FAIR GROVE, Mo–It’s week six of the high school football season and 1st & 10.
This time of the season traditional rivalries take center stage.
And that’s the case in Strafford, and that’s where we find KOLR 10’s Matt Vereen.
Dan it’s also Homecoming for Strafford and I wouldn’t be surprised if the theme is revenge.
The Indians lost close battles twice to Fair Grove last year, so a big opportunity to avenge last year’s seniors.
But Fair Grove will be tough once more.
The Eagles are 5-0, but for them – starting hot has just become the new norm.
You’d be hard pressed to find any team that dominates the start of a season like Fair Grove.
Over the last five years, the Eagles have lost just twice in the opening five weeks of the schedule.
Fair Grove Football Head Coach Bill Voorhis: “I know that it’s coach speak, but we really do. We talk about being 1-0 each week, because we’ve done that before in the past where we’ve started to look ahead. So we’ve started at the very beginning of this year talking about you’ve got to take this one game at a time. That’s really been our montra this year is just trying to be 1-0.”
This year is no different as Fair Grove enters week six a perfect 5-0 for the second straight season.
But it seems like every year, there’s a new senior QB leading the way.
Voorhis: “I’m waiting for the day when we’re going to have a returning quarterback, but these guys just keep waiting their turn.”
Two years ago it was Jayed Kensinger.
Last year it was Rhett Hill.
And now finally, it’s David Oplotnik’s turn inside the Eagles’ pocket.
Voorhis: “David probably could have started at a lot of other schools as a sophomore, but he had a senior and then a junior. He’s just waited his turn and he’s learned from those guys.”
And while Oplotnik waited patiently for his chance with the reins, he’s also been eyeing this Friday in particular: his first chance as the starter against rival Strafford.
Fair Grove Sr. Quarterback David Oplotnik: “The energy is everywhere. No matter how good one is compared to the other, it’s always going to be a good game.”
The rivals met twice last year, including a date in the playoffs, with both matchups going Fair Grove’s way by just a single possession.
But while they hosted both those games, this year they have to go the opposite direction down 125 into the Indians’ backyard.
Oplotnik: “It is always exciting to go to their place and hopefully catch a win, especially on their homecoming night.”
Voorhis: “It’s something different when it’s Fair Grove/Strafford. The proximity of the towns, the closeness of the towns, the similarities of the towns. It’s just, it all comes together on that one Friday night and it doesn’t matter what the records are. It’s going to be a good game.”
Fair Grove has a bit more on the line than just a rivalry win, though.
The Eagles can also already clinch the Mid-Llakes Conference title with a victory.
Meanwhile, you can be sure Strafford would love to deny Fair Grove that chance.
We’ll have full highlights tonight at 10, but for now live from Strafford high school — Matt Vereen, Ozarks first.