The Moberly Spartans varsity football team is riding on the momentum of winning two consecutive "mud bath" victories at home - defeating School of the Osage 20-8 and shutting down conference rival Kirksville in Week 3 by a 31-0 score - as they hit the road Friday against their second North Central missouri Conference opponent of the season.
Moberly (2-1, 1-0 NCMC) will travel about 60 miles tomorrow to battle Fulton, a program the Spartans have defeated seven of the last 8 years including a 47-7 win last fall.
The Hornets football team is off to a 0-3 start and is struggling this 2012 season under head coach Pat Kelley (64-98) who is into his 17th year at the school.
Fulton is averaging about 200 total yards of offense (125 yds. rushing) and the Hornets have lost by an average score of 32-10 this fall. Coach Kelley returns 15 starters (8 offense, 7 defense) this season.
This kind of offensive outcome mirrors what Fulton did when they finished 2-8 during the 2011 football season. Last year the Hornets scored more than 14 points just once.
The Hornets have been much more successful throwing the football (124 yds. per game) than running it (78 yds per game).
Last week the Hornets suffered a 35-9 road loss to neighbor North Callaway of Kingdom City. Junior quarterback Joe Schlemeier did complete 10-of-23 passes for 131 yards in their game against the Thunderbirds and jr. running back Kegan Lee ran for 111 yards on 19 carries.
However, Fulton's defense could not prevent North Callaway from moving the chains often and yielded 352 rushing yards last Friday.
Schlemeier (6'4, 220) has thrown for 375 yards completing 29-of-70 passes in his first three games, but he also has thrown 6 interceptions.
His favorite target has been senior wide receiver Randall Cole, who leads the team in receptions with 12 while gaining 209 yds. Senior Chris Tilson has 6 catches going for 74 yards this year.
Defense has been Moberly's staple so far this season, allowing an average of only 12 points per game. In addition, it has been through the efforts of this unit that the Spartans' defense has given Moberly's offense some prime field position to work with.
Senior linebacker Ricky Webb and Colton Tremain lead the Moberly squad in total tackles with 37 and 30 respectively. Webb has been able to bring down ball carriers 27 times by himself, and Tremain has recorded three QB sacks.
Moberly's 'D' also has come up with 9 turnovers, including four interceptions, and nine quarterback sacks.
The Spartans' special teams unit has proved worth as well. Last week Webb booted a 47-yard field goal. He is averaging 37 yards per punt while Justin Connaway is averaging 33.
On kickoff returns, Gregg Bain has been dangerous. The sophomore has returned 5 with an average of 35 yards per return, including an 83-yarder for a touchdown.
Page 2 of 2 - Connaway enters his first year as starting quarterback and has completed 39-of-68 passes for 318 yards and three TDs, and has not thrown an interception.
Brandon Elkins has hooked up with Connaway 18 times for 152 yards and three scores. Nick Perkins and Blake Joiner both have six catches for 53 and 35 yards respectively.
In the ground game, senior running back Joe Galaske has covered 228 yards of real estate with 40 carries and Bain has 176 yards of rushing with 38 tries. Connaway has tucked the ball under 28 times for 111 yards this fall.