RE/MAX Big 3 Games of the Week
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Blue Valley at Blue Valley West
7 p.m. Friday at the Blue Valley D.A.C.
In the final game of the season two rivals meet up to decide the Class 5A District 4 title.
Both teams come in riding three-game winning streaks. If the past few weeks are any indication this game could go down to the final minutes. Both Blue Valley and West have close wins this season over tough Eastern Kansas League opponents, including almost identical 29-28 wins.
The Tigers got their dramatic win three weeks ago when they rallied from two scores down to get a touchdown and two-point conversion to beat St. Thomas Aquinas in the final minutes. Last week the Jaguars rallied from three touchdowns down to get a would-be game- tying score before a two-point conversion made it a 29-28 win over Blue Valley Southwest.
This should be a tough game between two teams that know each other well, with the winner getting the top seed out of the district and bragging rights for the year.
Lawrence Free State at Lawrence
7 p.m. Friday at Lawrence Stadium
In the 16-year history of this rivalry this is the best combined records for the teams entering this game. Both Free State and Lawrence enter with 7-1 marks on the season, with each boasting a long winning streak in the process.
Free State comes in riding a five game streak with while Lawrence hasn’t lost since the first week of the season. The Firebirds physical style of play has helped them come within one game of a share of the Sunflower League crown.
The Lions may not have the size of Free State, but do-everything QB Brad Strauss has led Lawrence to the brink of an outright conference title and a chance for a high seed in the 6A bracket.
St. Thomas Aquinas at Bishop Miege
7 p.m. Friday at Bishop Miege Stadium
Rivals meet to decide another district title. The Saints have a lot riding on this game where a win would give them an EKL title, district title and chance at the top seed in the 5A bracket.
The Stags have righted the ship after a mid-season, four-game losing streak. Miege has turned on the jets in the last two games outscoring Turner and Harmon 115-13.
This game could come down to the Saints consistency against Miege’s streaky tendencies. The Stags are a talented team, but they have struggled to put together three good weeks of play so far this season.
Liberty North at St. Joseph Lafayette
7 p.m. Thursday at Lafayette Stadium
With the new post-season system in place, games like this jump to the top of the page in the first week of action. Liberty North is one of the hottest teams in the Metro, winning three straight games while Lafayette comes in off of a loss to a tough Maryville team.
The new format takes the No. 4 seed in Lafayette and lets them host the Eagles in a win-or-go- home situation. Some districts are deeper than others, but Class 4 District 8 is one of the deepest with Platte County, Savannah, Lafayette, Liberty North, Excelsior Springs, Smithville and Van Horn all with winning records. Only St. Joe Benton has a losing record in the district.
This game could see one of these teams start the journey to a district title and perhaps more. Both have tough, physical running games that are built for the post-season and has some experience as each has seen the postseason in the last two seasons.
The winner of this game will play the winner of the Platte County-St. Joseph Benton game.
Smithville at Excelsior Springs
7 p.m. Thursday at Excelsior Springs Stadium
Excelsior Springs has been one of the surprise teams all season, but now it enters the postseason coming off its worst loss of the year.
The Tigers were on a roll with big wins in every game except a seven-point loss to Harrisonville in week No. 5. The Panthers jumped on Excelsior Springs early on the way to a 49-13 rout. This week the Tigers have to put that all behind them and get ready for the program’s first playoff game in more than a decade.
Smithville comes in with a quietly solid 6-3 record with two straight wins to close the season. The Warriors have been good against smaller class teams including a win over a tough Class 3 Center team in the second week of the season. The question for Smithville is it ready for the postseason with only two of its six wins coming against Class 4 competition.
The winner of this game will play the winner of the Savannah-Van Horn game.
William Chrisman at Raytown
7 p.m. Thursday at Ted Chitwood Stadium
The Bears have closed strong with two straight wins over Truman and Oak Park while Raytown has wins over Belton and University Academy in its last two contests.
This game will be a contest to see if these two teams can take the next step and extend their season to an extra game. Both teams have been close to more wins during the season but they haven’t been able to break through.
The winner of this game will play Fort Osage, which shut out both Chrisman and Raytown by a combined 71-0 score in the regular season.
Derrick Thomas Academy Chiefs
Park Hill Trojans
Afrikan Centered College Prep Pharohs
Appleton City Bulldogs
St. James Academy Thunder
Lees Summit North Broncos
Olathe North Eagles
St. Pius X Warriors
Oak Grove Panthers
Knob Noster Panthers
Central Heights Vikings