Three Kansas City-area teams — Park Hill, Kearney and Oak Grove — will play in Missouri high school football state semfinal games this week.
CLASS 5: Park Hill (12-0) at Nixa (8-4), 7 p.m. Friday
A high-octane offense carried the Park Hill Trojans to an undefeated regular season. A stout defense later clinched them a Missouri Class 5 district championship.
Sheer will has them in the state semifinals.
Park Hill overcame the injuries of its top two quarterbacks — in addition to a 10-point deficit — to upend Fort Osage 21-20 in the Class 5 quarterfinals last Friday.
Suddenly, a year after winning only three games, the Trojans will play Nixa for a spot in the Class 5 championship. Starting quarterback Tyler Holmes is questionable to play, but Park Hill proved it can with without him.
Its defense shut out Fort Osage over the second half. Trevor White provided nine tackles in the game, including three tackles for loss.
Matt Harris and Kenyatte Harris give the Trojans a formidable one-two punch in the backfield against a Nixa team that has caught fire at the right time of the year.
Nixa opened the season with four losses in its first five games — with all of those defeats coming by at least three touchdowns — before finding its stride. In a subsequent seven-game winning streak, Nixa has outscored opponents by an average of 25 points per victory.
Park Hill is the only remaining unbeaten team in Missouri Class 5.
Ladue Horton Watkins will travel to play Battle in the other Class 5 semifinal.
The winners will meet at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 28 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.
CLASS 4: Kearney (12-1) at Webb City (13-0), 1:30 p.m. Saturday
A late September loss derailed the Kearney Bulldogs’ hopes for an unbeaten season.
But it simultaneously kickstarted their best football of the year.
Kearney hasn't lost a game since falling to Winnetonka on Sept. 26, and it will take a seven-game winning streak into Webb City on Saturday.
And after showing stretches of dominance during the winning streak — especially on the defensive side of the football — there's little doubt the Bulldogs will need one of their best efforts of the season. And perhaps their best.
Webb City is the Missouri Class 4 four-time defending state champion. It has steamrolled through the playoffs, handing Harrisonville a 35-0 rout in the state quarterfinals last week.
But Kearney has plenty of weapons, including a handful of them residing on defense. Junior linebacker Cale Garrett leads the team with 140 tackles, including 17 for loss. Seniors Kyre Bosler and Jacob Babb each have six sacks.
That trio will need to play physical against an overpowering Webb City team that makes no secrets about its preference to run the football.
Kearney has had plenty of success with its ground game, as well. Senior Reagan Frakes has run for 1,729 yards and 25 touchdowns this season.
Cape Girardeau Central and St. Charles West will meet in the other Class 4 semifinal Friday night.
The winners of the semifinal matchups will play for the state championship at 11 a.m. on Nov. 29 inside the Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis.
CLASS 3: California (13-0) at Oak Grove (11-2), 7 p.m. Friday
Oak Grove halted Maryville's 42-game winning streak by steamrolling the two-time defending state champions 69-23 last week.
It was every bit as dominant as it sounds. The Panthers ran for 598 yards — and they needed only 42 carries to do it. Aaron Graham supplied 345 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. Landon Cairer was responsible for another 188 yards and two scores.
Oak Grove may be the last team California wants to see on its postseason schedule. The Panthers have averaged 64.3 points per game during their playoff run.
California, however, has plenty to offer, as well. Its unbeaten record includes a pair of victories over powerhouse Blair Oaks, including a two-point win in the postseason only two weeks ago. California has beaten every other opponent on its schedule by at least two touchdowns.
John Burroughs and Monett will play in the other Class 3 semifinal. The winners will meet at 1 p.m. on Nov. 28 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.