Landon Poppa and TJ Hopkins, Mound City Football

Landon Poppa and TJ Hopkins, Mound City Football

(Mound City) -- The defending state champions and top-ranked Class 8-Man team in Missouri just keeps on winning.

Taylor Standerford’s Mound City Panthers (2-0) won for the 15th straight time on Friday evening, rolling to 56-8 win over Stewartsville.

“It was the second game of the season, so you want to see a lot of improvement from the week one game,” Standerford said. “I thought we did. Tackling was much better, and our guys just executed the game plan pretty well.”

In the win, the Panthers rushed for 235 yards and six touchdowns, including a pair of running scores from seniors Dylan George and TJ Hopkins. The two combined for 150 yards on just seven carries. Meanwhile, junior quarterback Landon Poppa threw just two passes and completed them both for touchdowns to George and another senior Grant Nauman.

“One thing we still have to work on is starting the game a little bit faster,” Standerford added. “We started a little sluggish, but once we finally got going we were rolling.”

Mound City faced very little strife throughout last year’s undefeated season, winning every game by blowout fashion with the exception of their thrilling 36-32 state championship-clinching win over Worth County. With plenty of standouts back from that team, Coach Standerford believes this year’s team has many of the same characteristics as the 2018 bunch.

“We’re missing a few key guys from last year’s team,” Standerford said, “but overall we’re doing a lot of good things. We’ve still got some guys learning positions. Once we do that, I think we’ll be better. From these first couple weeks, we’ve just got to fix a few small things.”

Coach Standerford, who is in his second year as head coach and has a perfect 15-0 mark, will take his team on the road again this week when they meet an up-and-coming and state No. 8 Albany squad.

The Warriors are 2-0 with impressive victories over Veritas Christian (Kansas) and now-No. 9 Stanberry. The latest win over the perennially-successful Bulldogs was by a 78-24 final.

“Albany is a really good football team,” Standerford said. “Every year, they’re well-coached and do those little things right. I think they have some players really buying into the philosophy, and they’re playing hard. That’s one thing I’ve noticed from this year to last year – they play so much harder.”

Through two games, senior Dawson Butterfield has 229 yards rushing and six touchdowns on the ground. Junior Kaeden Hutchinson has also been a major receiving threat with 135 yards and three touchdowns on nine catches from junior quarterback Tryce Floyd.

Even with last year’s 58-6 win over Albany fresh on the memory, Coach Standerford is stressing this year’s team is a different group.

“They’re always downhill, falling forward getting that extra yard,” he said. “They were young last year and those guys have another year of experience. Offensively, they run the same thing. Defensively, they’ve switched some things up that really benefits them right now. They’ve come out and executed. We’re going to have to be ready.”

Jaden Driskell will be in Albany on Friday evening for the Red Oak Chrysler Football Connection Show. Full Week 3 coverage begins on KMA 960 and KMA-FM 99.1 at 6:20 PM.

Listen to the complete interview with Coach Standerford below.