Class 5 wide open again this year
By Nick McCabe PrepsKC Staff Writer
Perhaps the most entertaining area bracket in recent years, Class 5 is once again seemingly wide open.
“I think there’s several good teams,” said Ryan Schartz who took his Fort Osage squad to St. Louis last year but came up short in the state title game. “It’s really anybody’s game.”
If there is a favorite in the minds of area coaches, Lee’s Summit West would have to be the team. The Titans are 9-1, winners of six in a row including a couple of statement victories the last four weeks against playoff bound Park Hill and Lee’s Summit.
“Lee’s Summit West has been playing really outstanding football,” said Staley coach Fred Bouchard whose Falcons are in the Class 5 bracket for the first time after competing in Class 4 their first two years. “Outside of them there’s a big cluster of teams that at different times have been really good and at different times are pretty common.”
Due to their placement in the middle of the bracket, the Titans will play at least two games before facing a local squad. First up Wednesday night will be 5-5 Parkview, a program on the rise. Then, with the advantage of a first-round bye, the opponent would be 10-0 Lebanon.
“We’ve got a tough side,” said head coach Royce Boehm who took the Titans to the 2007 Class 4 title. “But you’ve got to beat the best to be the best.”
Boehm declined to cry foul over Lebanon getting a bye while his team, also a district champion, will have to play in the first round.
“It is what it is for us,” he said. “We’re pretty banged up so I’d like to have those 10 days to heal up a little bit. But that’s the way it fell.”
The first local team the Titans could play would be cross-town rival Lee’s Summit in the quarterfinals. The Tigers face 6-4 Nixa Wednesday and, if they advance, 7-3 Branson Monday.
Raytown South, despite returning just five players with what coach David Allie calls “Friday night experience” off of last year’s semi-final squad, is back in the playoffs as district champions and sporting a solid 7-3 record.
“We’re very appreciative of having a bye this year,” Allie said, noting that last year his team wrapped up their regular season on Saturday before turning around and playing Wednesday in the playoffs. “We’re feeling pretty good about having that week off to heal and prepare for a team.”
That team will be either District 11 champ Park Hill South or Raytown who finished runner-up to Ray South in District 10. The Cardinals split regular season games against those two, losing 24-20 to Park Hill South and beating Raytown 14-0.
The bottom lines of the bracket have perhaps the most interesting collection of three teams. 7-3 Fort Osage, coming off a season finale loss to Park Hill South, will play 8-2 Staley. The winner will get district champ 7-3 Park Hill, who beat Staley in the District 12 opener 27-24.
Because of their district opening loss, Bouchard says his Falcons felt like the single elimination playoffs started two weeks ago.
“That sense of urgency was significantly raised when we lost that game,” he said. “And the kids have really responded with two pretty good games.”
William Chrisman Bears
Rich Hill Tigers
Park Hill South Panthers
Shawnee Mission North Indians
Grain Valley Eagles
Pleasant Ridge Rams
Blue Valley Tigers
Royal Valley Panthers
Sweet Springs Greyhounds