By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Our power rankings are based on dominance by Class. Strength of schedule and recent success are also considered. Power rankings will be released every two weeks throughout the regular season.
Overall record, Class level and previous ranking are listed in parenthesis.
By the way, that smoke you may have seen in the skies a few weeks ago? It was just my previous power rankings going up in flames. They’re like bulletin board material, but in reverse.
- Catholic (13-2 overall, Class 2, PR: 1) – Amid all the unpredictability over the last two weeks, the Irish have been the area’s most stable team. Since the surprising 3-2 home loss to Rogersville on Sept. 11, Catholic’s gone 7-1 with a +29 goal differential. The lone loss came to Class 4 Lee’s Summit West in the Kickapoo Shootout on Saturday. LSW scored two goals in the second half, including the game-winner in the final minute. Catholic got a great result on Sept. 28 as the Irish beat Class 3 No. 9-ranked Smith-Cotton 2-1 behind two goals from Calvin Sanders. By winning out, the Irish could enter districts with 20 wins. They remained No. 1 in Class 2 in the latest state soccer poll.
Upcoming schedule: Oct. 4 @ Branson, Oct. 5 @ Nixa, Oct. 8 @ Joplin, Oct. 9 vs. Aurora, Oct. 11 vs. Cassville, Oct. 16 vs. Waynesville
- Laquey (14-3, Class 1, PR: 7) – Laquey’s setting records. The Hornets have accomplished something no other local Class 1 team ever has since MSHSAA expanded to four classes: Make it to No. 1 in the state rankings. Since MSHSAA expanded to four Classes in 2014, no local Class 1 team has reached the top spot in the state rankings – not Greenwood in 2016 or Crocker in 2017. With parity abounding in Classes 3-4, the Hornets are looking like our strongest state title contender after Catholic. Senior Brandon MacDonald is tearing apart opposing defenses. He currently has 47 goals and 14 assists. The MSHSAA single-season goals record is 76 (Chandler Peterson, Platte County, 2017), so MacDonald’s going to have a shot at it if Laquey can extend its season a bit. Since our previous power rankings, Laquey’s gone 7-2. The two losses came in overtime against Class 3 schools (Willard, Camdenton). Laquey avenged a previous loss to Greenwood with a convincing 5-1 win over the Blue Jays on Sept. 22. Sam Urban (18 goals, nine assists) and Skyler Eidem (nine goals, 12 assists) have provided additional production.
Upcoming schedule: Oct. 8 @ Fatima, Oct. 11 vs. Osage, Oct. 15 vs. Richland
- Monett (12-3, Class 2, PR: 2) – The Cubs have responded well since an ugly loss to Catholic. Monett gave up four goals to Calvin Sanders in a 4-0 home loss to the top-ranked Irish on Sept. 20. The Cubs have since beaten the likes of Republic, Rogersville and Glendale. Senior Jason Puente had two goals in last night’s win over Rogersville. He’s 21 goals away from becoming MSHSAA’s all-time career goals leader. If both teams can make it out of districts, Monett and Catholic would meet in the sectional round for the third time in four years. The Irish won the regular season meetings in 2015 and 2017, but Monett prevailed in the playoffs. With teams like Nixa (twice), Ozark and Glendale on the schedule, Monett is sharpening iron with iron as it prepares for another postseason run.
Upcoming schedule: Oct. 4 vs. Ozark, Oct. 8 @ Cassville, Oct. 9 vs. Willard, Oct. 11 @ Carthage, Oct. 15 vs. Bolivar, Oct. 16 @ Webb City
- Ozark (15-2, Class 4, PR: 3) – Much like when they picked apart Glendale early in the season, Ozark got blitzed in a 5-2 loss at Nixa on Sept. 25. The Eagles are much improved (and finally healthy) from a month ago, but Ozark still has a solid overall résumé and I think they may have overlooked Nixa a bit that night. Ozark showed no ill effects from that Nixa loss. The Tigers beat Webb City 8-0 on Thursday, then went up to Rolla and won the Rolla Tournament last weekend. Ozark beat Southern Boone (3-2), Rolla (5-1) and Republic (4-0) to win the event. Last night, Ozark beat Joplin 5-0. When you play Ozark, you better be ready to keep up – the Tigers have scored three or more goals in 12 of their 17 matches.
Upcoming schedule: Oct. 4 @ Monett, Oct. 9 @ Neosho, Oct. 12 vs. Vianney (@ Glendale High School), Oct. 16 vs. Republic
- Nixa (11-4, Class 4, Unranked) – If Nixa’s ceiling is a 5-2 dismantling of Ozark, the local Class 4 postseason race has a new favorite. Nixa looked like a completely different team than what it showed early in the season, and it was understandable why: the Eagles had their full starting lineup available for the first time this season. The nucleus of Nixa’s attack – Hunter Daniels, Ethan Pellegren and Andreas Luiga – helped the Eagles put up five goals against an Ozark defense that had only conceded six goals entering the match. Nixa also placed first in the Kickapoo Shootout last weekend with victories over Monett, Sikeston and Poplar Bluff. They then shredded Willard 8-1 on Tuesday. With a challenging two-week stretch ahead, we’ll see if Nixa can maintain this recent surge. Friday’s home match against Catholic features the two hottest teams in the area.
