The Nixa High School football team is off to a sizzling start, routing Sedalia Smith-Cotton 47-7 in a season opener on Aug. 24 and then beating Belton 19-0 on the road last Friday.
In the most recent victory, the Eagles rode starting quarterback Austin Schweiss to a pair of second-quarter touchdown runs of 70 and 42 yards, while Ruben Guznan scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter. Nixa is now 2-0.
In the season opener, Schweiss finished with 307 total yards in just more than two quarters of work in the opener as the team led Sedalia 33-0 at halftime after a five-touchdown second quarter.
“We were all a little nervous to start, with the new field and the first game and everything,” Schweiss said, referring to the recently installed artificial turf. “But after that first touchdown, we all settled in.”
That first score came on a 45-yard Schweiss-to-Mason Rohr touchdown pass on a third-and-19 that opened the floodgates. It led to 20 Nixa points in a two-minute stretch.
Schweiss had a hand in four of Nixa’s first six touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound senior tossed a 49-yard touchdown pass to Carney Wilmes in the second period and later added touchdown runs of 18 and 60 yards.
Schweiss finished 7 of 10 passing for 189 yards and carried six times for 118 yards.
Nixa, playing without injured linemen J.D. Payne and Xyah Ra, piled up 327 yards of offense in the first half and finished with 520 total yards. Ra is expected to miss three weeks. Payne, a starter since his freshman year, is out indefinitely after surgery on his right wrist.
Sophomore Alec Murphy rushed for 61 yards and two touchdowns, and backup fullback Cody Uber had 77 yards on four carries. Ruben Guzman had Nixa’s other touchdown.
“The run game opens up our passing game,” Schweiss said of Nixa’s 331 rushing yards. “Our line did great. This gives us a lot of confidence, but we can’t look too far ahead.”
Much hype surrounds this year’s boys’ soccer team after coming off an impressive 24-4 season last year — the program’s best.
The Eagles will have to contend with losing five seniors from last year’s team, but 13 seniors are set to return this year. That is something that 18-year head coach Evan Palmer believes is a huge factor for a successful upcoming season.
“We’re a really heavy, experienced and senior-laden class that I’m really excited about,” Palmer said.
Senior Andrew Schenck is excited about the product being put out on the field.
“We’ve got a lot of teamwork,” Schenck said. “The guys that have been together for a while; they know how to play the game. We’ll be a very good team.”
The Eagles began the season with an 8-1 home win against West Plains on Aug. 30.
Both the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams were cruising in the “fast lane,” so to speak, last year.
The Nixa boys’ team was conference champion in the COC, while the Lady Eagles had a strong second-place finish.
While these accolades are nice, third-year head coach Lance Brumley has his eye on bigger and better things — largely because his team is full of juniors and seniors.
As for the boys, seven seniors and six juniors lead the way, with senior Devon Colegrove the likely leader this season.
The girls’ team will be led by seniors Megan Mills and Jordyn Hoskins. The primary goal for the team will be qualifying for state.
The 2011 cross country season began Sept. 1 in Lebanon.
This will be only the fifth full year for the swimming and diving team at Nixa High School. That doesn’t mean that the program hasn’t seen its share of success.
After a solid 2011 season, first-year head coach Pete Hill saw, like other Nixa sports teams this year, a core of valuable seniors graduating and leaving the team.
While hoping for the best, Hill realizes that it might take a while for the program to rebuild. He also feels that the young guys on the team will gain experience quickly and provide a spark.
His team will be led by Jack Shirey and Austin Campbell, the lone starters that return from last year.