Big dreams begin for smaller schools
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
This postseason is here in Missouri, and several districts should provide good matchups. The smaller classes always provide great drama and with all 64 teams still alive and with an equal chance to win five straight games and win a state title anything could happen this year.
The two districts in the Metro have teams with designs on winning state titles. District No. 7 features Nevada with the top seed followed by Bolivar, Raytown South, Harrisonville, Grandview, Pleasant Hill, Grain Valley and Warrensburg.
The top for seeds should be in position to win each of their games, setting up pretty good district semifinals with Harrisonville traveling to Nevada and Raytown South going to Bolivar. The overall district champ could go many different ways, and the fact that Harrisonville and Raytown South have to go on the road could be huge in determining the final winner.
The other district is loaded with talented teams that are mostly north of the river. Platte County earned the top seed and opens with St. Joseph Benton. Excelsior Springs strong season earned the Tigers the No. 2 seed, and they will host Smithville. Savannah got the third seed and will host Van Horn while one of the best games of the first round pits Liberty North traveling to St. Joseph Lafayette in the 4 vs. 5 matchup.
The Metro has two districts with several teams that are looking to make deep runs in the playoffs. In District No. 8 Maryville enters undefeated with the No. 1 seed. This district tournament will be a test for the Interscholastic League with East and Northeast both getting top half seeds and hosting games. Richmond is the third seed and opens with St. Pius X.
District No. 7 features two undefeated teams in No. 1 seed Oak Grove and second seeded Hogan Prep Academy. Also in the bracket are Center, Clinton and Pembroke Hill who have five combined losses on the season. This district could see several different teams come out on top and could be one of the most competitive in the state.
Several state title contenders begin their quest in the district tournaments. In District No. 7 Lafayette County and Holden earned the top seeds and could be eyeing a rematch of their game from the sixth week of the season that Lafayette County won in overtime 28-21.
The other district features St. Joseph LeBlond as the top seed but Lathrop and Lawson have also had good seasons and could be a player when all is said and done.
With its return to Class 1 Penney is once again the favorite to win the state championship. Penney could be challenged by South Harrison or East Buchanan but it is the Hornets district to lose. Other teams to watch in Class 1 are Drexel and Cass-Midway in District 3 and Wellington-Napoleon in District 7.
Shawnee Mission East Lancers
Lone Jack Mules
Van Horn Falcons
Jefferson West Tigers
Oak Grove Panthers
University Academy Gryphons
Raytown South Cardinals
Blue Valley Tigers
Mill Valley Jaguars
Lees Summit Tigers
St. Paul Lutheran Saints
Lawrence Free State Firebirds
Blue Valley Southwest Timberwolves
William Chrisman Bears