obvious upgrade at quarterback with the arrival of Alex Smith, who was leading the league in QB rating with the 49ers last season before he suffered a concussion and lost his job to the Illustrated Man, I mean Colin Kaepernick, excuse me.
If the Chiefs can get another solid year from home-run-hitting running back Jamaal Charles, find somebody other than wide-out Dwayne Bowe to catch the ball and get a defense with untapped potential to start forcing turnovers, the Chiefs might make some hay.
Or they might not.
But at least at this point they are compelling enough to make we fans look forward to Sundays again.
You gotta start somewhere, right?
Thanks for reading.
Lee Stubbs is owner/publisher of The Citizen. He may be reached by email at email@example.com or by calling 858-5154. Follow him on Twitter @leejstubbs.