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Hornets, Warriors clash for final time as Smithville looks to stay undefeated

Uclick TV will have live coverage of this game

Little has gone wrong for the Warriors in their MEC swan song this season as they enter a week 8 home tilt with Chillicothe 7-0 overall and 5-0 on the conference.

“It’s been fun because our kids have made it fun,” said Smithville coach Jason Ambroson, fresh off receiving ‘Coach of the Week’ honors from the Kansas City Chiefs. “I’ve been here three years and have never had a bad moment here. We had a lot of kids coming back this year who worked hard in the

offseason and are reaping the benefits of that.”

It’s likely the 6-1 Hornets mark Smithville’s final obstacle between a perfect regular season and the outright MEC title as winless Cameron awaits in week 9. Click Here For Full Story

“We started off the season with our goals and one of those goals was to put ourselves in position to win a conference title,” Ambroson said. “That’s something our kids mentioned, and they’ve earned that opportunity to go against a high-quality opponent and answer that bell. Now, they’ve got to answer that opportunity.”

Chillicothe responded nicely to its lone loss of the season with a 48-34 win at Savannah last week, continuing to show the offensive prowess it has displayed all year with more than 400 total yards. The Hornets have only scored less than 30 points once, that coming in a 24-0 win over Maryville, and typically rush for around 300 yards a game.

“We didn’t start out very well (against Savannah), but we hung in, came back, and played pretty solid,” Hornets coach Phil Willard said. “I felt good about how our kids persevered. We didn’t panic and kept on getting after it.

“Our offense as a whole has been good so far, been consistent and it’s always good when you can put points on the board. But as of late we’ve given up points that we don’t like to give up and have some work to do there.”

The Hornets (4-1 MEC) will have to keep up their offensive productivity against a Smithville defense that has only allowed more than seven points twice.

“They’re really good fundamentally, have good tacklers and always have a lot of people running to the ball,” Willard said of the Warriors defense. “Their secondary has played great, causes turnovers and plays team defense. They present a lot of fronts to try and confuse offenses.”

Ambroson noted the Chillicothe wing-T offense poses problems.

“Chilicothe is a hard-nosed football team that likes to run the ball,” he said. “You have to be good on defense against them because it doesn’t matter how good you are on offense because you’re never going to see the ball if you don’t stop them. They’ve been running the same offense since the beginning of time and they’re good at it.”

On offense, the Warriors are just as prolific as their defense is strong, having scored in the 40s five times and never less than 33.

“They have a lot of people back on the offensive line,” Willard said. “They’re very athletic and fundamental up front. Their quarterback (Kellen Simoncic) has improved and done a nice job of handling the ball with timing routes and their tailback (Isaac Miller) is one of the best backs we’ve seen. He keeps his feet moving and runs physical.”

Ambroson said he is impressed with what he has seen of the Hornets defense on film.

“They’re very aggresssive, hard-hitting and get after you,” he said. “Any time you have a good scheme and talent you have a good chance to be succcessful, and that’s what they have.”

It’s likely the last meeting between the two schools as Smithville heads to the Suburban Conference next fall, but Willard said that doesn’t make the game have a different feel.

“Not really,” he noted. “Schools come and go in the conference. Platte County left a few years ago and St. Pius X will come in next year and we’ll have to go against them.”

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