Extra Points: Brian Spano 11/29
By Brian Spano PrepsKC Senior Writer
I realize that what I'm about to write probably won't make me too popular with the citizens on the eastern side of Missouri.
Over the past decade or so, the balance of the high school football power has shifted dramatically to the western side of the state, and there isn't much argument against that.
If you drew a line down the center of the state from Iowa to Arkansas that goes right through Columbia and looked at the number of schools that won state championships on the western side of the state versus the eastern side of the state in Classes 1 through 6, the statistics are quite stunning.
For the sake of this argument, the state titles I'll be referring to date back to 2002 since that's as far back as the Missouri State High School Activities Association goes back on their website.
So, let's start with Class 1. Since 2002, that's 11 years, seven state champions have come from the western side of the state. Penney and Orrick, each with two over that time span, have four of the last six titles. Valle Catholic, in Ste. Genevieve, Mo. won in 2010 and 2011.
Unfortunately for Penney, they won't get the opportunity to defend their state crown as Valle Catholic returns to face Marceline. Chalk this one up as a win for the east side.
Class 2 has also has seven champions coming from the west in the last 11 years. Penney also won one in 2010. This year, Lawson goes up against defending state champion Lamar, so no matter the outcome, this one goes to the west side.
In Class 3, just one school from the east side of Missouri has won a state title in the last 11 years, and that was MICDS in 2004. That won't change this year as Maryville returns to defend its title against Seneca, a school located near Joplin. Over the years, Harrisonville has been the big dog of Class 3 winning five championships since 2002.
As we move into the larger schools, things don't change much. In Class 4, the west side has won 10 of the last 11. Webb City, near Joplin, has won five of the last seven, and will be going for its fourth in a row this weekend against Helias. Kearney has won three during that same time. Clayton, in 2004, was the only St. Louis school to win.
Jumping to Class 5, the west has won six of 11, taking two of the last three. Lee's Summit West won in 2010, and is back this year with an excellent opportunity for its third state championship, Staley won in 2011, and Kirkwood won last year. Class 5 has gone in streaks. From 2003 to 2006, schools from the west won four straight with Ray-Pack taking three, and then from 2007 to 2009, the east took three in a row.
Finally, we come to Class 6. Seven of 11 have gone to the west, including the last three. Blue Springs, the defending state champs, will face Rock Bridge out of Columbia Friday night, and the way they have plowed through their opponents this season, I can't see any reason they won't be taking their second consecutive trophy home. This is the first time ever that a school out of St. Louis won't be represented in the Class 6 title game. Over the last 11 years, the titles have been shared by Blue Springs, Blue Springs South and Rockhurst.
I leave you with this final stat: of the 66 title games played across the six classes over the last 11 years the west side of that state has won 47. That's 71 percent.
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