Missouri Western football got off to an 0-1 start, but there is meaningful film to finally look at from players in new roles with increased responsibilities.
The Griffons showed a two-quarterback system with sophomore Anthony Vespo and freshman Reagan Jones over the course of a 24-20 loss at Central Oklahoma last Thursday.
Vespo made his second start to go with the 2019 regular season finale, leading three touchdown drives while going 13-for-28 passing for 169 yards and an interception. He also connected on explosive passes of 29, 31 and 45 yards.
“I think we’ve gotta be a little more consistent,” head coach Matt Williamson said. “I think he tried to force some things here and there. He made a couple really good throws, and it was really impressive. He could’ve ran a few times, got a couple first downs. He was just trying to look downfield. He did some really good things.”
As for Jones, a dual-threat out of Wichita, Kansas, he played in three drives over the course of the game. He completed 3 of 5 passes for 28 yards, including a 19-yarder to Cooper Burton, and ran twice for 12 yards in his first collegiate outing.
“He did some good things. That’s his first college action,” Williamson said. “He walked out there and did some great things, made some good checks, did some good things. We’ll continue to rep him, and he’ll continue to be a part of our offense. As we get more in our playbook, you’ll see him be involved.”
With both remaining in the plans for Thursday’s home opener against Fort Hays State (0-1), the Griffons will try to avoid their first 0-2 start since 2000.
Western hasn’t played a home game since Nov. 9, 2019, due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing last season to be canceled. The Griffons were 2-3 at home in ‘19, losing their first two games to No. 6 Northwest and No. 21 Central Missouri and dropping their Senior Day to Nebraska Kearney, 49-21.
“Come out to The Spratt. It’s about to get really electric,” Williamson said. “I can’t wait to have the whole community. If you’ve never been to a Thursday night at The Spratt, you’re missing out.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Junior forward Kaili Campbell recorded a hat trick in less than 10 minutes Sunday as part of a 4-1 win against Rockhurst. It’s only the second hat trick in program history.
Seven MIAA teams, including the Griffons, went 2-0 on opening weekend. Campbell is tied with two others with three goals.
Western is on the road this weekend to face Wayne State in Wayne, Nebraska, on Friday before to travel to Marshall, Minnesota, to face Southwest Minnesota State on Sunday.
Volleyball starts strong
Griffon volleyball went 3-1 at the Miner Invitational, winning both games Friday before sweeping Upper Iowa and falling to the hosts in four sets Saturday.
Ali Tauchen was named the tournament’s MVP and was named to the All-Tournament team with Allie Kerns and Jenna Boland.
The Griffons will travel to Owensboro, Kentucky, for the Kentucky Wesleyan Tournament this weekend. They’ll face Henderson State and West Virginia State on Friday before meeting Maryville and Montevallo on Saturday.
Cross country teams competed at the Augustana Twilight meet Friday night.
The Griffon women finished 12th overall among 27 teams and 329 runners.
Freshman Madison Nash finished 21st overall with a time of 18:54.83.
Ther Griffon men came in ninth out of the 31 teams that took part. Riley Gorham had the top time for Missouri Western as he finished 46th with a time of 20:51.69. Konner Larkin came in 53rd, while Tyler Blay finished 57th.
Golf tees off
Women’s golf will begin its fall season at the Central Region Preview on Tuesday and Wednesday in Blue Springs, Missouri. Both teams will be in action next Monday, with the women at the Northeastern State Classic in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and the men at the Washburn Invitational.