The Missouri high school playoffs have reached the district championship round. Here are five games to watch on Friday:
1. Class 6: Blue Springs (8-3) at Rockhurst (10-1)
When Blue Springs suffered back-to-back losses to Rockhurst and Raymore-Peculiar this season, coach Kelly Donohoe took an opportunity to make some personnel changes. They’ve stuck around for awhile.
The Wildcats have won four straight games heading into Friday's Missouri Class 6 quarterfinal with Rockhurst. 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 and Blue Springs will be meeting in the postseason for the ninth time in 13 years. The Hawklets, winners of nine straight, have one of the deepest wide receiver corps in the state, with Will Bazzle and Lance Boehm leading that group. They will be a handful for Blue Springs’ secondary, which features mostly first-year starters.
Rockhurst won the Sept. 26 matchup 14-13.
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: 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.
The Harrisonville defense has allowed only 4 points per game over the past month, which makes for an intriguing matchup Friday night considering Raytown South is averaging 38 points per game.
The Cardinals hasve continued to move the ball with relative ease, despite playing without quarterback Jabril Cox. They have relied more on running back Isaiah Hutchinson, who scored twice in Friday's win against Center.
4. 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.
5. 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.
There’s a big ready why: Midway has allowed only 8.5 points per game this season.