What Steve said: Steve Bubalo 9/24
By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
There was a lot to digest last Friday night as I watched Fort Osage rally to earn a thrilling 24-20 win over Staley.
Obviously, the biggest was the 79-yard, game-winning touchdown from Skylar Thompson to Willie Penamon. There was also Staley’s gutsy performance on the road against the top-ranked team in Class 5. There was the atmosphere that resembled a playoff game.
Then there is this final thought: Holy cow, Class 5 is stacked. And I don’t mean in the entire state. I’m just talking about the Kansas City area.
Five Kansas City area teams currently are ranked in the top 10 of the state in Class 5 – Fort Osage, Winnetonka, Staley, Liberty North and Park Hill.
It all starts with the Indians, as they are more than deserving of the top spot. They have possibly the most impressive resume of any team in the state at this point in the season, no matter the class.
Not only do they have the win over Staley Friday night, but they also have wins over top 10-ranked Class 6 opponents in Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit.
Thompson and Jesse McBee are a handful on offense, and Jonah Tuimaseve is a beast at linebacker. I felt like I heard his name on nearly every tackle.
Staley, Liberty North and Winnetonka have all proven at times that they have what it takes to challenge the Indians, but each has had hiccups along the way.
Winnetonka hung tight with Class 6 top-ranked Lee’s Summit West a couple of weeks ago, getting as close as 41-35 in the fourth quarter before falling short. Then, they had a surprising loss last week to Class 4 Platte County.
Staley was unable to keep up with Blue Springs in the season opener and then let the lead slip away to the Indians.
Liberty North might have one of the best defenses in the state, allowing single-digit points in four of five games, including three shutouts, but they struggled to score against Kearney (a 9-6 loss) and blew a 17-0 lead against Staley.
Then there’s the dark horse, Park Hill.
The Trojans came into the season unranked and raised a few eyebrows by dismantling Blue Springs South in week one. They’ve yet to be challenged this season, outscoring opponents 40-11 during their 5-0 start.
They should improve to 6-0 this week against Ruskin before their biggest test of the season comes Oct. 6 against Lee’s Summit. That game will tell a lot, considering that as of right now, the combined record of the teams accounting for Park Hill’s five wins is just 9-16.
Park Hill and Winnetonka strike me as similar teams with explosive offenses, while Staley and Liberty North give off that vibe of a smash-mouth style of football, staring with their defenses.
But they’re all chasing the Indians right now, who have shown to have the best combination of offense and defense at the midway point of the season.
Friday night’s Fort Osage-Staley game showed us the best of what Class 5 to offer, and it’s only week five. I can only imagine what the games will be like once November rolls around.
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