What Steve said: Steve Bubalo 10/23
By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
What’s so fun about playoff football is that it can be so unpredictable.
I’ve spent most of this season covering games with teams from Class 5 and Class 4, and while I think there are Kansas City area favorites to make a run at a state title, there are no guarantees.
Nowhere is that more evident than in Class 5, where as I mentioned a few weeks ago, it is stacked.
Heading into playoff action, five of the top seven teams in Class 5 reside on the Kansas City side of the state with Fort Osage leading the way, as it has since week 1.
Behind the Indians are Staley (3), Winnetonka (4), Park Hill (6) and Liberty North (7).
While Fort Osage is the deserved favorite to make it through this gantlet, you could make a case for each team.
To me, Park Hill feels like the wild card in this thing, and not in a sense that it would be surprising if they advanced, but in the sense that they were a bit of an unknown coming into the season.
They were just 3-7 a year ago and haven’t played any of the other area teams ahead of them in the rankings, though Fort Osage, Staley and Liberty North all played each other and have a sense of what to expect.
But the Trojans did announce their presence in week 1 with a drubbing of Blue Springs South, and then just a few weeks ago they held off another Class 6 team in Lee’s Summit.
Behind a defense that has been stout all season and the legs of Matt Harris, Park Hill’s run will be just one interesting storyline in Class 5.
Just think about this: Next week could bring us the first possible showdown if Staley and Liberty North can advance. Look ahead to the following week – yes, I know, I’m looking way too far ahead, but it’s fun to think about – we could have Fort Osage vs. Winnetonka and Park Hill vs. Staley or Liberty North.
In Class 4, Kearney appears to be the leader of the pack, but two teams I saw this past Friday night could be factors as well.
Platte County (8-1) and Raytown South both have some impressive firepower on the offensive side of the ball. While the Cardinals have big-play ability behind quarterback Jabril Cox, they need Cox to be able to come back from the knee injury he suffered against the Pirates. If he does, I could see the Cardinals winning at least two, even three playoff games.
Meanwhile, the Pirates are much like Park Hill, as they’re coming off a 4-6 season and were nowhere near the rankings when the season began. But thanks to guys like Alex Minter, Michael McNair and Aliek Reed, the Pirates are dangerous.
Two wins could set up Platte County to avenge its lone loss of the season, a lopsided defeat at the hands of Kearney. I think the rematch will happen, and I think the Pirates will be much better prepared.
Class 4 also has some teams lurking in the background like Savannah, Smithville and Harrisonville.
So while Fort Osage and Kearney might be the favorites, it won’t be easy. It never is come November.
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