The Missouri high school football playoffs are here.
Every team qualifies for the postseason, with their seeding determined by the nine-game regular season. What to watch for in each of the six classes:
The state’s largest classification appears to be wide open. The evidence? Four different teams have been ranked No. 1 in the state at some point this season, with CBC taking that spot into the playoffs. Locally, Park Hill and Blue Springs are also among that bunch.
Park Hill (7-2) won the vaunted Suburban Gold Conference this season. Its spread offense is about as potent as any in the state, led by senior quarterback Billy Maples, who has thrown for 32 touchdowns, and receiver Ronnie Bell, who has already topped the 1,000-yard mark.
Blue Springs (7-2) finished runner-up a year ago. As the offense still searches for some momentum, the Wildcats’ defense has taken the reins, allowing 6.6 points per game over a five-game winning streak.
Since blowing a lead in a state semifinal loss last fall, the Staley Falcons have been on a collision course toward another opportunity.
Staley (9-0) has turned from a run-dominant team last year into a balanced attack this season. Senior quarterback John Raybourn owns 32 touchdown passes and only one interception, with seniors JD Benbow and Rod Criss catching 11 and 10 scores, respectively.
Fort Osage and Liberty are plenty capable of making noise, too. Liberty senior Robert Rawie already topped 1,300 yards for the third straight season. He has scored 20 touchdowns and is averaging 6.3 yards per carry.
Kearney is aiming for its third straight trip to the state championship game. But the Bulldogs, who are 7-2, are far from the only Kansas City-area contender.
Platte County (7-2), Smithville (8-1) and Grain Valley (7-2) each qualify as pleasant surprises. Harrisonville (6-3) is the defending champion.
With one playoff victory, Center would record its sixth straight eight-win season. The Yellowjackets (7-2) are unbeaten against Class 3 opponents.
Hogan Prep (9-0) will enter the postseason unbeaten.
No team from the Kansas City area falls into the top-10 of either class. But that wouldn’t prevent a dark horse from making a postseason run.
In Class 2, which has crowned Lamar the state champion six consecutive seasons, University Academy is 7-2, with each of its losses by single digits. In Class 1, Midway has won six straight games since its 0-3 start, allowing only 15 points over the last three victories.