MISSOURI CLASS 6: Blue Springs (12-0) at Eureka (11-1), 7 p.m. Friday
By SAM McDOWELL and KATHLEEN GIER
The Kansas City Star
The regular season offered little reason to think the Blue Springs Wildcats would be challenged in their defense of the Missouri Class 6 state championship. The postseason has provided even less evidence. The Wildcats destroyed Lee’s Summit 63-21 last Friday. Lee’s Summit lost only twice this season, with both defeats coming against Blue Springs by at least 40-point margins. Eureka has scored at least 31 points in every game of its current 10-game winning streak. But it has holes in its defense. It’s a safe bet that running back Dalvin Warmack, quarterback Ian Brown and receivers Darrius Shepherd and Kaleb Prewett will expose those weaknesses.
KANSAS CLASS 6A: Shawnee Mission East (10-1) vs. Olathe North (8-3), 7 p.m. Friday
Olathe North was one of the few teams to keep it close with Shawnee Mission East in the regular season, and now it will get another chance to knock off the No. 2-seeded Lancers in the Kansas 6A semifinals. Shawnee Mission East won the first matchup 23-22 and has won five consecutive games since an overtime loss to Lawrence Free State on Oct. 11. Olathe North, though, is coming off a big upset victory against the top-ranked Firebirds last week and has won six of its last seven.
MISSOURI CLASS 5: Kearney (11-1) at Lee’s Summit West (11-1), 7 p.m. Friday
Lee’s Summit West has won its past seven games by an average of 36 points, and the Titans really found something with Brenner Clemons leading the Wildcat package. But they would be wise not to overlook Kearney, which has plenty of weapons on offense — running back Brock Broughton, quarterback Austin Hinck and wideout Zack Davis to name a few — to couple with a defense that allowed only one of the past seven opponents to reach double digits.
KANSAS CLASS 5A: Blue Valley (8-3) vs. Blue Valley West (8-3), 7 p.m. Friday
When these two teams met in the regular season, Blue Valley held an 11-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but Blue Valley West scored 12 unanswered points, including a game-winning field goal, winning 18-17 for the district title. Blue Valley West has won five straight games, with the latest being a 38-24 victory against Bishop Miege last Friday. Blue Valley has won two straight, including a 38-0 victory against previously undefeated Mill Valley a week ago.
MISSOURI CLASS 4: Liberty North (9-4) at Jefferson City Helias (11-2), 1:30 p.m. Saturday
There came a point in the middle of the season — after Liberty North had dropped its fourth game in six weeks — when Eagles coach Ken Clemens wondered if this wasn’t the breakout season he had envisioned. But the Eagles found their stride at the right time. The defense posted its second straight shutout Saturday against previously unbeaten Bolivar. The task gets tougher for the Eagles when they travel to face Helias, a Class 4 team that spent most of the season playing — and beating — stiff competition from bigger classes.
KANSAS CLASS 4A: Paola (11-1) vs. Coffeyville (11-1), 7 p.m. Friday
Since a week two loss to Baldwin, Paola has rattled off 10 straight wins to get to the Kansas 4A semifinals. Paola defeated Piper last Friday 27-21, the ninth time in 11 games the Panthers had held their opponents to 21 points or fewer. Coffeyville, which defeated Baldwin 35-27 last week, has scored at least 35 points in each of its playoff games and hasn’t been held under that number since a loss to Pittsburg.
MISSOURI CLASS 2: Lawson (11-2) at Blair Oaks (12-1), 1:30 p.m. Saturday
With only three returning starters on offense and defense combined, Lawson head coach Todd Dunn expected something of a rebuilding year this fall. Wrong. After a 32-0 loss to Maryville to open the season, Lawson responded with 11 victories over its past 12 games. The Cardinals look to advance to the Missouri Class 2 championship game for the first time since winning the title in 2007.