The old cliché is that matchups between rivals with familiar — and friendly — coaches yield no surprises for either team.
But don’t be so sure about tonight’s showdown at Glendale’s Lowe Stadium, joked Kickapoo High School football coach Joel Wells on Wednesday.
“We’ve got a couple (trick plays) that he doesn’t know about,” Wells said about first-year Glendale coach Tyler Overstreet, his former quarterback.
Kickapoo and Glendale will meet at 7 p.m., with the Falcons (1-3) having a chance to knot the all-time series at 22 in the Ozark Conference rivalry, which began in 1971.
Wells, in his second year at Kickapoo, will try to get his first win in the series against Overstreet, a standout under center for Nixa a decade ago.
Overstreet, a first-year head coach, said Monday at the city Quarterback Club luncheon that he thinks he knows all of the tricks of Wells, a coaching mentor of his.
“We’ve been practicing defense against ‘Magic,’ ” Overstreet said then, referencing a Wells favorite where a wide receiver catches a lateral, then throws deep to another wide receiver streaking down the field.
Wells said his team practiced this week defending against “Magic,” in case his former player had ideas of using his own trick against him.
But Wells said Glendale week has been more about the Chiefs (2-2) cleaning up mistakes.
“We know we have to get better,” Wells said. “We’re more concentrating on ourselves than Glendale. We’re trying to improve ourselves at each position and go from there.”
Wells said the team spent the week working on blocking, tackling and ball-handling — more like a preseason camp week than a week leading up to a big rivalry game.
“We’re just being patient in everything we’re doing and knowing our assignments,” junior running back/linebacker John Fuchs said. “We just need to execute.”
The Thursday homecoming kickoff should make a large crowd even larger, as it’s the only football game in town and could attract regional interest.
Homecoming week has been a somber one around Glendale, though, as students have mourned the loss of schoolmates McKinley and Grayson Lambert, who were among five killed early Saturday in a plane crash near Willard.
Still, Overstreet said the Falcons have been focused, although they could be without two starting offensive linemen and two starting defensive linemen because of injuries.
“We’re just going to move them over and move the next guy up,” Overstreet said. “But with rivalry games, we let the community and the parents and the fans hype it up a little more. We just want to play hard, and we’re playing to win.”
While the focus this week has been on fixing mistakes, the Kickapoo coaching staff did not have to say too much to motivate the Chiefs.
“They just like to say: ‘It’s Glendale,’ ” Fuchs said. “We should know what that means.
“It’s Glendale, so we’re all really pumped.”