Now that the dust has settled, all teams and coaches are starting to reflect some on their year, it's time to look back at 2009 football.
Please feel free to "chime in" with your thoughts on a team that wasn't mentioned here. There are plenty of teams that deserve recognition so don't be shy about telling us about your team. firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm really not a fan of high school polls. From my view, most pollsters have their own agenda. Usually, pollsters want the teams that they are "covering" to be ranked. It drives the interest in your coverage upwards. Other times personal relationships with coaches affect the judgment of pollsters, cooperation of schools, yada, yada yada. In the long run, it is very difficult to assess schools from the entire state.
However...check out the results of week 1 of Coaches Poll.
The dome teams will be listed followed by their rank in week 1.
Class 6: Hazelwood Central (#2) Blue Springs (#1)
Class 5: Webster Groves (#2) Ft Osage (#4)
Class 4: Kearney (#3) Helias (#2)
Class 3: Cassville (#1) Bowling Green- unranked
Class 2: Maryville (#3) Brentwood - unranked
Class 1: Penney (#2) Valle Catholic (#7)
It looks like these pollsters did a great job. Only Cassville was the #1 pre-season pick that won STATE. It should be noted that Cassville lost in week 1 and dropped immediately to #7.
That leads us right into teams that had special years.
Bowling Green coach Jimmy Tucker had his team play in their first post season action of the school's history. The progress of his program is remarkable-- 2009-2nd in STATE, 2008-8-3;2007--7-3;
2006-5-5; 2005-1-9 !! Over 20 seniors graduate but Coach Tucker seems to have turned the corner!
Brentwood was largely unnoticed throughout most of 2009. Smaller schools often get lost in the shuffle of large urban areas. Most sports headlines are grabbed by the professional or college teams. It trickles down to larger high schools until space has evaporated. The Eagles are an Independent team which keeps them out of conference races and maybe some coverage from that angle. When Maplewood knocked off Brentwood in week 2 by 28-14 score, the Eagles got buried in the coverage. Winning the next 7 games and finished 8-1 still didn't ring home with most (including me). Beating Maplewood in the sectional round of STATE 10-7 started to wake up some. It wasn't until the State Semifinals when the Eagles snapped the long winning streak of Centralia 28-27 that many came to realize the potency of this team. The loss at the Dome to a strong Maryville team should not diminish the sparkling play of the Brentwood Eagle in 2009.
Speaking of Maryville...by the time most of us watched this finely tuned machine roll in the Dome, we had forgotten that the Spoofhounds early season scores didn't appear that the 'Hounds would go very far. Check again, competing against class 4 and class 3 teams exclusively in the first 6 weeks of the season, this team toughened themselves for the long run. I wish colleges could do the same instead of scheduling one cupcake after the other in non-league affairs (I can't come to say the word "games")
How about the Winnetonka Griffins? Coach Ken Clemens has done marvelous things out West. In 2005, it was 2-8 followed by forgettable seasons of 1-9 and 0-10. In 2008, the Griffins went 7-5 and won a post season game. This year was another winning year- 8-4 so it appears that his program has turned the corner?
The most important 3 minutes of Class 6 football were on Oct 24-- after losing to McCluer North the previous week, the Hazelwood Central Hawks fell behind the Riverview Gardens Rams 20-14 at the 3:08 when Lawrence Patterson received a TD pass. The Hawks, the defending class 6 champs, sensed that their crown was slipping away. They were faced with elimination. Central finally scored with only 38 seconds left to take the lead. Another score made the final score less indicative of the real battle. From that point on, it was All Hazelwood Central in Class 6 Football.
Best Game of the Year Honors are won Parkway North-Rolla game.
Tied at 21 at the end of regulation in the State Quarterfinal game, each team scored TD's (with the PAT) in each of the first 3 OT. In the 4th OT, North's kicker Aaron Hummert booted a 27 yard FG. The fans were really on the edge of their seat....would Rolla score (as they had the previous 3 possessions)? The Parkway North defense stiffened and forced Rolla to try a field Goal from around 35 yards. The Rolla kick hit the upright and bounced out!! What a game...it was unfortunate that one team had to lose this GREAT GAME !!
More memorable teams of 09...
Sikeston Bulldogs came out of nowhere! Veteran Coach Kent Gibbs took his talented group of athletes from 2-8 in 07, to 5-5 in 08 to 12-1 this year. The Bulldogs will graduate the 1-2 punch of Eli Jackson and Juqualin Wiggins offensively but with a perfect regular season record, look for this program to keep rolling.
Speaking of perfect regular seasons, Tom Beauchamp guided the Lindbergh Flyers through the first 10 games unblemished. Using a stingy defense with a varied and opportunistic offense, the Flyers fell in OT 31-28 to Fox in sectionals. So much attention is given to the post-season, this 10-0 regular season record gets buried in a hurry.
What about Helias making the Dome for the second consecutive year? Carrying on the tradition established by his Dad, Coach Chris Hentges is 43-7 during his own time at the helm. The Crusaders are not the flashiest team but always one of the best fundamental teams in the STATE. A talented group of seniors graduate but somehow Helias finds a way.
Not making the Dome but making the Post-season for the first time ever in the school's football history, the Trinity Titans were 4-3 when District play began this year. Winning two district games by 4 points including the the final game against J Burroughs was the recipe for the Titans reaching the post-season. Avenging an earlier season loss to Borgia, Trinity bowed out in the 2nd round. Congrats to them on this historic record.
The Mexico Bulldogs stunned the STATE this year. 1-6 and coming off a 45-0 loss to Hannibal entering District, the Bulldogs won the district as they whipped Fulton, Mo. Military and N. Calloway. Huge underdogs in regional round, Mexico shutout a fine Sullivan team (7-4) 7-0. Keeping the dream alive, the Bulldogs beat Fulton again, this time it was a 14-13 thriller. Bowling Green ended this highly unpredictable ride 34-7. Mexico finished 6-7 with 2 post season wins.
Speaking of Fulton, the Hornets finished 6-6 for the year. However, the Hornets lost 5 games by very tight scores. Losses of 9-6 to Boonville, 18-14 to Versailles, 14-13 to Marshall, and 14-6, 14-13 to Mexico means that the Hornets lost 5 games by a total of 17 points...ugh !
Ft Zumwalt East, the newest high school of the district really elevated its game in 2009. Going 1-9 in 2008, the Lions finished 8-3 and made the post season as District Champions. With Marvin Byrd returning look for even better results next year.
Wildest Friday of scoring was September 18, look at this trio of scores:
Camdenton 55 Joplin 48;
Ft Zumwalt West 41 Howell North 38;
Ft Zumwalt South 46 Troy 45..wow..what a night of offense.
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