This past weekend turned out pretty good for local prep football teams. East St. Louis looked like a college football team in high school clothes yet again. Despite committing a state record for penalties in a title game, they Cruised past Geneva for the Class 7A crown. It was the first Metro East school to win a championship since the Flyers did so in 1991.
On the Missouri side, we saw two St. Louis schools win state championships at the Dome for the first time since 2004, when Clayton and MICDS did so.
Hazelwood Central topped a Blue Springs South team that had knocked off top-ranked Rockhurst en route to St. Louis. The Hawks appeared more physical and made less mistakes than Mizzou-bound Blaine Dalton and company. I hope this has St. Louis teams believing they can hang with Kansas City schools on the big stage now.
In my opinion Hazelwood East- Raytown South was the best game. Not to take anything away from Orrick and Thayer's double overtime thriller, but it was a rematch of last year's game. These two were very evenly matched, and put up a ton of points. The Hail Marry was just the icing on the cake. Mike Jones might be a first year coach, but he sure didn't look it. After the Spartans lost three of four games in the middle of the season, Jones regrouped his squad and had them looking like a well-oiled machine down the stretch. And his team reflected his cool demeanor. On the final drive of the game, rarely have I ever seen a high school athlete look as calm and confident as quarterback Eric Brown did. In fact, the Rams could take a page out of East's playbook on how to move the ball effectively in pressure situations.
Brian Simmons and Cardinal Ritter had a great year, but ran into a Cassville team that was red hot and wasted no time dispatching the Lions. For Ritter to get to their first championship is a feather in the cap for that program.
For more in depth analysis on the state championships, check out HS Gametime.com for my round table with Bob Ryan and Matt Judkins.
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