Zizzers zig and zag their way past trials to undefeated start

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WEST PLAINS, Mo. — To call West Plains first three weeks of football chaotic would be an understatement

“Oh it’s just rolling with the punches, man,” West Plains senior linebacker Aedyn Holt said. “Next guy up. In this game, you never know what’s going to happen so you’ve got to have a one mind mentality.”

Coming off a 2020 year when nothing was guaranteed, the theme lives on in the Zizzer’s 2021 experience

“The kids are awesome,” West Plains Head Coach Matt Perkins said. “They adapted really well last year. They’ve really rolled with the punches this year too. But it’s created a different level of stress for sure.”

The chaos started before the season even did as their week one opponents in Glendale went into a COVID quarantine.

Sending the Zizzers scrambling for a replacement opponent.

“It’s crushing for our kids because you just don’t know,” Perkins said. “Are you going to have a tomorrow?”

“We thought last year was going to be kind of the end of it,” West Plains senior linebacker and running back Connor Lair said. “But we didn’t get any games canceled or rescheduled or anything. Then to start of this year, it’s just kind of like dang.”

“We were fortunate we were able to find somebody,” Perkins said. “Center Hill came all the way up here so our seniors didn’t have to miss another home game.”

West Plains earned a 38-12 win over their substitutes from down South.

But the following week visiting Hillcrest came with an all new problem with their starting quarterback.

“Kind of a nightmare situation,” Perkins said. “So we play Hillcrest on Friday. Saturday morning, Dagen Kenslow, he’s a very good football player, wakes up with a swollen ankle. I get a picture sent to me. I’m thinking did he roll it? Because I didn’t notice anything. Then I find out just a little bit later he has a blister that’s gotten infected. So he ends up getting put on an IV. There’s a major concern there for a while his season may be over and maybe worse. We’ve got a guy named Aiden Simpson that’s a really good player. He stepped in all week long. He’s ready to go. Then we find out all the sudden that Dagen is able to play like right before the game. Aiden handled it like a pro.”

Through it all, the 25 seniors on the team have kept the Zizzers on track and ready for whatever comes next.

“It’s a coach’s dream,” Perkins said. “You’ve got a like group that that’s been around each other. They can kind of read between the lines and see who needs to be picked up.”

Now the Zizzers head into a new challenge in Camdenton, though luckily this one is contained to the field.
Perkins: “I was talking to Coach Pitts, our defensive coordinator. Who are you most concerned with? He’s like, ‘Coach, they’re all a concern.'”

“We’re all looking forward to this one,” Holt said. “This one is going to be theme of the season. This is going to be the big pusher to see how we’re really set on ourselves.”

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