With the opening week of the season starting tonight — though an hour later than initially expected for most teams — it's time for some predictions.
There are some particularly attractive matchups for an opening-week slate.
I'll try to make this predictions blog a regular thing — and I'll hesitantly post of my season record each week — so come on back next Friday.
• Blue Springs South at Park Hill, 8 p.m.
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Park Hill is on my short of the state's most-improved teams — and it's always better to catch a team like Blue Springs South early in the season rather than late — but the Trojans will still be underdogs Friday.
Prediction: Blue Springs South 27, Park Hill 21
• Fort Osage at Raytown South, 8 p.m.
Fort Osage has opened the season as the No. 1-ranked team in Missouri Class 5. And with good reason. There's a lot to like about the Indians both offensively and defensively.
Prediction: Fort Osage 24, Raytown South 7
• Liberty at Lee's Summit West, 8 p.m.
The two teams flip-flopped classifications and conferences. Lee's Summit West has moved up to Class 6 after winning the Class 5 title. Liberty may be the new Suburban Red Conference favorites. Should be a good one.
Prediction: Lee's Summit West 28, Liberty 21
• Oak Grove at Holden, 7 p.m.
A pair of teams looking to make the next step in Missouri Class 3 meet in the opening week. It's an opportunity for Oak Grove to make an early statement.
Prediction: Oak Grove 28, Holden 14
• Rockhurst at Rock Bridge, 7:30 p.m.
Rockhurst coach Tony Severino likes to throw his kids into the fire early, and 2014 is no exception. Rock Bridge played for the Missouri Class 6 title last season.
Prediction: Rock Bridge 24, Rockhurst 21
• Smithville at Pleasant Hill, 8:05 p.m.
Pleasant Hill was one of the area's best surprises last season. The Roosters won their first 11 games, starting with a one-point victory in Smithville. But quarterback Josh Shewmaker, who played a large role in that streak, has graduated.
Prediction: Smithville 21, Pleasant Hill 13
• Staley at Blue Springs, 8 p.m.
I envision an improved season from the Staley Falcons, but they haven't reached the Blue Springs level yet. Blue Springs quarterback Ian Brown is perhaps the area's most underrated signal caller.
Prediction: Blue Springs 28, Staley 14