A quintet of top-notch prep football match-ups takes place this weekend as the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) continues its “Show-Me Bowl” finales.
After the Kirkwood Pioneers claimed the MSHSAA Class 6 title over Blue Springs, 31-14, at Faurot Field in Columbia this past Friday, the remaining five classes will crown champions in their respective pairings at Springfield’s Plaster Stadium.
Narratives this weekend include a pair of defending kingpins aiming to reclaim trophies, collectives charging for a return to the top and a plethora of first-timers looking to achieve newfound prize-winning status.
Here’s a look at the five remaining swan songs, listed from larger to smaller classification.
CLASS 5 CHAMPIONSHIP – SATURDAY 7 PM
FORT ZUMWALT NORTH (12-1) VS. VIANNEY (8-5)
Both squads, each inaugural Class 5 finalists, reached the weekend’s finale via three point dukes in their respective semifinal match-ups.
Fort Zumwalt North enters Saturday’s trophy game with last weekend’s 28-25 home triumph over Battle that was clinched by Panther kicker Matt Bennick’s 27-yard field goal as time expired. The win snapped FZN’s two-game losing streak against the Spartans in prior post-season meetings.
In the victory, Panthers senior quarterback Cade Brister had a pair of one-yard touchdown plunges that added to his state-leading scoring tally (43) while senior receiver Colton Maurer snared a 31-yard end zone strike.
North’s defense must rise to the occasion Saturday if it wishes to raise its inaugural Class 5 keepsake. Alongside Brister, a force in the team’s secondary, tackling is paced by junior linebacker Eli Paraheim and sophomore counterpart Jaylin Vaughn.
Meanwhile, Vianney enters Saturday’s tussle after its 34-31 semifinal home victory over Staley. The Golden Griffins trailed 31-14 at intermission and charged hard with twenty uncontested points in the second half. They thwarted the Falcons’ potential game-tying field goal attempt in the donnybrook’s final play to punch its Class 5 ticket to Springfield.
In the contest, multi-faceted sophomore Kyren Williams had three touchdowns via a pair of end zone gallops and a six-yard scoring catch while junior running back Tionne Harris had a six-yard touchdown romp. Sophomore quarterback Jake Luthy successfully connected with Williams numerous times in the lethal aerial attack.
The youthful Griffins posted a pair of on-paper upsets against powerhouse Chaminade and surging Staley in the last two rounds to reach the Class 5 finale. A trifecta is desired in Springfield Saturday night that effectively puts the exclamation point on a season filled with quantum leaps.
CLASS 4 CHAMPIONSHIP – FRIDAY 7 PM
KEARNEY (13-1) VS. HARRISONVILLE (11-3)
The narrative in Friday’s closer finds Kearney seeking back-to-back Class 4 titles while Harrisonville, a four-time Class 3 winner, aims for its first trophy since advancing to the tier in 2008.
Kearney reached the bracket showdown with a 14-10 semifinal grinder over Ladue Horton Watkins last weekend. The Bulldogs raced out to a 14-0 lead after one quarter but staved a steady charge by the Rams in the final 36 minutes en route to victory.
In the contest, Kearney senior quarterback Anthony Pritzel had a 38-yard touchdown romp and connected with classmate Jess Davis for a 42-yard catch that set the tone early and inevitably resulted in the winning score. As Ladue Horton Watkins looked to flip the scoreboard deep, senior linebacker Jacob Marshall recorded a quarterback sack and a stubborn Rams’ defense forced a pair of incompletions pushed them to the pay window.
Harrisonville is sky-high following its 32-15 semifinal victory over Parkway North last weekend. Clutching onto a five-point lead early in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats clawed its way to the 17-point duke that resulted in the squad’s sixth title game appearance in the last 13 years and a historical Class 4 champs debut.
Senior running back Morgan Selemaea rushed for 230 yards and four scores in the semifinal win and is expected to be the focal point again Friday night. Senior quarterback Brandon Eickhorst and preferred target Joe Snooks are also projected to guide the Wildcats to newfound status.
CLASS 3 CHAMPIONSHIP – SATURDAY 11 AM
MARYVILLE (14-0) VS. MONETT (13-1)
Saturday morning’s launcher between the wonderfully-named undefeated Spoofhounds, who seeks its first Class 3 title since 2013, and the hard-charging Cubs is projected to be a donnybrook.
According to school legend that dates back to the 1920s, former Maryville coach L.E. Ziegler “was so angry with the way his squad had looked in practice that, as an insult, he said they looked like a bunch of ‘Spoofhounds.’ The players mockingly referred to one another by this insult and the name stuck.” As of this writing, Maryville is the only school in the nation to possess that team name.