Upcoming schedule: Oct. 5 vs. Springfield Catholic, Oct. 12 vs. Chaminade (@ Jefferson City), Oct. 13 @ Jefferson City
- Glendale (9-4, Class 3, PR: 4) – The Falcons took a big step toward their latest Ozark Conference championship with a thrilling 3-2 double-overtime win against Rolla on Sept. 24. Max Elmer had the tying goal late in regulation, then the golden goal. Prior to the game, Jeff Rogers was honored for reaching the 500-win mark as boys’ head coach. He’s been at the helm since the program started in 1988. A loss to Monett in the opening game of the Kickapoo Shootout is the only blemish in a 6-1, two-week stretch for the Falcons. Tonight’s Southside Showdown against Kickapoo will determine if the Falcons will be outright OC champs or share the crown.
Upcoming schedule: Oct. 3 vs. Kickapoo, Oct. 4-6 @ Rock Bridge Classic, Oct. 11 @ Lebanon, Oct. 13 vs. Vianney, Oct. 16 @ Branson
- Rolla (9-7, Class 3, PR: 6) – If it wasn’t for bad luck, the Bulldogs would seemingly have no luck. Rolla has three overtime losses this season, including a heartbreaking double-overtime loss to Glendale on Sept. 24. Rolla went ahead twice in the second half in that game. The Bulldogs also have a pair of one-goal losses in regulation. That’s a really small margin between 9-7 (Rolla’s current record) and 14-2. The Bulldogs finally got over their overtime struggles on Monday with a 1-0 win over Waynesville. If Kickapoo can upset Glendale in tonight’s Southside Showdown, the Bulldogs can still earn a share of the Ozark Conference title.
Upcoming schedule: Oct. 3 @ Hillcrest, Oct. 5 vs. Harrisonville (neutral site), Oct. 6 vs. Parkway Central (neutral site), Oct. 8 vs. Lebanon, Oct. 11 @ Central, Oct. 16 vs. Camdenton
- Fair Grove (13-4-1, Class 1, PR: Unranked) – Fair Grove’s trending up at the right time. The Eagles, despite some sluggish first halves, have won nine straight matches. The offense is clicking. Fair Grove’s scored 57 total goals amid their winning streak. Maicol Newkirk had a hat trick in last night’s 5-2 win against Crocker. Newkirk now holds the program records for single-season goals (31) and career goals (94), with several games still ahead. A 4-2 win over New Covenant Academy on Sept. 25 locked up the No. 1 seed for Fair Grove in the Class 1 District 6 tournament later this month. The Eagles will face a sub-.500 team in the semifinals while New Covenant Academy and Greenwood square off in the other semi.
Upcoming schedule: Oct. 4 @ Marshfield, Oct. 9 @ Rogersville, Oct. 19-20 @ Stover Classic
- New Covenant Academy (12-4, Class 1, PR: 10) – The Warriors continue to keep up with Fair Grove and Laquey for a spot at the Class 1 final four. NCA fell 4-2 at Fair Grove on Sept. 25 but bounced back with wins over College Heights Christian, Crocker and a PK win over Central last night. October 11 gives us an early preview of Greenwood and NCA’s district semifinal matchup. Don’t forget about Greenwood still lurking: the Blue Jays won at Laquey earlier this season.
Upcoming schedule: Oct. 5 vs. Rogersville, Oct. 8 vs. Marshfield, Oct. 11 vs. Greenwood, Oct. 15 @ Aurora, Oct. 16 @ Cassville
- Rogersville (12-4, Class 2, PR: 5) – Rogersville’s searching for a new leader after losing starting center back J.D. Kennedy to a season-ending injury. It’s been a hot-and-cold two-week stretch for the Wildcats. On one hand, they lost to Monett, Branson and a much-improved West Plains team by a combined 12-0 margin. On the other hand, Rogersville’s won six games in that span. Rogersville won the Willard Tournament over the weekend by beating Neosho, Webb City and Willard (PKs), who trounced the Wildcats earlier in the season.
Upcoming schedule: Oct. 4 vs. Central, Oct. 5 @ New Covenant Academy, Oct. 8 vs. Hillcrest, Oct. 9 vs. Fair Grove, Oct. 11 @ McDonald County, Oct. 15 @ Willard, Oct. 16 @ Greenwood
Knocking on the door: Willard (12-5-1, Class 3), West Plains (10-6, Class 3), Carthage (9-5-2, Class 4) Republic (11-7, Class 4), Branson (11-5, Class 4)