What Steve said: Steve Bubalo 11/6
By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
A couple of weeks ago in this very same space I was expressing hope in a possible Odessa-Oak Grove rematch in the playoffs. I didn’t expect the road to the rematch to be an easy one for either team, but I knew how much fun it would be for these rivals to square off one more time this season.
My wish has been granted.
The two Class 3 state-ranked teams - Odessa No, 4, Oak Grove No. 9 - will face off in a rematch of Week 5 in what should be another exciting week of playoff action.
That Week 5 matchup between the Bulldogs and Panthers was a thriller. Odessa pulled out the win with a touchdown in the final minute, 21-14, its first win over the Panthers since 2010.
Both teams have lost one time since that game - both to Class 4 Harrisonville - so for the most part it has been business-as-usual for each.
After covering the first game between the two, it’s obvious that both defenses will have their hands full with the others respective run games, but one of the biggest matchups of the game for me is if the Panthers will be able to slow down 6-foot-7 wide receiver Josiah Bennett.
While the Bulldogs’ offense revolves around running back Kobe Hardin, Bennett was a difference maker in that first contest with a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winner.
Bennett spoke afterward about how he consistently sees double- and triple-teams from opposing defenses. It’ll be interesting to see if the Panthers do anything differently this time around to try and neutralize.
I expect this game to be similar to the first meeting. I expect it to be close throughout, but I do expect the Panthers to not have as many costly penalties and turnovers as the first game. This one could go either way, but I think the Bulldog defense is a little bit better and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bennett make a couple of game-changing plays through the air to help Odessa get the win and advance to the state quarterfinal game.
Another game that catches my eye is Blue Springs South and its attempt to knock off another top-five opponent when they travel to Francis Howell.
I was impressed with the way the Jaguars were able to control the game during last week’s dominating win over fourth-ranked Jefferson City.
Without knowing much about Francis Howell, one thing does stick out - a weak schedule. While sitting at 11-0 and No. 2 in the state rankings, they have played only one team with a winning record all season in Fort Zumwalt West, who they have two wins against.
That has led to a schedule full of easy victories, and i would almost guarantee the Vikings have yet to see an opponent anywhere near as good as the Jaguars.
The Jaguars won the game in the trenches against the Jays on both sides of the ball and I expect them to do the same against Francis Howell to put them one win away from another berth int he state championship game.
Those two games are just a number of great games on tap. Are Staley and Fort Osage headed for a battle in the state quarterfinals? Or will Truman or Park Hill be party-crashers? In Class 4, can Harrisonville keep its perfect season going against Center? Can Platte County avenge an early-season blowout loss to Kearney?
While in Class 2, Lafayette County will look to get back to the state quarterfinals, and Summit Christian looks to extend its magical season against top-ranked juggernaut Lamar.
Should be another fun Friday night under the lights.
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