Hayti and Faucett are 466 miles apart, one at the bottom of the bootheel and the other planted firmly in Northwest Missouri.
In Class 1 that represents two of the favorites. Between the schools, many miles and lots of teams hoping to join the list of contenders.
Schools like Lincoln, Westran, Adrian, Midway and Penney each have the goal of joining the conversation of favorites.
It’s hard to imagine a lot of parity in a class where Hayti won the state title by a 44-0 score.
That’s what could happen in Class 1 this season, however. Defending champion Hayti lost five first-team all-state players to graduation.
Mid-Buchanan, who dropped a 14-13 decision in the semifinals to Lincoln, enters the season with high expectations. Behind junior quarterback Javan Noyes, the Dragons have gone from a team that was a surprise to begin the playoffs to a team with high expectations. Last season they entered the playoffs with a 5-4 record, before rattling off four straight wins.
On the north side of the metro, Penney joins Mid-Buchanan in District 7 and could provide one of the toughest challenges they see all year.
Meanwhile, the south side of the metro is lighter than it was last year. The WEMO conference is down to four 11-man teams, highlighted by Adrian and Cass-Midway.
Both teams had strong showings in their jamboree last Friday night, but both also had to get creative in scheduling with a host of other conference schools going to 8-man. Both schools will test themselves against bigger schools this season with Midway taking on St. Michael and Adrian facing Benton.
The Vikings will be led by all-state lineman Ike Riggs. Adrian, will use a big offensive line, averaging over 250 pounds. Both teams are on a likely collision course in District 3, with the hopes of a rematch in the quarterfinals with Lincoln, a team that ended both teams’ seasons.