What Steve Said: Steve Bubalo 10/6
By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
If it feels like the season has flown by so far, at least on the Missouri side, well, it has.
Two weeks. That’s all that is left in the regular season In Missouri as the calendar turns to October, so let’s see where some of the area teams stand in each class as we head down the home stretch.
Class 6. Man. Every week it’s a full slate of great games and right now Blue Springs has proven they are the team to beat. They have the most well-rounded team with an explosive offense and a defense that keeps getting better with more reps. They were seen as the area favorite coming into the season and have proven why to this point.
Lee’s Summit and Rockhurst might be the closest challengers at this point, although both have lost to the Wildcats earlier in the season. As usual, the Tigers have an explosive offense, scoring 40-plus in all but two games. But do they have enough defense?
On the flip side, Rockhurst is looking for offense. Unranked to begin the year, the Hawklets are 5-1 but don’t have that dynamic player on offense that they usually have. The next two weeks will go a long way to telling what kind of challenger Rockhurst could be, as they travel to top-ranked CBC and host Jefferson City.
You can’t talk about Class 5 without bringing up William Chrisman. After going 1-9 in Scorpio Horn’s first season as head coach and 4-7 last season, the Bears are 7-0 behind star quarterback James Bailey. They picked up a program-defining win a couple of weeks ago against Staley and are poised to go 9-0 in the regular season. What a story.
But Staley can’t be counted out, nor can Park Hill South. The Panthers have quietly gone 6-1 and are now ranked No. 6 right behind Chrisman thanks to a stout defense. Liberty is sitting at No. 10 and will look to get back in the win column after two close losses to the Panthers and Platte County. They surprised some people with their 5-0 start and can’t be taken lightly.
A team to watch might be the Belton Pirates. After an 0-2 start, they’ve got a solid win over Platte County and nearly beat Class 4 top-ranked Kearney.
Speaking of Kearney and Platte County, they lead the way in Class 4, ranked No. 1 and No. 3, respectively. The Bulldogs have won 19 straight games and have been steamrolling teams this season, other than the close win over Belton. As usual, they’ve proven to be one of the most balanced teams in the state, being held to less than 30 points just once, while only allowing more than two scores in a game just twice. And much like Rockhurst, we’ll learn a lot about the Bulldogs in the next two weeks when they play Staley and Platte County. The only above .500 team Kearney has seen this season is Belton, so the competition takes a big jump in the final two weeks.
The Pirates had one of the more impressive wins of the season in September, crushing Harrisonville 49-0 to get everyone’s attention. They’re another offensive juggernaut, but have had some trouble slowing down some of the top offenses in the state. The Oct. 14 game against Kearney is big.
Maryville once again appears to be the class of Class 3, crushing opponents so far to the tune of a 7-0 mark. Lurking at No. 6 is Richmond, a perfect 7-0 with a bevy of blowouts, as well. After winning a state championship in 2010 and coming one game shy of getting back to the title game in 2011, head coach Rob Bowers as the Spartans back in the conversation as one of the top teams in Class 3 after going 24-19 the last four seasons.
Prior to last week’s 53-27 win over Holden, the Spartan defense had only allowed 15 points in its previous six games.
Similarly, Lexington has been mowing through teams and finally broke through into the Class 2 rankings at No. 10 thanks to a 7-0 start. The offensive is explosive, but the defense has been just as good, pitching three shutouts and allowing only 25 points in seven games. The Minutemen will face their biggest tests to close out the regular season, hosting both Lafayette County and Richmond. They started 8-0 last season before falling to the Spartans, so revenge could be on their minds.
Warren Sheppard is the real deal in the backfield for the Minutemen. He’s a load back there.
Lawson can’t be discounted, either, despite falling out of the rankings after a loss dropped them to 5-2.
Rounding things out in Class 1 are Case-Midway and Wellington-Napoleon. Both sit at 6-1. The Tigers have scored 50-plus in their last three games. They love to sling it around, which isn’t what you normally see at that level.
It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out heading into the playoffs. The Kansas City area is loaded, as usual, with top-level team that could challenge for titles. If I had to put my money on it Blue Springs and Kearney have what it takes to represent the area on that final weekend, but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see others there as well.
The more the better. Here’s to what should be a thrilling final couple of weeks before it’s one-and-done.
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