OK....nothing too special for me. We were 3-3 in our prognostications for the Dome games. Nevertheless, there were many competitive, entertaining games. In all the games, the teams were very well coached, talented athletes, real football players and fan bases that were thrilled with their local heroes. Give me your thoughts on games that you saw.
The expression-- "speed kills" could not have more apropos here. The first half belonged to the offensive units of each team, the second half to the defensive units. Each went about it in totally different ways. In the first half, the Blue Springs Wildcats used their powerful run game led by Darrion Miller to grind out long, methodical drives. One drive was 14 plays, 83 yards, another was 15 plays, 74 yards and a third was 11 plays for 53. Each drive resulted in a TD for the Wildcats. The Hazelwood Central Hawks responded quickly each time. After the first score, 55 yard TD pass from Kerry Gibson to Jawyne Thomas. After a misplayed punt, the Hawks scored their 2nd score on a 3 yard run by Gibson. Tra Brown burst through the line for the 3rd TD and crossed the goal line 78 yards later. Game was tied at 21-21 at half. Hazelwood Central's defense elevated its plays in the 2nd half and effectively shut down the Wildcats. The Hawks took control in the 4th quarter when Spencer Davis went to the house (76 yards) on a punt return. Final score 35-24.
Couple thoughts to consider.... this was a Hazelwood Central team that was just 3 minutes away from elimination in week 2 of district. After losing to McCluer North in week 1, the Hawks found themselves behind Riverview Gardens when the Rams scored with just 3:08 left in the game. The Hawks rallied and finished 2nd in district. In the post-season, this team looked like a totally different team. Coach Richard Nixon mentioned it in several interviews- the new intensity at practice in post-season. Clearly, this was the best Class 6 team of the post-season.
....first back-back titles for a St. Louis team since John Burroughs did it in 91-92.
.....The Hawks won their 5th state title with the win.
.....The field was loaded with college-level players from both teams.
.....For a few years, there was all this "rush" about West side of the State superiority in Football. Coaching was better, kids worked harder, yada-yada-yada. It all goes in cycles, there are outstanding coaches, teams, players on BOTH sides of the state. To me, one game pitting two top level teams against each other doesn't determine the quality of ALL the teams on one side or the other. St. Louis has most of the Class 6 schools...that's just the way it is. As a result, the western side of the state for Class 6 begins approximately with St Charles County. Does this loss mean that Blue Springs program isn't one of the best in the State ? Of course NOT. If the Wildcats had won, I'd say the same thing about Hazelwood Central.
Webster Groves also escaped a near-loss with the 80 yard TD strike on the final play of the game in the Quarters against Chaminade. Now dubbed, the Miracle at Moss, the Statesman didn't let this 2nd chance slip through their hands. Webster Groves Statesman were able to negate the contribution of EJ Gaines (Mizzou recruit) offensively and force Ft Osage out of their usual running game. Webster won impressively 31-14. Again, the blazing speed of the WG squad was too much. Defensively, Jason Meehan (remember that name) was dynamic as the MLB for WG as he led the fast-flying Statesman with 10 tackles. Offensive playmakers abound up and down the roster for Webster. QB Derrick Dilworth (sluggish 1st half, came alive 2nd half), Marquis Clemons (long run in first half gave some momentum to WG, Demetrius Robinson (soph who is electrifying to watch) is a tremendous receiver, Michael Cole's punt returns, David Scanlon's ability to turn short passes into long TD scores. Coach Cliff Ice hangs up his 2nd state title at Webster.
.....Webster community, while very staunch supporters of the team and school, are always somewhat torn between the tradition of the WG-Kirkwood Thanksgiving Day game. Since the introduction of 6 classes to Football in 2002, either Kirkwood or Webster have reached the State Finals at the Dome three of the 8 years. JV games are played on Thanksgiving. It seems to me to be a pleasant problem to have on your hands.
Finally we hit one right... the Kearney Bulldogs beat the Helias Crusaders 27-15. It seemed like the Bulldogs, who play a platoon system, wore down the talented Crusaders in the 2nd half. The crunching ground game took over in the 2nd half for Kearney. Finals stats on the ground - Kearney 152, Helias 15 yards. Coach Greg Jones (Kearney) had to wonder about the outcome when his team's first possession resulted in an interception. Things settled down for the Bulldogs and the result was a good game between two strong teams. Helias loses for the 2nd consecutive year at the Dome.
...I'd rather being losing at the Dome than not getting to the DOME !
The defending class 3 champions, Cassville Wildcats prevailed with a 24-7 win over Bowling Green. The Bobcats scored on their first possession but were shut down by the stingy Wildcat defense after that score. The longest possession for the Bobcats from the middle of 2nd quarter through the entire 3rd quarter was just 1:43 minutes as Cassville's defense took charge. Total yards meter: Cassville 406 Bowling Green 239. Cassville utilized the strong option running of QB Trevor Tanner (22 carries, 144 yards, 2 TD) to lead the way.
....Congrats to both Coaches.. Cassville's David Large dealt with the pressure of being defending class 3 champion. He had only 1 senior starting on defense this year...so watch out again in 2010. Meanwhile, Coach Jimmy Tucker has taken a moribund program (0-10 the year prior to his arrival, 1-9 in his first year) way up the mountain. Graduating 15 seniors will be tough but obviously he knows something about winning football games.
It was too much Maryville Spoofhounds in this one. Maryville won easily 35-0 over the Brentwood Eagles using their powerful ground attack. Maryville scored their first three possessions and broke it open early. The Spoofhounds like to load up blockers at the point of attack then mix in several "counters" and play action passes to keep the defense off balance. Maryville outgained the Eagles 348-207 for the game. Brentwood was completely unnoticed coming into the season and hopes this year to be the foundational block of a successful building program.
The most entertaining, wide-open game of the day. These two offenses go about it in totally different ways. Valle uses spread offense, Mike Greminger, school record holder in passing, runs/passes to a bevy of talented receivers. Meanwhile the Penney Hornets pound it out on the ground with tight formations. Valle moved the ball seemingly at will throughout most of the game as they piled up 418 yards of total offense. An interception and a partially blocked punt gave Penney a 14-0 halftime lead. Valle put together two long drives in the 3rd quarter to tie things up. Valle's 16 play drive stalled inside the 10 yard line and Kevin Abts booted a 25 yard FG to give the Warriors the lead at 7:35 of the 4th quarter. On their next possession, Dylan Chadwick of the Hornets went over the right side, maximized his blockers with a slight hesitation at the LOS and went 50 yards down to the Valle 7 yard line. Keagan Prather scored on the very next play. PAT made it 21-17 Penney. Keagan Prather intercepted a pass on the next drive and Penney ran out the final 2:33 of the game to win their first STATE championship in football. It was a great game to watch!
Your thoughts on any of these games, your team, your Dome experience, trip to St. Louis, we're love to hear from each of you firstname.lastname@example.org