High School Sports

Missouri high school football picks: Fort Osage, Park Hill meet in battle of unbeatens

THE KANSAS CITY STAR

A long-anticipated matchup between Fort Osage and Park Hill — the only remaining unbeaten teams in Missouri Class 5 — highlights this week's slate of playoff games.

Rockhurst will face Francis Howell in the Class 6 semifinals. All other classifications are in the quarterfinals.

Last week's record: 6-3

Playoff record: 57-6

Season record: 88-23

On to this week....

Class 5: Fort Osage (12-0) at Park Hill (12-0)

The emergence of quality defensive performances in recent weeks — specifically in last Friday's district championship games — has shifted the thought that tonight's game will be a back-and-forth shootout.

Sure, Park Hill and Fort Osage have offenses that are as versatile as any across the state. But their defenses can come up with big play, too. And that big-play ability may decide tonight's game.

Prediction: Park Hill 28, Fort Osage 24

Class 6: Francis Howell (11-0) at Rockhurst (11-1)

Coming off the emotional high of a fourth-quarter, come-from-behind win against rival Blue Springs, Rockhurst has been rewarded with a date with unbeaten Francis Howell.

Francis Howell owns an average margin of victory of 36.5 points, but there have been questions about its strength of schedule. It certainly hasn't faced a team of Rockhurst's caliber yet.

Francis Howell edged Jefferson City 14-10 last week. Rockhurst manhandled the same team in the regular season finale.

Prediction: Rockhurst 34, Francis Howell 21

Class 4: Helias (11-1) at Kearney (11-1)

Kearney hasn't exactly been wowing anyone in the postseason, but it's all about surviving and advancing in the playoffs. The Bulldogs are advancing thanks to their defense.

Kearney has allowed only 15 points in three playoff victories, a production led by junior linebacker Cale Garrett, who has recorded 126 tackles this season.

Prediction: Kearney 17, Helias 14

Class 3: Maryville (12-0) at Oak Grove (10-2)

Oak Grove ran for 554 yards in last week's 63-35 win against O'Hara. The Panthers will need another strong effort on the ground Friday, when they face Maryville, the two-time defending Class 3 state champions.

Maryville has won 42 straight games.

Senior Aaron Graham leads Oak Grove with 2,103 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns this season.

Prediction: Maryville 42, Oak Grove 27

• Class 4: Webb City (12-0) at Harrisonville (11-1)

Harrisonville will take a 10-game winning streak into tonight's game, and it's looked awfully impressive in the postseason.

But that streak faces its stiffest test yet with Webb City, which has won four straight Class 4 state titles.

Webb City doesn't look ready to snap that streak this season.

Prediction: Webb City 35, Harrisonville 14

• Class 1: Skyline (9-3) at Midway (12-0)

After rolling through the regular season — playing only two games within 20 points — Midway has kept the momentum rolling against stiffer competition in the playoffs.

The Vikings are allowing only 8.9 points per game this season.

Prediction: Midway 21, Skyline 20

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