HIGH SCHOOLS

Northland high school football: Five games to watch

Updated: 2013-09-24T20:50:49Z

By SAM MCDOWELL

The Kansas City Star

Five must-see high school football games this weekend featuring Northland teams:

1. Platte County (3-1) at Kearney (3-1)

Well, this should be fun. The Suburban Blue Conference has played out like a guessing game thus far, and that has made for some real entertainment. Just look at last week's results. All six teams played games that were decided by one possession. Winnetonka, Platte County and Kearney remain unbeaten in league play, but at least one will fall this Friday. Platte County, the defending champion, is back in the mix once again with a defense that has forced eight turnovers in two games. Justin Mitchell has two interceptions. Here's the key matchup Friday in Kearney — Platte County linebacker Jesse Eggers against Kearney running back Brock Broughton. Eggers is the defending conference defensive player of the year. Broughton is the league's top tailback and one of its fastest players.

2. Liberty (3-1) at Blue Springs (4-0)

Lee's Summit spoiled a potential showdown of two undefeated teams when it dealt Liberty its first loss last week. Still, Liberty can keep its Suburban Gold Conference title hopes alive with a bounce-back win against conference favorite Blue Springs. That won't come easily, obviously. The Wildcats haven't lost a conference game since 2008, and after last week's victory overLee's Summit West, it appears they may be more loaded than they were a year ago when they won the Missouri Class 6 state championship. The key matchup Friday will be Liberty's sizable offensive line, led by guard Jacob Francis, against the Blue Springs defensive line, which includes Elijah Lee and brothers Carlos and Khalil Davis.

3. Grandview (2-2) at Park Hill South (2-2)

One of two trends will change Friday. Behind a high-powered offense, Grandview has been locked in a competitive game just about every week. The Bulldogs have been on the wrong end of such results in back-to-back losses to Winnetonka and Platte County — games decided by a combined 11 points. Park Hill South, on the other hand, hasn't played a game decided by fewer than 18 points. The Panthers have notched back-to-back blowout wins over Truman and Ruskin and seem to have found success in the running game. Four different players ran for touchdowns last week.

4. Raytown South (1-3) at Liberty North (2-2)

Raytown South expected to compete for a Suburban Blue Conference championship. Instead, the Cardinals opened the season with three straight losses. But they earned an important comeback conquest of St. Joseph Central last Friday behind a monster performance of running back Glenn Pargo, so it's certainly not too late to salvage the season. Liberty North lost its Suburban Blue Conference opener in heartbreaking fashion last Friday, 26-25 to Kearney. Again however, there's time to play catch up, especially in what is one of the most balanced conferences in Missouri.

5. Excelsior Springs (2-2) at Harrisonville (3-1)

Harrisonville enters its most important stretch of the regular season with Excelsior Springs, followed by games at Grain Valley and Oak Grove, all of great importance in the Missouri River Valley Conference West race. But first things first. Against Excelsior Springs the Wildcats face an intriguing under-the-radar team that has been competitive in four games under first-year coach Josh Buford. The Excelsior defense has been up and down and will have its hands full with Harrisonville quarterback Zach Davidson and tailback Austin Hopper, who has rushed for 506 yards and seven touchdowns.

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