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Thursday, Sep. 18, 2014

Strong schedules could pay off for local teams

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Just one season ago, Jackson, New Madrid County Central and Charleston were the best local teams in their class. But wins have been hard to come by for all three of the former powers.

Why you ask?

The answer is the same for all three 2-5 teams. All lost a solid senior class to graduation. And another big factor has been strength of schedule.

The Bluejays have played just three schools their size this year. Their other four games have been against much larger teams.

The Eagles have also played some tough teams, playing several state-ranked squads and some strong out of state competition. The same goes for the Indians, who have played arguably the toughest schedule in all of Southeast Missouri.

Fortunately for all three teams, Missouri high school football is all about the final three weeks of the season.

Charleston won't find a team the caliber of Sikeston or Dexter in Class 2 District 2. NMCC won't find a Jonesboro or a Cape Central in Class 3 District 1.

Jackson, on the other hand, will face another juggernaut this Friday when it plays host to undefeated Parkway Central.

The Indians probably can't win that game, but expect them to put up a fight. Jackson prepared for this game earlier in the year by playing Fort Zumwalt West and Pattonville.

Final score: Parkway Central 28, Jackson 13

Even with a record of 2-5, Charleston is still the best team in Class 2 District 2. Like last year, their biggest threat in the district seems to be Crystal City. The Hornets started the year off 2-1, but have taken their annual nosedive.

They've lost four straight, with their most recent being a 42-6 clubbing from St. Vincent. If the Bluejays can just keep from beating themselves with turnovers, they will be back in the state playoffs.

Final score: Charleston 23, Crystal City 14

The Eagles have tradition if nothing else. NMCC has won nine out of the last 10 Class 3 District 1 titles, and hasn't lost a district game since 1998. That streak could come to an end this year, but not this week.

Fredericktown looks very average at 2-5, with wins over DeSoto and Potosi.

Final score: NMCC 28, Fredericktown 14

This could very well turn out to be the Class 4 District 1 championship game. Cape Central is the best team in the SEMO Conference, but Sikeston poses a serious threat.

The Bulldogs had an extra week to prepare for the Tigers, and they're due to pull out their annual massive upset. The SHS defense may hold Cape Central to its lowest offensive output of the season, but it won't change the end result.

Final score: Cape Central 24, Sikeston 7

Caruthersville fans have to be wondering where all the offense has gone. The once-explosive Tigers have put up just 23 points in their last three games.

East Prairie fans have to be wondering where the offense has been all season. The Eagles continue to struggle on the offensive side of the ball, averaging just eight points a night. Their defense hasn't been much more productive, allowing 33 points a game.

Say hello to win No. 2 Caruthersville. Final score: Caruthersville 33, East Prairie 8

Kennett is the darkhorse of 3A District 1 for one reason -- Tyree Goolsby. Dexter is the favorite in 3A District 1 for two reasons -- Matt Burnett, and the best defense in the district.

No question about it, this is the Bearcats' best team since the Wheeler days.

Final score: Dexter 26, Kennett 21

Perryville has won two of its last three games, beating below-average teams in Windsor and DeSoto. Poplar Bluff has dropped two of its last three, with the most recent being a 27-7 loss to Jackson.

Tony Webb is just two yards shy of breaking Brent Little's records for receiving yards in a career. The Pirates certainly won't keep him from it.

Final score: Poplar Bluff 28, Perryville 7

After losing its first three games, Valle Catholic turned it on like a light switch. The Warriors are now riding a four-game winning streak heading into Friday's game against defensively-challenged Chaffee.

Final score: Valle 26, Chaffee 14

Portageville suffered its first loss last week against Bruceton, Tenn. The Bulldogs had two penalties and three turnovers in the loss.

The Green Wave can only hope for that much luck against a team that plays near perfection

. Final score: Portageville 35, Malden 20

Last week Scott City was elated after a 20-0 loss to Hayti. Will they feel even better after Grandview ends a five-game losing streak against them Friday night?

Final score: Grandview 22, Scott City 21

St. Vincent is flying high after back-to-back blowout wins over Caruthersville and Crystal City. Hayti has stumbled a bit, losing to Portageville, then pulling out a surprisingly close 20-0 win over Scott City. This game will decide the Class 1 District 1 championship.

Final score: Hayti 30, St. Vincent 28