For the second year in a row, Shenandoah football opens the season with the Page County Super Bowl.
The Mustangs are the team traveling for the rivalry game this year, trying to bounce back after losing to the Cardinals in last year’s season opener. Shenandoah had the lead at halftime last season before falling 37-19. It started a 0-9 season for head coach Ty Ratliff in his first year leading the program. Ratliff said they have some key pieces back and are ready for an improved season.
“Coming into the year we knew we had speed coming back,” said Ratliff. “We’re definitely trying to rally around those strong points with some of our receivers, backs and quarterback returning.”
Kyle Cerven is back for his senior season after passing for 790 yards and running for another 263 last season. Conner Birt led the Mustangs in rushing last season and is a key returner, along with Anthony Stogdill, Morgan Cotten, AJ Herold and Devin Morelock, who all were top skill position players from a season ago.
“Those kids put in a lot of time this summer in seven-on-seven,” said Ratliff. “We feel more confident being able to throw the ball this year. Those kids will be consistent and make some big plays as we go throughout the season.”
Ratliff said the defense will look a little different this season in trying to add more speed to the field.
“It is definitely playing to our advantage,” Ratliff said about his defense, “right now with the faster kids on the field and letting them go make plays.”
The Page County Super Bowl win was the first of three victories for the Cardinals last season as they play in Class 1A again this year. It’s a new-look Cardinal team on the sideline with former Creston High School and Northwest Missouri State standout Collin Bevins taking over as head coach.
“From what we have seen they are going to spread it out a bit,” said Ratliff, “and use some run/pass option. (Michael) Shull is a dynamic player at quarterback. They have a good line, which is definitely the strong point of their team. They have some good size on the line, but we’re prepared. Hopefully the scouting report holds true and we’re able to make the plays on Friday when it matters.”
Kick off from Clarinda High School is scheduled for 7:00. Look for game updates on Twitter (@bclarksp17) and a live scoreboard on Facebook (@sportssvn) during the game.