SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Everybody wants to play football in the month of November.
“The city down here is excited about having a home playoff game here for the first time in a long time,” Kickapoo head coach Nate Thomas said.
That includes the Kickapoo Chiefs.
“Just the energy and with all the fans in the stands and we haven’t had a home playoff game in my four years here, so should be a lot of fun on Friday,” Kickapoo senior Andrew Link said.
The Chiefs enter the district playoffs on a six game winning streak. They haven’t lost since a 31-10 showing at Lebanon on September 9th.
“We all kept the same energy,” Kickapoo quarterback Kylan Mabins said. “Win our lose every week. If we practice good all the way during the week, then we expect to win every game time.”
“We had a discussion as a team and as a staff there after after that Lebanon game that we felt like we could go on a six game run,” Thomas said. “And they did just that. A lot of the goals these guys have set, when they set a goal, they’ve been pretty special about going out and achieving that.”
In each of those six games, Kickapoo hasn’t allowed multiple scores in the same game. Including holding Rolla and Glendale out of the endzone.
“It’s been pretty fun,” Link said. “But now that we’re in the playoffs, that doesn’t really matter anymore. So now we got to keep it up and keep winning through it, through these next four or five games.”
But the playoffs are a different animal, and one the Chiefs have struggled to tame. They haven’t won a district game in six years.
“So our sophomore year we actually lost to Lee’s Summit West,” Link said. “So we’ve got some motivation from that and that’ll carry us through this week and then the following weeks.”
“We’re going to practice just like we we have in the past six weeks when we’ve gotten on this roll and not to make this game any bigger than what it is. It’s a playoff game,” Thomas said. “It’s a winnable game. Lee’s Summit West has got a really good football team, but we feel good about what we’re going to put out on the field on Friday night.”
And like every other team in Missouri, begin the chase that ends in Columbia.
“I think it’d be extremely special, especially for Coach Thomas, because I’ve run through a freakin’ brick wall for that guy,” Maybins said. “So if I could get him a state championship, then I’d be more happy for him than I would be for myself.”