Falcons, 'Hounds set to battle for spot in state championship game

Blair Oaks will host Maryville on Saturday in a Class 3 semifinal game. (Rod Smith/KRCG13)

WARDSVILLE --- As a graduate of the original old school --- not to mention the Air Force Academy --- is this what you'd expect from Terry Walker's football team?

The spread offense? The Fun Gun? Spread 'me out and hang 'em high?

No. The next thing you know, Walker will be on Facebook posting things about his cat, accompanied by smiley faces.

"Had you asked me five years ago if I was going to run the spread," the Blair Oaks head coach said, "I'd have said, 'Heck no, that's never going to happen.'"

But it has. And this spread 'em out aerial show, led by scintillating junior quarterback Nolan Hair, is doing just fine, thanks.

"When you're trying to play to the strengths of your kids," Walker continued, "it would be doing them a disservice if we weren't putting them in spread formations. That's what we have, that's who we are. That being said, we try to practice as physically as we possibly can, because the knock I've always had against spread teams is that they're not physical enough. We try to combat that daily with our practices.

"But at the end of the day, the system we run suits our kids ... and they love it."

And they do it very, very well. It's carried the second-ranked Falcons (13-0) to the Class 3 semifinals where they'll host the seventh-ranked Maryville Spoofhounds (11-2) at the Falcon Athletic Complex at 1 p.m. Saturday.

"We know Maryville has a great program and those kids are going to play hard," Walker said. "They're going to be fundamentally sound and technically sound, and we're going to have to execute at a high level if we want to be successful."

The biggest question last week --- perhaps the biggest question of the season for the Falcons --- came in Saturday's quarterfinal rematch with top-ranked McCluer South-Berkeley.

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