The Missouri high school playoffs have reached the district championship round. Here are five games to watch on Friday:
1. Class 5: Liberty North (8-3) at Park Hill (10-0)
The Missouri Class 5, District 8 championship game pits one of the state's top-performing offenses against one of its premier defenses.
Park Hill has scored at least five touchdowns in every game this season. Backup running back Matt Harris ran for 280 yards and three touchdowns in the win against Liberty last week.
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But the Trojans haven't come across a defense that matches the quality of Liberty North. The Eagles have recorded four shutouts this season, and it’s held four more opponents scoreless through the first half. It avenged a midseason loss to Staley last week by holding the Falcons to less than one yard per carry.
Senior Sal Silvio leads Liberty North with 101 tackles this season, including 13 for loss.
2. Class 5: Winnetonka (8-2) at Fort Osage (10-0)
A pair of teams that have never won a football state championship are in the thick of the race for the Missouri Class 5 title this season.
Fort Osage, the top-ranked team in the state, is seeking its third trip to the Edward Jones Dome in six years, but it came up empty in its previous two tries. The Indians force opponents into a pick-your-poison conundrum. Junior quarterback Skylar Thompson has thrown 21 touchdowns in 10 games. Senior tailback Jesse McBee has run for 15 touchdowns and caught six more this season.
But Winnetonka has plenty of weapons, too, a list that starts with highly-recruited two-way player Marquise Doherty, who has battled a shoulder injury this season but still has 14 rushing touchdowns.
3. Class 4: Smithville (9-2) at Kearney (10-1)
A trip to the Missouri Class 4, District 8 championship game didn’t come easy for either team.
Kearney, the district’s top seed, survived a scare against Lafayette last week. It trailed in the fourth quarter before Cale Garrett caught a touchdown pass from Johnny Weidmaier with six minutes left in the game.
Smithville running back Charlie Nihart waited even longer to provide his late-game dramatics. He scored on a 15-yard run to lift the Warriors to a 44-38 win against Platte County. Nihart ran for 312 yards and three touchdowns in the game. He will be a key again Friday night — as he has been all season. Nihart has 1,814 rushing yards this season.
4. Class 3: St. Pius X (7-4) at Maryville (11-0)
A three-game winning streak has landed St. Pius X in the district championship game for the second time in three seasons. That’s the good news.
The bad? The opponent is Maryville again.
Maryville has not lost a football game since 2011 and has claimed two straight Missouri Class 3 state championships.
St. Pius X quarterback Marshall Mason ran for two touchdowns and threw a touchdown to Bobby McCoy in last week’s win against Lincoln Prep.
Maryville defeated St. Pius X 56-0 in Week 2.
5. Class 1: West Platte (8-3) at Plattsburg (8-3)
The Kansas City Interscholastic Conference proved to be one of the most competitive across the small classes in Missouri. Four of the league’s eight teams will play for district championships Friday.
West Platte and Plattsburg are among the four. They will meet for the Class 1, District 7 title.
Plattsburg upended West Platte 40-26 only four weeks ago, but West Platte has scored 129 points over the past two weeks.