Before I go any further, THESE ARE NOT A HEAD-TO-HEAD RANKING, BUT A RANKING OF DOMINANCE BY CLASS. I am not saying I think the Class 1 schools on this list could beat all the Class 4-6 teams ranked below them or not ranked.
1. Carthage (C5 – 5-0)
Carthage used a 28-0 second-half advantage beat Willard 42-7. The Tigers out-gained Willard 447-117 and averaged 10 yards per play in the win. Quarterback Patrick Carlton had 164 yards rushing and two touchdowns with 14 carries. Defensively, Carthage had 13 tackles for a loss and six sacks. This week, Carthage will be tested by Joplin. Running back Nathan Glades, who missed Joplin’s Week 5 game, has yet to be held below 140 yards rushing in a game.
2. Webb City (C5 – 5-1)
Webb City rolled to a 35-7 win over Branson in Week 6. Junior Dupree Jackson had a breakout game with 23 carries for 160 yards and two touchdowns. He had 18 carries for 114 yards in Webb City’s first five games. Devrin Weathers wasn’t absent. He had 16 carries for 102 yards and pair of touchdowns. Up this week, Webb City welcomes in Class 6 No. 2 Nixa in what is the game of the week in southwest Missouri.
3. West Plains (C4 – 6-0)
West Plains had one of the most impressive performances in the entire area in Week 6. The Zizzers blew out Lebanon 63-14. That 49-point margin of defeat was the worst loss for Lebanon since at least 2010. In that span since 2010, Lebanon only lost one other game by more than 40 points. West Plains’ offensive line helped the offense to rack up 487 yards on 40 plays. The Zizzers are in the driver’s seat for the Ozark Conference title. A trip to Parkview is on the schedule this week.
4. Nixa (C6 – 6-0)
The Nixa defense made a huge statement holding Ozark to just seven points in a 35-7 Backyard Brawl victory. It was the first time the Tigers were held below 14 points all season. The Eagles forced three Ozark turnovers with three fumbles and an interception. Offensively, Ramone Green gashed Ozark for 125 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries. Up this week is Nixa’s biggest test of the season to date. They will travel to Webb City to face the Class 5 No. 2 ranked Cardinals. According to the archives on webbcityfootball.com, Nixa has never beaten Webb City with an all-time record of 0-19 against the Cardinals. Webb City’s one loss was by one-point to Joplin on the road in the first game of the year. Nixa beat that same Joplin team by one point at home.
5. Lamar (C2 – 5-1)
Lamar’s defense put together its best game of the season in a 33-0 win over Mt. Vernon. It was the first time that Mt. Vernon had been shutout since Sept. 12, 2014. That is a span of 73 games. The Tigers held Mt. Vernon to 164 total yards. Of Mt. Vernon’s 20 rushing plays, five went for negative yards with 11 going for a yard or less. The Tigers get another chance to make a case for the No. 1 spot in Class 2 with undefeated No. 6 Butler coming to town this week. The game replaces a matchup with Monett that was canceled.
6. Thayer (C1 – 4-1)
Defense has been a theme in these rankings this week, but defense has been THE theme all season for the Thayer Bobcats. Thayer posted its third shutout in four games in a 27-0 win over Cabool. I repeat, they are doing this without senior Jayce Haven who was a first-team all-state defensive back last year. This team is already a state title contender, if Haven comes back, this team should be a favorite. Up this week is a home game against Ava. Win this week, and Thayer has a clear path to an unbeaten SCA season with its two remaining opponents being under .500 to this point in the season.
7. Marionville (C1 – 6-0)
The mantle of the Southwest Conference’s best team has been passed. The Comets snapped a three-game losing streak to Pierce City with a 44-20 win on Friday. Marionville had not only lost three straight to Pierce City, but the Comets had been shut out in each of those three contests. Junior Dakota Wilson rushed for 243 yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries in the win. Quarterback Wil Carlton showed off his defensive chops with two interceptions in the game. Marionville hosts Sarcoxie this week.
8. Skyline (C1 – 5-1)
Welcome to the rankings, Skyline. A 48-0 loss to Valle Catholic in Week 1 dampened expectations for the Tigers, but that loss looks less and less bad every week as Valle Catholic has established itself as one of Class 3’s top teams. Since that game, Skyline has outscored opponents 290-101. The defense has made an incredible leap the last four weeks. Skyline yielded 62 points to Stockton in Week 2. Since then, the defense has allowed 39 total points in four weeks. Skyline is one win away from an unbeaten Mid-Lakes record. First, Skyline has a home game with Lighthouse Christian this week and a road trip to Warsaw in Week 8 before hosting conference rival Strafford to finish the season.
9. Cassville (C3 – 4-2)
Cassville returns to the rankings after a 50-0 win over rival Monett on Friday. The Wildcats have two losses on the season to Mt. Vernon and Lamar. As long as Cassville wins out, the Wildcats will lock down a top two seed in their district which will give them a key bye week.
10. Bolivar (C4 – 4-2)
Bolivar hangs on at No. 10 despite a 37-33 home loss to a Waynesville team that is 2-3 on the season. The Liberators were playing without Darrin Fugitt and his 1,000 yards rushing. Fugitt had 55% of Bolivar’s total rushing yards on the season and accounted for 28% of Bolivar’s offensive touchdowns prior to Week 6. Despite missing such a key player, Bolivar had a three-point lead with 90 seconds left in the game before Waynesville quarterback Michael Lewis connected with Xay McArthur on a game-winning 46-yard touchdown pass. Bolivar faces Hillcrest this week.
OTHERS TO WATCH (alphabetical): Aurora (C3 – 4-2), Buffalo (C3 – 4-2), Lockwood (C1 – 4-1), Mt. Vernon (C3 – 4-2), Ozark (C5 – 4-2)