Southeast Missouri football isn't the laughing stock of the state this year. For the first time ever, the SEMO Conference has a representative in every class heading into the quarterfinal round of the playoffs.
Jackson, Cape Central, New Madrid County Central, Charleston, and Hayti all take the field Monday with hopes of qualifying for the state semifinals.
NMCC will travel to Pattonville for a showdown with 8-3 Clayton.
The Greyhounds have seen NMCC's level of speed, but it was in a 41-0 loss to Ladue earlier in the year.
To make thing worse, bruising fullback Brookes Robinson is now just a bruised fullback. He has a deep thigh bruise on his left leg, and limped all the way through last week's upset win over Herculaneum.
Clayton isn't just cannon fodder for the Eagles though. They've got other quality athletes and will definitely give NMCC a test.
Still, expect the Eagles to come home with some hardware. Considering the road ahead, this might be the best opportunity NMCC has ever had to make a run at the title.
Final score: NMCC 28, Clayton 14
Burroughs at Charleston
* John Burroughs has proven itself to be one of the top teams in 2A this year. Still, it won't be the best team Charleston has faced up to this point.
The Bluejays are hoping losses to NMCC and Sikeston, and quality wins over Dexter and Kennett have prepared them for a test of this magnitude. At cornerback, Dontay Clark has put together an all-state type season. He and the rest of Charleston's secondary will determine if the Bluejays compete or get blown out in this one. Bombers quarterback A.J. Van Slyke has thrown for 1,265 yards with 20 TDs and just four interceptions.
Final score: Burroughs 21, Charleston 16
Hayti at Tipton
* In the sectional round Tipton knocked off the Salisbury Steaks 63-22. The Steaks reached the 1A state finals last year, so does that mean Tipton is on a fast track to the dome?
No so fast there rabbit.
Cardinal fullback Tyler Higgins has been plowing over defenders all season. Will he do the same against Charles Gaines and Company?
I think not.
Final score: Hayti 35, Tipton 20
Jackson at Parkway West
* The Indians seem to have a 50-50 shot of beating this Parkway West team. After suffering a concussion and a slight neck sprain in Monday's sectional, standout tailback Mario Whitney is expected to play.
Jackson will definitely need him to keep up with the Longhorn offense. Tailback Donell Simpson is the top threat, but Parkway's passing game also has to be respected.
Usually the quarterfinal game is a death sentence for area 5A teams, but that's not the case this year.
Final score: Jackson 28, Parkway West 20
Cape at Washington
* Last year Cape Central was booted from the playoffs by Washington, and the Tigers will have to play perfect to keep the same from happening again this season. The Bluejays returned almost everything from that final four team and have been on a tear.
Cape is a team of destiny, and this week the fortune cookie predicts a loss.
Final score: Washington 28, Cape Central 14