The O-Zone Football Power rankings will be released on every week throughout the football season. Rankings are a measurement of dominance within class and not a strictly head-to-head comparison. Coaches are encouraged to send any information, including stats, milestones and records to Chris Parker (firstname.lastname@example.org). See the top plays of the week in the video above.
1. Lamar (3-0 – LW: 1)
The Lamar Tigers have now won 52 games in a row after beating Aurora 43-7 on Friday. Those 52 wins are tied for the second-longest winning streak in Missouri history with Platte County (2000-03). That win wrapped up the Tigers’ crossover games in Big 8 play. The final six games will all be with fellow Big 8 West Division foes. Three road trips remain on the schedule with Seneca (Sept. 21), McDonald County (Oct. 5) and Cassville (Oct. 19).
2. Webb City (3-0 – LW: 2)
The Cardinals are now 3-0 having handed all three opponents their first losses of the season. Last week, Webb City beat Neosho 41-0 to move to 3-0. The offense remained balanced with seven different players getting carries and four different players scoring touchdowns. Durand Henderson led that balanced attack with 12 carries for 78 yards and two touchdowns. The defense was superb in shutting out a Neosho squad that had scored 55 points in the first two weeks. That unit lived in the Wildcat backfield on Friday with eight tackles for a loss led by Dylan Walker’s three tackles for a loss. Webb City will travel to Branson this week.
3. Carthage (3-0 – LW: 3)
Carthage was impressive in beating Class 6 No. 10 Joplin 35-14 in Week 3. Joplin came into the game averaging 34 points per game. The Tigers continue to get it done in all facets of the game with a deep and talented group. Carthage’s defense forced three turnovers and held Joplin to a season-low 4.7 yards per play. Offensively, the Tigers rushed for 393 yards with sophomore quarterback Patrick Carlton presenting himself as yet another weapon with four touchdowns on just 12 carries. Tyler Mueller (107), Tucker Downing (100) and Zeke Sappington (82) all rushed for at least 80 yards in the game. The Tigers travel to Neosho this week before a trip to Webb City that will go a long way in deciding the Central Ozark Conference championship.
4. West Plains (3-0 – LW: 4)
West Plains picked up the statement win of the week for the area. The Zizzers dismantled Class 4 No. 5 Camdenton 41-7 in Week 3. The Lakers came in averaging 46.5 points per game while giving up six point through two games. The Zizzer defense was a buzzsaw with 11(!) total sacks, five tackles for a loss, two interceptions by Weston Mitchell and three fumble recoveries. Bryson Collins had two sacks and two fumble recoveries while Eric Washington pulled down three sacks and the other fumble recovery. The defense has now yielded just seven points in three games. Quarterback Connor Rackley returned from injury and threw for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Brayden Lidgard did his thing with 38 carries for 190 yards and two touchdowns. West Plains makes a trip to Springfield this week to face Kickapoo before hosting Lebanon in Week 5.
5. Mt. Vernon (3-0 – LW: 5)
Mt. Vernon turned back a previously unbeaten Marshfield 14-12 on Friday. The defense came up big for the Mountaineers by forcing six turnovers in the wet conditions. Marshfield had the ball 4th-and-8 at the Mountaineer 23-yard-line with 54 seconds remaining and came up with a big stop to preserve the victory. Marshfield came in averaging 262.5 yard per game passing, but managed just 118 yards through the air against the Mountaineer defense and the wet weather. Mt. Vernon goes back home this week to host undefeated Reeds Spring in a critical Big 8 East game.
6. Cassville (3-0 – LW: 8)
Cassville dominated their Barry County rival Monett 42-12 to remain unbeaten with an average margin of victory of 41.7-10.3 through three games. The Wildcats kept the ball on the ground to the tune of 366 rushing yards to go with 85 passing yards to make it a 451-yard night for the Cassville offense. Through three games Cassville has rushed for 918 yards and tallied 1,284 total yards on offense. The Wildcats host a dangerous Seneca team coming off of its first win of the season this week.
7. Reeds Spring (3-0 – LW: 9)
Reeds Spring took down Rogersville 40-15 behind more than 350 yards on the ground. The Wolves have been versatile in the way they have gotten it done so far this year. Week 1 the offense led the way in a 52-32 shootout win over Nevada. Week 2 saw the defense lock things down in a 28-0 win over Seneca. Last week was a strong all-around game for the Wolves. This week, Reeds Spring gets a chance to take control of the Big 8 East race as they face Mt. Vernon, which is the only other remaining unbeaten team in the East.
8. Lebanon (3-0 – LW: 10)
Lebanon rolled to a third easy victory 51-0 over Waynesville on Friday. The Yellowjackets haven’t played the toughest schedule (opponents are 1-8) thus far this season, but the way Lebanon has gotten it done has them in this spot. The Yellowjacket defense has yet to allow a point while the offense is averaging 50 points per game. Quameire Wright led Lebanon with 19 carries for 176 yards and three touchdowns on Friday. Nine different Lebanon players carried the ball on the way to a 377-yard day rushing for the team. The Lebanon defense will get tested this week against a Glendale team that hasn’t been shutout since Sept. 20, 2013, which is a span of 52 games. Lebanon was the team that shut the Falcons out that week in 2013. Glendale not been held to single digits in the Mike Mauk era which began in 2014.
9. Strafford (3-0 – LW: NR)
Strafford had to wait an extra day to finish its game against Miller, but appeared not to be bothered by the Saturday finish to the game in a 42-7 win over the Cardinals. Ian Bareis rushed for 150 yards and 19 carries and two touchdowns, while quarterback Wyatt Maples was efficient with five completions for 113 yards and three touchdowns. Strafford is outscoring opponents 44.7-4.3 so far this season. With that being said, the margin between Strafford and Mid-Lakes rival Fair Grove is almost non-existent in my mind. Strafford’s offense has been just a little bit better, so I give the Indians the edge for now. Strafford hosts Stockton this week.
10. Joplin (1-2 – LW: 5)
Yes, every other team on this list is undefeated along with a couple others knocking on the door, but Joplin’s losses thus far have been to Webb City and Carthage. Joplin was soundly beaten by Carthage 35-14 on Friday. These rankings are based on dominance by class. The area only has three Class 6 teams, but I believe Joplin is the best among that group. I also believe Joplin is one of the area’s top 5 football teams if you throw out consideration for class. Class 6 is just a tough place to make a deep playoff run, especially with No. 3 Kirkwood and No. 5 Eureka looming in the district semifinals and finals if Joplin can’t find a way to that No. 1 seed. Joplin will look to get back in the win column with Republic coming to town this week.
Knocking on the door: Fair Grove, Pierce City, Camdenton, Ava, Thayer, Catholic