Extra Points: Brian Spano 8/12
By Brian Spano PrepsKC Senior Writer
As I peruse the week-by-week schedule of the upcoming high school football season, the one and only prediction I can make is that this will be yet another unpredictable season.
Oh sure, perennial powers Blue Springs, Blue Springs South and Rockhurst will be the top Class 6 teams on this side of the state. The only question there is which team will represent the western side of the state in St. Louis Thanksgiving weekend.
Class 5 will be a different story. There is so much talent among all the schools in Class 5. Over the last several years, the number of schools has grown and so has the parity among the teams.
Since 2008, four different teams have represented the Kansas City area in the Class 5 Show-Me Bowl, starting with Raytown South, Fort Osage, Lee's Summit West, Staley and Fort Osage again last year. Going back to the previous five years, three teams from the area made it to the state championship game in Park Hill, Raymore-Peculiar three times and Belton.
When you take a look at Class 4, the last five years has been dominated by Webb City with Kearney winning the title in 2009. And in Class 3, only two teams from the Kansas City area made it to the title game in the last five years. It was all Harrisonville the previous five years.
What I'm getting at by bringing up these statistics is that the landscape has changed so much in just the last five years in high school football and that any team has a chance to make to the title game.
When you factor in the new playoff system in Missouri, which enters its second year this season, all a team has to do is get hot at just the right time, and anything can happen.
Well, the right time begins Aug. 30 for the Missouri schools, and the big games right out of the chute appear to be that budding rivalry between Lee's Summit West and Staley, a Class 3 semifinal rematch between Harrisonville and Helias, Liberty at Winnetonka and Kearney vs. North Kansas City.
There's no rest for the weary in a 10-game football schedule. The path to St. Louis, regardless of class always seems to go through Blue Springs, and a good Class 5/Class 6 match in Week 2 is set when Fort Osage travels to Blue Springs South.
In Week 3, it's the annual clash of two storied and titanic programs when Blue Springs and Rockhurst butt heads. It might not be the only time they will see each other this season.
There's an interesting matchup in Week 4 when Oak Grove travels north to face St. Pius X for a Class 3 battle and postseason seedings on the line.
Raytown South visits Liberty North during the fifth week of the season in a rematch of a 20-7 victory for the Cardinals last year. The key for South was keeping Eagles all-everything running back Antwynn Beavers out of the end zone.
Heading into the second half of the season, Fort Osage and Staley square off in Week 6 in what is sure to be a physical match. This may be another case where these two teams could see each other in the postseason like they did last season in the Class 5 quarterfinals.
Let's just call Week 7 rivalry week as these games are all scheduled: Blue Springs South/Blue Springs, Lee's Summit North/Lee's Summit, Raytown/Raytown South just to name a few.
Defending Class 3 champion Maryville hosts Savannah for a classic Midland Empire Conference game in Week 8. For those who don't get outside the city limits to see their high school football, this will be a prime opportunity to witness a great game.
To close out the regular season in Missouri, look north of the river again as Winnetonka and Kearney match up in a key Suburban Small Six Conference game that could go a long way to determine a league champion as well as district seeding.
So now the schedules are set. The days are getting shorter, and soon the weather will be cooler. In just a matter of weeks, get ready to make those predictable Friday nights unpredictable.
Brian Spano is a Senior Writer for PrepsKC.
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