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.
- Webb City (9-0 – LW: 2)
We have a new No. 1 in these power rankings for the first time in several seasons. Webb City took care of business 55-0 over Nixa to complete an unbeaten regular season. The Cardinals now hold the state’s longest winning streak at 24 games after Lamar saw its streak snapped last week. Webb City earned the No. 1 seed in its district where they are the heavy favorite. If seeds hold, Webb City would get No. 8 Camdenton in the state quarterfinals. The state semifinals would likely be either No. 3 West Plains or No. 2 Ladue Horton Watkins. No. 4 Platte County is the highest ranked team on the other side of the bracket.
- Lamar (8-1 – LW: 1)
Yes, Lamar lost to Cassville to snap the nation’s longest winning streak at 57 games. Yes, Lamar is still ranked above several undefeated teams including the team that beat it. These are power rankings based off of dominance by class and not strictly head-to-head match results. Cassville is a Class 3 school. Lamar is the seven time defending state champion in Class 2. Lamar has also won 46 consecutive games against Class 2 competition. It is easy to forget among Lamar’s dominance that they play up one or two classes every week in conference play. The slipped to No. 2 in the state rankings this week, but they are still the favorite until a Class 2 team beats them. They are set up well to win their district After that, if seeds hold, a quarterfinal rematch from last year with No. 9 Ava would loom in the quarterfinals. No. 3 Lathrop or No. 5 Lawson would be the most likely semifinal opponents. No. 1 and undefeated Blair Oaks or No. 4 Lutheran North are on the other side of the bracket.
- Cassville (9-0 – LW: 4)
Cassville picked up one of the biggest regular season wins in program history on Friday by beating Lamar on a field goal with time expiring. They remain behind Lamar just because Cassville is Class 3 and Lamar is the seven time defending state champion in Class 2. Cassville has an always tough district with Class 3 No. 6 Mt. Vernon and Reeds Spring as the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds. If they win their district and seeds hold the Wildcats would face No. 9 Springfield Catholic team they already beat in Week 2 by a 34-7 margin in the quarters. No. 3 Cardinal Ritter would be the most likely semifinal opponent. Any potential state championship game win will likely go through one of No. 1 Odessa, No. 2 Trinity Catholic or No. 5 Maryville, which is the reigning champion.
- Carthage (8-1 – LW 5)
Carthage continued a dominant run with a 56-6 win over Ozark on Friday to close out the regular season. The Tigers’ dominance has been noticed around the state as they picked up nine first-place votes to take the top spot in the Class 5 state rankings heading into the playoffs. This is the first time in the O-Zone era a local Class 5 team has ascended to the top of the state media rankings. I like them to advance to the state semifinals with a district that features no other teams with fewer than four losses. The quarterfinal would feature a game against No. 10 Lebanon if seeds hold. Past that, No. 3 Vianney, No. 7 Jackson or No. 8 Fox appear to be the most likely foes in a state semifinal.
- West Plains (9-0 – LW: 3)
West Plains did everything it could in a dominant regular season. The Zizzers had a scoring margin of 441-73. Them slipping two spots is more about what Cassville and Carthage have done than anything West Plains failed to do. The other factor is the playoff path the Zizzers likely face. These rankings are based on dominance by class and the chances of winning a state title, and West Plains’ path is daunting. I’m not saying they can’t do it. I am saying the bracket after districts couldn’t have set up any more difficult for the Zizzers if seeds and ranks hold. If West Plains wins its district (which it is favored to do) and seeds hold, a trip to Class 4 No. 2 Ladue Horton Watkins awaits in the quarterfinals. Ladue is the defending state runner-up and received one first place vote in the final state rankings. After that, the undefeated defending state champion Webb City Cardinals would likely await. Then a state title game would still be on the docket. That is a brutal path for any team to take to a state championship game.
- Pierce City (9-0 – LW: 6)
Pierce City blanked Pleasant Hope 61-0 to finish the regular season unbeaten for the second consecutive year. Just like last year, Pierce City is the No. 1 seed in the district and opens with the same Pleasant Hope team it beat last week. The district bracket didn’t do any favors for the Eagles. SCA schools Thayer and Cabool are the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds. Their records are 5-4 and 4-5, respectively, but that is a product of playing up every week in a tough SCA. Last year Thayer was the No. 3 seed and beat No. 2 Sarcoxie before travelling to Pierce City and beating the Eagles to end their season. Pierce City vs. Thayer or Cabool will be one of the best games in the area in the district semifinals.
- Camdenton (8-1 – LW: 8)
Camdenton is going to be one of the most interesting teams to watch in the district playoffs. Paxton Delaurent has led Camdenton’s switch to a pass-first offense masterfully. The junior has thrown for 2,840 yards and 33 touchdowns against just five interceptions. Their defense has been strong this year as well which has helped Class 4 No. 8 Camdenton outscore opponents 54 to 13 in wins. The Lakers are the top seed in their district with No. 9 St. Francis Borgia as the two seed and a Rolla team the Lakers already beat 56-13 as the No. 3 seed. A trip to Webb City is the most likely destination for any quarterfinal appearance.
- Ava (8-1 – LW: 7)
Ava has won eight straight games since losing to Buffalo in Week 1. Ava is the top seed in its district and will play MV-BT/Liberty or Mountain Grove in the semifinals. The Bears own wins over both teams already this season. Mid-Lakes teams Fair Grove or Strafford are the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds. If Ava gets through the district, a rematch with Lamar would await in the state quarterfinals. This time Ava would have to go on the road to try and beat the Tigers.
- Mt. Vernon (8-1 – LW: 9)
It may not always be pretty, but Mt. Vernon just keeps on winning. The Class 3 No. 6 Mountaineers are 3-1 in one possession games this year. That one loss was to Reeds Spring, which is why they slipped to the No. 3 seed. That seed is actually preferable to last year’s No. 5 district seed, which turned into a run to the state championship game. The Mountaineers open up with a rivalry game with Aurora before likely getting a shot to avenge their only loss to Reeds Spring in the semifinals. No. 3 Cassville is the heavy favorite to make it to the district title game from the other side.
- Joplin (7-2 – LW: 10)
The biggest winner of Week 9 is Joplin. The Eagles went into the week as the No. 3 seed in the district standings, which meant just one home game. Joplin did what it needed to do in a 49-13 win over Carl Junction to close out the season. Then everything broke right for the Eagles from there. Kirkwood lost to Ladue while Lindbergh blew out Parkway South. It all was enough to give Joplin the No. 2 seed and bump state-ranked Kirkwood to No. 4. Joplin is now guaranteed two home games if it beats two-win Kickapoo on Friday. The other factor is that Kirkwood lost to No. 1 seed Eureka by two scores in the regular season. If Kirkwood flips that in a district semifinal then Joplin would get to host throughout the district playoffs. Joplin is playing well and poised to be a real problem for the St. Louis teams these next few weeks.
Knocking on the door: Catholic, Fair Grove, Strafford, Lincoln, Lebanon