1. Does Osage“>Fort Osage have the best defense in Class 5?
On paper, the answer is a no-brainer. The Indians have posted shutouts in seven of 11 games this season. A touchdown by Belton in the regular-season finale accounts for the only score against Fort Osage in the last four games. The Indians, 10-1, lack a star on defense, but they also don’t have a weakness — or at least not one opponents have been able to find. Seniors Mamu Tauiautusa and Joseph Tuimaseve are two linebackers to watch in tonight’s matchup against visiting Winnetonka. With Winnetonka’s bruising tailback Aaron Mends leading the Griffins’ offense, expect a physical battle.
2. Staley hopes of repeat still alive
After a season-opening loss to Lee’s Summit West — a convincing 23-0 defeat — the Staley Falcons were tossed aside as state championship contenders. Perhaps a bit too soon. Staley has won six straight games heading into a Class 5 district title game with Park Hill South, another hot team that has won seven of nine since an 0-2 start. If there’s one thing that still poses a problem for Staley, winners of last year’s Class 5 state title, it’s a good passing offense. That should make Park Hill South wideout Craig Scott smile — he had three touchdowns in last week’s win against Kearney.
3. A pair of playmakers
A couple of players on a roll will meet tonight when Smithville travels to Platte County. Zach Parrmeter, a senior running back for Smithville, has broken the school’s all-time rushing mark (3,268 yards), as well as the single-season mark (1,650 yards). Platte County will counter with a streaking offense led by quarterback James Valentine, who threw for four touchdowns and ran for another in Wednesday’s win against Liberty North.
4. A test for Lee’s Summit West?
The Titans, 10-0, haven’t exactly been tested much over the past two months. They have outscored their past six opponents by a combined score of 273-32. A district title match with Parkview should be closer. Parkview is 10-2 this season, with both of its losses against one-loss teams.
5. A must-see game
With classes 1 through 5 continuing playoff action tonight, there are plenty of intriguing matchups. The best one just might be in Oak Grove, which is playing host to Center. Oak Grove sophomore Aaron Graham is one of the area’s best runners, and he paced the unbeaten Panthers to a four-point win over Pembroke Hill last week. Center, meanwhile, has a stingy defense led by Maliek Collins that has allowed more than 14 points only once in 11 games. The Yellow Jackets, 9-2, knocked out previously-undefeated Hogan Prep Academy last week.
| Sam McDowell, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam McDowell, <a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>