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, 5-0, 1) – Make it 40 straight wins for the machine known as the Lamar high school football team. Friday’s 50-8 win over McDonald County keeps the nation’s fifth longest winning streak intact. In case you’re wondering, the Kimberly Papermakers of Wisconsin currently hold the longest active streak at 62 consecutive wins. I fully expect that streak to hit 41 when Lamar hosts Class 1 top-ranked Valle Catholic Saturday. Oh by the way, Lamar has allowed 14 points this season (less than 3 per game).
2. Webb City (C4, 6-0, 2) – On paper it looked like a great matchup; 5-0 Webb City hosts 5-0 Nixa for the outright COC Large lead. In reality, it was as lopsided as Mayweather vs. McGregor. The Cardinals led 38-0 at the half and cruised to a 45-7 win, resting their starters for much of the 2nd half. The show hits the road to Ozark this week where you can bet the Cardinals are itching for a little payback after last year’s upset loss in week 7.
3. Carl Junction (C4, 5-1, 3) – If not for Webb City the Bulldogs would be a favorite to win the state championship this fall. Behind its stout defense and high-powered offense CJ has ripped off five straight dominating victories since a season opening loss to the Cardinals. Rayquion Weston and Joe Kennedy combined for six touchdowns as the Bulldogs racked up over 500 yards of offense in a 49-7 win over Class 5 10th ranked Carthage. They won’t win the conference or district, but you can bet they’re itching for another shot at Webb City in the district championship.
4. Ava (C2, 6-0, 4) – The blue Bears flexed their muscle to shutout the brown Bears of Willow Springs 43-0 last week. Ava did what it does best, controlling the ball and the clock, amassing nearly 400 yards of offense while holding Willow Springs to less than 100 yards. Ava hosts 5-1 Thayer this week in our O-Zone Game of the Week; a matchup that will almost certainly decide the SCA title. Ava is a heavy favorite, but I’m sure Coach Swofford won’t allow his team to look past the Bobcats.
5. Pierce City (C1, 6-0, 6) – Being undefeated is great, but until Friday you could chalk it up to playing inferior opponents. Not anymore. Coach Hocker and the Eagles were looking for that statement win and they got it against previously unbeaten Lockwood, 32-7. Lockwood got on the board first, but it was all Eagles from there led by senior quarterback Gage Brown, who’s seen plenty of ups and downs in his four years. Forsyth and El Dorado Springs are the next two opponents, but it’s hard not to look to ahead to a week 9 trip to 6-0 Sarcoxie, a game that should decide the SRVC title.
6. Seneca (C3, 6-0, 5) – It wasn’t the Indians’ most impressing showing of the season, but they avoided the trap and held off Big 8 rival Aurora 15-14. Seneca led 15-0 until the 4th quarter when the much-improved Houn’ Dawgs found the end zone twice, the latter coming with just over a minute to go. The Big 8 gauntlet continues this week with Cassville coming to town. Top to bottom this is the deepest the Big 8 has been in several years.
7. Thayer (C1, 5-1, 8) – The Bobcats aren’t going to knock your socks off with flash, but as has been the case for the duration of his highly-successful tenure, Coach Billy Webber’s team is going to play hard-nosed, disciplined football. The Bobcats used a 21-point 2nd quarter to beat Cabool 41-0 Friday night. It was the third straight shutout for a team that opened the year with a 56-14 loss to state-ranked Hayti. Ayden Stone and Garrett Young are a nice one-two punch on offense, and they’ll need to be at their best this week as the Bobcats travel to 6-0 Ava in our O-Zone Game of the Week.
8. Mt Vernon (C3, 5-1, 9) – We knew coming into the season Mt Vernon’s offense was good, but it appears they’ve found their groove of late. The Mountaineers are averaging 48.5 points in wins over McDonald County and East Newton. A trio of key tests are coming up for the current district two-seed beginning with a trip to upset-minded Aurora Friday night.
9. Catholic (C3, 5-1, NR) – The Irish dropped out of our rankings after a week 2 loss to Mt Vernon, but have climbed back in after their fourth straight win; a 47-20 defeat of Buffalo last Friday. At closer look the Irish have been extremely good. The Mt Vernon loss came on a field goal in the final seconds and all their other games have been double digit victories. Junior QB Tyson Riley is the straw that stirs the Irish drink, but plenty of other playmakers make this team tough, including two-way ball hawk Lincoln Jones and running backs Heath Southwick and Hunter Puckett, who heavily contributed to Catholic’s 462 rushing yards Friday night. After winning a share of the COC Small title last season, the Irish want the whole thing in the league’s final year, and it will likely come down to a week 9 trip to Reeds Spring.
10. Lincoln (C1, 6-0, 10) – Another win (6), another opponent held under 15 (6), another 40-plus point game (4) and another week closer to locking up the district top seed. The Cardinals remain the fifth ranked team in Class 1 and continue their current three game road trip at 2-4 Slater this week. Guess how that’s going to turn out…
Knocking on the Door: Sarcoxie (C1, 6-0, NR), Mtn Grove (C2, 4-2, 7), Camdenton (C4, 5-1, NR), Greenfield (8-man, 5-1, NR), Lockwood (C1, 5-1, NR), West Plains (C4, 4-2, NR), Carthage (C5, 3-3, NR), Glendale (C5, 4-2, NR), Cassville (C3, 4-2, NR)