It’s easy to just pencil this in as Lebanon-Camdenton, because they seem to meet every year in the postseason and the games are usually really good and unpredictable.
But, I’d be a little wary if I was Lebanon and had to play Waynesville in the semifinals Nov. 6. Lebanon needed a defensive touchdown in the final minute of the game to win 21-14 at Waynesville in the second week of the season.
Waynesville is also playing much better of late. The Tigers closed the regular season on a two-game winning streak, winning at Glendale before upsetting Hillcrest at home this past Friday night.
Waynesville has had a bit of bad luck in close games, and you’d think they’d be due to win a nail-bitter. Of the Tigers’ six losses, three came by seven or fewer points.
Lebanon has been really hard to figure out this season. If they win, it’s been a blowout or a game that’s come down to the wire. Not much in between.
Kickapoo and Nixa get well-deserved byes as the top two seeds. Both are very well balanced. While Branson and Ozark may have the offenses to put some points on the board, Kickapoo and Nixa have proven to be complete teams.
Their likely district title showdown Nov. 11 will be as good as it gets for local high school football. I’d give a slight edge to Kickapoo in the skill positions, but Nixa probably has the deeper, more experienced line on both sides.
How similar are they?
Kickapoo is 9-0, with a combined scoring margin of 346-128. Two opponents (Parkview, Hillcrest) scored over 20 against the Chiefs, but much of those points came after the outcome was already decided.
Nixa is 8-1, outscoring opponents 321-84. Only Webb City scored more than 14 points against the Nixa defense.
So, just reading that information, maybe Nixa has the slightly better defense while Kickapoo has the slightly better offense. Either way, it’ll be a classic if they meet in the finals.
If Parkview can beat Ruskin Oct. 31, that would send them to the semifinals in what would be a clash of styles against Willard.
Parkview has had an up-and-down season, but is usually competitive in its games.
For whoever wins that matchup, the top-ranked team in the state awaits in the district finals. It’s been a breakthrough year for Willard, but knocking off Lee’s Summit West is a daunting task. Not impossible, though, as fellow COC-Large member Ozark showed last year.
When you have the abnormal size of Willard’s offensive line, that’s gotta give you at least a chance against anyone.
I really hope Kickapoo and Nixa take care of business because if and when they play it will be a must see I have watched both teams play twice this year and I really think this could be one of the best southwest Missouri high school football games ever.