RE/MAX Big 3 Games of the Week

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: October 20, 2016 - 6:04 AM

Oak Grove at Pleasant Hill
7 p.m. Friday at Pleasant Hill Stadium

Two Missouri River Valley Conference West teams get together for a rematch with the loser going home for the rest of the year.

The teams are almost mirror images of themselves with 4-5 regular season marks and 2-3 records in the conference. Pleasant Hill might have the slight advantage after beating the Panthers a month ago 28-14. That game was at Oak Grove and now the Roosters get to host.

The Roosters are a young team that has shown flashes of taking big steps forward. The wins over Oak Grove and Odessa along with an early season win over Sedalia Smith-Cotton shows Pleasant Hill can compete with anyone. Now they will be tested under the ultimate pressure of postseason play.

Oak Grove has been on a similar roller coaster ride of a season. The Panthers bounced back from the loss to Pleasant Hill with a good win over Excelsior Springs only to lose its last two games to Harrisonville and Grain Valley.

In that Grain Valley loss the Panthers were shutout 7-0 and they will need to get their offense going if they want to keep their season alive.

As evenly matched as these teams are it will be the team that limits mistakes that is still playing next week.

Park Hill at Rockhurst
7 p.m. Friday at Dasta Stadium

The depth of Class 6 Missouri teams in the Metro is on display in this first round postseason matchup.

Park Hill and Rockhurst are both good enough to make a deep run in the playoffs in they were in any other district than the one they are in. Since neither school has that luxury one of its seasons will be over by around 10 p.m. Friday night.

Both teams are playing well heading into this game. Rockhurst bounced back from a tough close loss to Class 6 No. 1 CBC with a thrashing of Jefferson City. The Hawklets defense was spectacular as usual and the offense put up 49 points for its largest point total of the season.

Park Hill has won three straight games over Raymore-Peculiar, Liberty North and Blue Springs South. The Trojans defense has also been outstanding in that run allowing just 22 points in the final two games. At the same time the offense is averaging more than 30 points a game in its last five contests.

This game could come down to which team’s weakness hampers it more. Rockhurst has struggled to score at times and Park Hill’s defense will be a tough test. The Trojans have led at halftime of every game this season but they have three losses. If Park Hill can finish like it has the last three weeks that could be the difference in the game.

Raymore-Peculiar at Lee’s Summit
7 p.m. Friday at Bud Hertzog Stadium

Two teams coming off very different results meet with their seasons on the line.

Raymore-Peculiar entered last week struggling through a three-game losing streak. The Panthers had lost two close games to Blue Springs South and Park Hill before getting rolled by Lee’s Summit 44-23 two weeks ago. The three losses had turned a promising 4-1 start into a 4-4 record and questions about the season going forward.

The Panthers bounced back last week with an impressive 26-21 win at Blue Springs. Ray-Pec trailed in that game 14-0 in the first quarter only to rally for the big win. The defense was outstanding after giving up the early points and the Panther now look like the team that started strong.

Lee’s Summit was rolling heading into last week’s cross-town showdown with Lee’s Summit West. The Tigers had won seven straight after a season-opening loss at Blue Springs. The Titans ended that run with a 52-21 drubbing of Lee’s Summit in a game the Tigers never seemed to be a part of.

West did something no team had done for most of the season. The Titans forced standout quarterback Dalton Hill into three interceptions while bringing lots of pressure all night long. The Tigers offense will be faced with a similar type of attack again this week.

Ray-Pec will need another strong performance out of its defense to turn last week’s win into a late-season surge and keep its season alive. Lee’s Summit will need to forget about what happened against the Titans and start a new streak if it wants to keep playing.

Lawrence at Lawrence Free State
7 p.m. Friday at Firebirds Stadium

Two rivals meet in the final week of the regular season. No matter what the records this makes for a good game but again this year these teams are two of the best in Kansas 6A.

Free State comes in riding a four-game winning streak after a tough week No. 3 loss at Park Hill. The Firebirds have been winning in their style with a dual threat offense and a tough defense that has only allowed 31 points over its four straight wins. Included in that run was an impressive 35-0 result over a good Olathe Northwest team that might have been Free State’s most complete win of the year.

Lawrence heads to Free State licking its wounds from a 48-26 loss to Shawnee Mission East. The Lancers beat and beat up the Lions in the game knocking junior quarterback Dante Jackson from the game. He suffered a high ankle sprain and it is not known if he will be able to play this week.

It would be easy to say the Firebirds have the advantage with Jackson out but just a few years ago the teams were in a similar position in 2011 and shutout Free State to keep it out of the playoffs.

This game should be a great one that could go down to the last play.

Shawnee Mission East at Shawnee Mission West
7 p.m. Friday at Shawnee Mission South Stadium

Two rivals meet in the final game of the season with pride and playoff positioning on the line.

East enters as a team that is almost unable to stop. The Lancers have only one loss on the season and that came at Rockhurst when East fumbled the ball six times. Outside of that game the Lancers have rolled through their schedule.

West is a team that has had some impressive results like its season-opening 41-40 win over Lawrence Free State along with some tough losses coming to Blue Springs and Lawrence. The Vikings offense has been outstanding in its victories averaging more than 40 points in all five of its wins.

The question will be can the Vikings stop an East attack that is putting up almost 60 points a contest and seemingly can only be stopped by its own mistakes. The big test in this game is whether the Vikings defense can get enough stops to allow the talented West offense enough opportunities to score.

St. Thomas Aquinas at Blue Valley
7 p.m. Friday at Blue Valley Stadium

What looked like a showdown for the Eastern Kansas League title a week ago now looks like a game for playoff positioning after Aquinas’ shocking loss to a winless Blue Valley Southwest last week.

Blue Valley comes in with a perfect 7-0 mark looking to lock down the No. 1 seed in the Kansas 6A East bracket. A win and that is all locked up meaning the Tigers will play at home all the way until the 6A title game.

The Tigers are unbeaten and have the numbers to back it up. They are averaging right at 40 points a game on offense while surrendering just 11 points a game on defense. That average gets even better if you take out the wins over Bishop Miege and Mill Valley where each team scored 28 points.

Aquinas looked like one of the best teams in the Metro not just Class 5A until its 30-27 loss to Southwest. In that game the Saints starting quarterback went down and the Timberwolves got their first win of the year.

Now Aquinas is faced with losing two straight heading into the postseason and falling from the No. 2 to No. 3 seed and only hosting its first two possible playoff games. The Saints will need to settle the quarterback position if they want to have success in this game and get things rolling when elimination games start next week.