It's district championship week in the Missouri high school football playoffs. There are nine games involving local teams, and we have predictions for every one of them.
Last week's record: 18-2
Playoff record: 51-3
Season record: 82-20
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As for this week...
• Class 6: Blue Springs (8-3) at Rockhurst (10-1)
Rockhurst and Blue Springs are meeting in the postseason for the ninth time in 13 years.
Blue Springs has won four straight games. They earned some payback with a 42-17 drubbing of Raymore-Peculiar last week, and they can do the same this week against the Hawklets.
Rockhurst won the Sept. 26 matchup 14-13. The Hawklets are led by T.J. Green, whom I featured in today's sports section.
But Blue Springs is playing its best football of the season. And that may be enough to give the Wildcats an edge.
Prediction: Blue Springs 21, Rockhurst 17
• 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 versatile offensively and stingy defensively. 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.
Can Winnetonka’s defense force enough stops Friday?
Prediction: Fort Osage 31, Winnetonka 28
• 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.
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.
Repeating the task against Park Hill's offense is a lot to ask.
Prediction: Park Hill 27, Liberty North 14
• Class 4: Smithville (9-2) at Kearney (10-1)
Kearney used a fourth-quarter comeback to survive a scare against Lafayette and reach the district title game. Cale Garrett caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Johnny Weidmaier with six minutes left in the game.
Smithville saved its dramatics for the final minute against Platte County, when running back Charlie Nihart scored on a 15-yard run to give the Warriors a 44-38 win.
The running games will be the key for both teams Friday.
Prediction: Kearney 21, Smithville 20
• Class 4: Raytown South (7-4) at Harrisonville (10-1)
Harrisonville created a dynasty in Missouri Class 3 when it reached five straight state title games from 2003-07. It won four of the five.
The search for the same success in Class 4 is ongoing, but this season could offer the start of something special. The Wildcats have won nine straight games — all but one of them by at least two touchdowns.
Raytown South features an explosive offense that is averaging 38 points per game. Can Harrisonville find a way to slow down the Cardinals? Nobody has yet.
Prediction: Raytown South 28, Harrisonville 21
• Class 3: Oak Grove (9-2) at O'Hara (10-1)
There won't be any complaints about the chance to see a rematch between Oak Grove and O'Hara — especially with much more on the line this time.
O'Hara scored 28 second-half points to come from behind and defeat Oak Grove 31-24 in a Week 2 matchup. Austin Evans returned a kickoff to tie the game midway through the fourth quarter, and he ran in the game-winning score with 3:55 remaining.
O'Hara quarterback Michael Briggs has 29 total touchdowns this season — 18 through the air and 11 on the ground. Look for him to be the difference.
Prediction: O'Hara 24, Oak Grove 21
• 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.
There's plenty of reason to believe a third is in the works.
Prediction: Maryville 42, St. Pius X 14
• Class 1: Jasper (9-1) at Midway (11-0)
Midway rolled through the 2013 regular season without a loss — drumming up state-championship hopes — before falling in the Missouri Class 1, District 3 championship game.
The Vikings are hoping for better luck this time in a nearly identical scenario.
For the second straight season, they are unbeaten again heading into the Class 1, District 3 title matchup. It's evident why — Midway has allowed only 8.5 points per game.
Prediction: Midway 28, Jasper 27
• 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.
Prediction: Plattsburg 36, West Platte 27
To reach Sam McDowell, call 816-234-4869 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @SamMcDowell11.