WEST PLAINS, Mo. — When Matt Perkins took over the West Plains Football program last season, the bar was set pretty high.
The Zizzers were fresh off a 12-1 year, a district title and a state quarterfinal appearance.
But Perkins and his team showed they weren’t going anywhere last year, notching the program’s third straight season with eight or more wins.
Now in year two, he wants to keep raising the bar.
“It’s been really good,” Perkins said. “I mean, 2020 is kind of a weird year for everybody, but our kids are locked in. They want to get better. They want to be here everyday. It’s been a good group to be around.”
That Zizzers group set the tone early with a 66-44 win at Glendale including five total touchdowns and a couple sacks from senior Titus Seley.
“I was just happy to be back on the field,” Seley said. “I just gave it everything I could because I never knew when it was going to be my last game or something like that so give it everything you got.”
“That was one of those nights where we woke up that morning and found out two of our starters were quarantined,” Perkins said. “Everybody is going through that, but it’s just preaching all summer long, ‘Guys, at any point we’re going to be a next man up philosophy. A next man up mindset.’ I was just super proud of our guys for stepping up and being prepared. Young guys that hadn’t played a down of varsity football coming in and getting ready to go.”
Since then, it’s been all gas from West Plains, now sitting at 4-0, a mark that sits in line with the team’s expectations.
“To not lose,” Seley. “To keep going. We’re going to go all the way. It’s us only and only us. We’re the only ones that can take it from us.”
But tonight, the Zizzers meet possibly their biggest challenge of the season as they travel to 3-1 Kickapoo.
“They’ve looked a lot better than they have in the last couple of years,” Seley said. “We think this is going to be the toughest game of the season. Coach has been saying this is conference championship practice week all week.”
“Yeah, a lot more serious practice,” West Plains Jr. fullback and middle linebacker said. “You’ve got to take it like a championship week. If we win this game, we’re kind of in the coast for the Ozark Conference right now.”
“They’re really well coached,” Perkins said. “They’re really well disciplined. They don’t beat themselves. We’ve been making a lot of mistakes and just talking about we’ve got to be cleaner. We’ve got to play smarter and worry about us.”