Burroughs Football Looking To Settle Unfinished Business In State Playoffs
Bombers are seeking third straight trip to the Show-Me Bowl, after suffering back-to-back, heartbreaking losses in the state title game the last two years.
The battle cry for the 2012 John Burroughs football season is two simple words that somehow tell the gut-wrenching story of Bombers football the last three years.
That's what John Burroughs has with themselves. That's what it has with the rest of the state. That's even what it has with the Edward Jones Dome building itself -- the site of the Bombers heartache in the state title game the last two years.
John Burroughs has unfinished business, and its mission all season long is to finally finish it.
"The whole team knows it," star running back Ezekiel Elliott said, after scoring six touchdowns in Burroughs' 50-6 district championship win over Soldan last Monday, which gives him an area-best 41 scores this season.
"We've been talking about it all summer. It's our motto. We have some unfinished business to attend to. And we're not gonna stop until we take care of it."
Saturday afternoon, Burroughs can take another major step towards finishing its business, if it can get past upstart Park Hill Central, and advance to next weekend's state football semifinals.
Park Hills Central had only won districts one time before this season, and the Rebels had never won as many as 10 games in one season before.
But they did that this year too. And now Park Hills Central is looking for what would be the biggest win in its school history, Saturday afternoon, when Burroughs will travel an hour and a half south to Park Hills for a Class 3 state quarterfinal game.
"All we know about them is they have a good team," Frerotte said. "Anybody that's still playing this late in the year has got to be a good team. So we won't take them lightly. But I don't know much more than that. We'll have to watch some film, and study them, and try to be ready to play them on Saturday."
Burroughs has an altogether different mission.
The Bombers must get back to the Class 3 state championship game, and win it this time, after suffering heartbreaking losses in the Show-Me Bowl the last two years in a row.
In 2010, the Bombers held a 20-0 lead at one point in the first half, but couldn't hold the lead in the second half, and eventually lost to Richmond (MO) 21-20.
Then last year, in what will go down as one of the most exciting championship games in Missouri football history, Burroughs lost to Logan-Rogersville 21-14.
The Bombers looked headed for a tying touchdown in the final seconds, and were probably headed for overtime, but Elliott fumbled at the goalline on a play where it looked like he might score.
"You've got a bunch of kids here that experienced that heartache, and they've just been focused on getting back to the Dome," Burroughs head coach Gus Frerotte said. "We don't talk about it a whole lot. We talk more about getting better everyday, and taking every game one at a time. But you can feel it. These kids want their chance to finish what they started."
That's been apparent in Burroughs' play this season, as the Bombers -- the No. 1-ranked team in Missouri Class 3 -- have won all 11 games they've played, and none of them has been close.
Burroughs has scored at least 33 points in every game, and is averaging 43.5 points a game.
In fact, the only game that's even been remotely close all year, was the one in which Burroughs' opponent asked not to show up, and took a forfeit rather than play the top small-school team in the state.
"That just killed me, man, I wanted to play," Elliott said. "But that's just our team. We just want it so bad, and we're just trying to put ourselves in position to get there again."
Park Hills Central stands in the way.
The Rebels are 10-2 this season, after knocking off southeast Missouri powerhouse Ste. Genevieve (MO) in the district title game on Monday.
Those 10 wins are also a program record in what has been arguably the best season in Park Hills Central history.
But knocking off the winningest program in Missouri football the last three years, and ending Burroughs' remarkable playoff run would be an even bigger feat.
And that's the next test John Burroughs must face.
"It doesn't matter to us who we play," Elliott said. "We know we have to go out and execute on offense, and shut people down on defense. We're just getting closer and closer to where we want to be."
A victory on Saturday will leave the Bombers just one more win away from another date with destiny down at the Dome.