With its unblemished record heading into the Class 3 finale, the Spoofhounds are doggone good. Maryville thumped Miller Career Academy, 42-6, in Saturday’s semifinals round that was propelled by senior quarterback Trey Oglesby, whose pair of touchdown passes (34 and 37 yards) and a one-yard keeper were instrumental in 38 unanswered points scored in the contest.
Senior John Zimmerman snared both of Oglesby’s touchdown passes and also collected a 20-yard TD run in the dominant semifinal while sophomore running backs Eli Dowis and Tyler Houchin also had end zone romps. The Spoofhounds’ defense, which has held opponents to an average of 10 points in five games played this post-season, will be critical Saturday morning.
Monett, possessors of ten straight wins, reached the Class 3 trophy game with Saturday’s 42-0 semifinal dismantling of McCluer South-Berkeley and, in the process, earned its first trip to the state championships since 1977. To put history in perspective, when the Cubs last appeared in a MSHSAA finale, and won as a representative of Class 2A, gasoline was 62 cents a gallon.
But let’s fill up the tank and return to the here and now. In the shutout win over Berkeley, Cubs senior running back Michael Branch rushed for a pair of touchdowns and grabbed a six-yard red zone pass from senior quarterback Ian Meyer, who also contributed three end zone dashes. Monett’s semifinal defensive mauling was very impressive but they have to effectively collar the Spoofhounds’ tandem of Oglesby and Zimmerman Saturday midday in order to claim the Class 3 title and break a near 40-year drought in football gold.
CLASS 2 CHAMPIONSHIP – FRIDAY 3 PM
LAMAR (13-0) VS. TRINITY CATHOLIC (12-0)
On paper, it seems that Lamar, who has claimed the last five Class 2 titles, would be a shoo-in for another championship. However, undefeated Trinity Catholic is more than ready to break Lamar’s stranglehold based upon its consistent firepower displayed throughout the season.
Lamar pounded Brentwood, 62-19, in last weekend’s semifinals to reach another trophy tilt and push its consecutive winning streak to 34 games. Senior quarterback Matt Whyman rushed for 212 yards and four touchdowns in the victory while Tigers’ running backs Luke Hardmon, Stuart McKarus and Cooper Lucas each collected end zone romps. The defense has only allowed 48 points collectively in five post-season games.
Spanish Lake-based Trinity Catholic reached its first-ever championship game with a 45-29 road triumph over Lawson in the semifinals. Titans sophomore quarterback Isaiah Williams had five scores in the victory via four touchdown throwing strikes, resulting in 290 passing yards overall, and an 8-yard TD scamper that was pivotal in the win.
Senior receiver Darion Bolden and sophomore Marcus Washington each snared a pair of touchdown catches in the contest and the defense was spot-on deep. In the Class 2 showdown of unbeatens, the narrative will be Lamar’s stellar overall offensive game against Trinity Catholic’s youthful attack that might potentially collar the Tigers.
CLASS 1 CHAMPIONSHIP – SATURDAY 3 PM
PENNEY (14-0) VS. MONROE CITY (11-3)
Penney reached the trophy game by usurping Show-Me Bowl nemesis Valle Catholic, 33-19, Saturday at home to keep its undefeated record intact. In its victory over the defending Class 1 kingpin, Hornets senior quarterback Jaran Richman posted a trifecta of touchdown runs while classmate Brock Swindler netted 173 yards from 23 carries that included a pair of lengthy end zone scampers.
Monroe City, who finished last season 3-9, flipped the script, shot the plot and advanced to the Class 1 showdown via Saturday’s 34-28 home nail biter over Lincoln in a contest where the Panthers never threw a pass. No worries, as the ground game was solid. Sophomore running back Zach Osborn had 105 yards rushing, two red zone romps and a 75-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Senior Logan Minter, while providing stellar play at linebacker during the game, also collected a touchdown run.
Monroe City won the Class 2A title in 1994 and 1996, but this will be the first title game appearance for the Panthers in Class 1. Regardless of designation, a trophy is a trophy and the squad aims to poke the Hornets’ nest and succeed.
Tickets on-site in Springfield are $10 each day while children five and under are free. The weekend will be streamed online live at THIS LINK for a fee of $9.95. A majority of the match-ups (except for Class 4) can be heard locally on KCLC (89.1 FM) ONLINE FEED and all classes can be heard online at prepcast.com.
By trade, he is a six-time, regional Emmy Award-winning news videographer/editor for KTVI/KPLR-TV. By hobby, he is a writer for Arch City Media, dating back to February 2014. Emphasis is on featuring and promoting local women's sports, but will cover anything that is not reported by traditional media outlets. Also a contributor to local concert reviews.