Ozarks Sports Zone ranks the top teams in Southwest Missouri based on dominance by class, essentially the pound-for-pound comparison of those teams compared to the best in the state. Rankings are sponsored by CoxHealth.
1. Lamar (C2, 4-0, 1) – The six-time defending state champs scored early, often and with relative ease in a 51-0 win over defending Class 3 state champ Monett. Cooper Lucas took the opening kickoff to the house as the Tigers put up all 51 points by the half before the JV team took over in the 3rd quarter. The Brotherhood will have to wait an extra week for a shot at their 40th straight win as they have a bye this week. Why you ask? Answer: would you take that non-conference game? Exactly. Btw, Lamar is outscoring its opponents 172-6.
2. Webb City (C4, 4-0, 2) – The Cardinals left no doubt in a 55-10 victory at Willard last Friday. The defense, which is allowing just a touchdown per game, was dominant as always. Meanwhile, Cash Link found paydirt three more times. The Cards get a break from their gauntlet of a COC Large schedule by hosting Pittsburg, KS this week.
3. Carl Junction (C4, 3-1, 4) – The Bulldogs won their third straight, 35-7 over Neosho, but a very slow start can only be attributed to a bit of a mental letdown. After getting punched in the mouth in the first quarter the Bulldogs came to life, putting up five touchdowns for the second straight week, two of those coming from junior running back Rayquion Weston. My guess is they won’t be taking Branson lightly this week as the Pirates are fresh off an upset win at previously 10th ranked Ozark.
4. Ava (C2, 4-0, 5) – Fresh off their first win over Mtn Grove in seven years the Bears took down another long-time nemesis MV-BT/Liberty, beating the Eagles 35-14 Friday night. Quincey McDonald racked up 175 yards rushing and two scores while Bailey Bewley added 13 tackles as the Bears have clearly established themselves as the best in the Big 8 and likely the top seed in their strong district.
5. Seneca (C3, 4-0, 10) – We heard so much about the Indians rise over the summer and it was all true. The Indians have already established themselves as the top contender to (at least try) to beat Lamar in the Big 8 after Friday night’s 19-7 win over Mt Vernon. Junior quarterback Gavin Clouse racked up 124 yards and a pair of touchdowns in that win. Trey Wilson, Cole Hatfield and Chance Fenton all had big nights for the run-happy Indians who go for 5-0 this week hosting winless East Newton.
6. Pierce City (C1, 4-0, 7) – The Eagles took their show south of the border Friday night, remaining undefeated with a 35-7 win at Green Forest, Ark. Sophomore Trey Sagehorn continues to impress along with Gage Brown, Donnell Kleiboeker and others. Aside from a couple late scores by Liberal in week 2 the Eagles have allowed just one touchdown this season. They go for 5-0 next week at Miller with a potential undefeated showdown at Lockwood looming in week 6.
7. Lincoln (C1, 4-0, 9) – Close, but no cigar. The Cardinals played easily their tightest regular season game in two years, but ultimately held off previously unbeaten Windsor 20-14. Despite losing a whole lot from last year’s final four team the Cardinals continue to roll. This week should be another good test against an improving Marionville squad.
8. Mtn Grove (C3, 3-1, 3) – Aside from a 3-point loss to Ava the Panthers have been as dominant as any team in the area. Friday night they improved to 3-1 with a 43-6 win over Willow Springs. Chance Barbe had 10 carries for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Patrick Lane keyed the defense with an 80-yard pick-six. I don’t see another loss on the regular season schedule and you can bet they’re chomping at the bit to meet Ava again in districts.
9. Thayer (C1, 3-1, NR) – If defense wins championships then the Bobcats are in good shape. While they only put up one touchdown Friday night they did manage to beat Salem 8-0, improving to 3 and 1. Expect a bigger offensive output the next couple weeks as they host Houston and visit Cabool.
10. Mt Vernon (C3, 3-1, 8) – The Mountaineers are unbeaten no more, but they put up a good fight against Seneca, falling 19-7. It’s a tough loss but ultimately could be the best thing for Coach Cox’s squad. They’ll look to bounce back this week with a trip to a sneaky McDonald County outfit fresh off an upset of Cassville.
Knocking on the Door: Lockwood (C1, 4-0, NR), West Plains (C4, 4-0), Camdenton (C4, 3-1, 6), Nixa (C5, 4-0), Ozark (C5, 2-2, 8), Carthage (C5, 2-2, NR), Glendale (C5, 2-2, 4), Catholic (C3, 3-1)