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Third and long: Ryan Edwards 11/27Photo Credit: Ryan Edwards

What if I told you that the two teams left standing in Class 6 are the two teams I thought we’d see in the Class 6 State Championship game?

Yes, I expected Raymore-Peculiar and DeSmet to be playing each other once the season started --- although, there was a cloud hanging over the St. Louis metro for much of the season, due to COVID-19 protocols, but alas, here we are.

The Panthers (11-2) will have their hands full. The Spartans (6-0) are riding an extended 20 game win streak coming into the state championship that stretches back to the 2019 season, after defeating Fox 13-0.

Not only have the Spartans played seven less games than Ray-Pec, they are the far more talented team. According to DeSmet has 10 D1 players on its roster, including nine in the Class of 2021.

The one advantage that favors Ray-Pec is they’ve played one of the toughest schedules in the state. The Panthers have played the likes of Rockhurst, Liberty North, Lee’s Summit West, Park Hill, just to name a few.

Those teams gave Ray-Pec a run for its money throughout the season. The Panthers have been the most consistent team on the Missouri side for most of the season, however, there are some cracks in the foundation so to speak.

Over the course of the last two weeks, Ray-Pec’s high-octane offense has been shut down by Nixa and Liberty North respectfully.

Ray-Pec went into the quarterfinals against Nixa averaging 34.5 points per game and were held to 18 points and a pesky Liberty North defense held the Panthers to 24 in the semifinals.

But the area where Ray-Pec has been most consistent this season has been on the defensive side of the ball.

The Panthers come into the title game allowing 16.2 points a game, forcing 30 turnovers and have sacked the opposing quarterback 32 times.

For me, that’s the takeaway from the last two games Ray-Pec has played.

They have the ability to win ugly and if they can slow down DeSmet’s offense just enough, I think that Ray-Pec has a decent chance to win the game.