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Hazelwood Central, East & McCluer, Host Football District Openers

By Jim Wieners
After 24 years of dealing with the final three weeks of the prep football season (four of the last five weeks in some occasions) the Missouri State High School Activities Association installs a new district format where all the teams play in a single elimination bracket playoff format at that begins this week.

Now “It’s all or nothing,” said Hazelwood Central head football Coach Van Vanatta and all head coaches must have that same feeling as the playoffs begin. Hazelwood Central opens at home Saturday, Oct. 27, 1:30, against Suburban North Conference rival Hazelwood West in Class Six, District Two.

Hazelwood Central (7-2) has won seven in a row, won the Suburban North (7-0) and is seeded second behind 8-0 and 2011 Class Six State Runner up CBC. Hazelwood West (0-9) is seeded seventh and has lost 30 out of their last 33 dating back to late in the 2010 season. Hazelwood Central is coming off a 17-6 home win Oct. 20 over McCluer as Shamari Hudson and David Simmons each scored a Hawk touchdown while on the same day Hazelwood West lost at home to Hazelwood East, 32-15.

“Our job is to stay focused and keep getting better,” Vanatta said. “We got to keep getting better”

Central hosted West Sept. 15 and the Hawks shut out Wildcats, 21-0.  The winner plays third-seeded DeSmet (6-3) or sixth-seeded Pattonville (1-8) Nov. 2 or 3, time and site to be determined by seeding.

Meanwhile McCluer (7-2) saw their seven-game win streak end at Hazelwood Central but the Comets were assured of a number two seed in Class Five, District Two behind 8-0 Kirkwood. McCluer will host seventh-seeded Riverview Gardens (3-6) Friday, Oct. 26, at 2 p.m. and the two teams agreed on that time according to MSHSAA regulations. The winner plays third-seeded Webster Groves or sixth-seeded Chaminade Oct. 31, 7 p.m. at a site to be determined and McCluer may have to play at a neutral site if they can not put up temporary lights.

It is a rematch from Sept. 8 as McCluer won at Riverview Gardens, 34-22. Meanwhile, Riverview Gardens, despite two touchdowns from Corey Winfield and two touchdown passes from John Gould, was routed Oct. 19 at Ritenour, 62-18.

Also in Class Five, District Two it is a four versus five seed showdown as fourth-seeded Hazelwood East (5-4) hosts fifth-seeded McCluer North (3-6) in an Oct. 26, 2 p.m. (time agreed by the Suburban North rivals) rematch of Sept. 29 as the Spartans rolled past the visiting Stars, 44-21. The winner plays Oct. 31, 7 p.m. at Kirkwood.

Hazelwood East got two Raeffel Merriweather touchdown runs in an Oct. 20 win at Hazelwood West. That same day McCluer North saw Kyrton Kilgore, Demetrius Robinson and Harry Ballard each contribute to two Star touchdowns in a 37-16 home win over Pattonville.

In Class Three, District Five third-seeded McCluer South-Berkeley (6-3) may be putting up temporary lights for an Oct. 26, 7 p.m. home game against sixth-seeded Trinity-Catholic (3-6). If they do not they may need a neutral site and the decision has not been announced as of 1:51 p.m. Oct. 22.

The winner plays Oct. 31 7 p.m., against top-seeded O’Fallon Christian or seventh-seeded Wright City, site to be announced. Second-seeded Duchesne will play eighth-seeded Sumner because Duchesne (5-4) apparently successfully appealed their seeding over O’Fallon Christian (8-1) because Duchesne defeated O’Fallon Christian 15-8 on Sept. 28.

McCluer South-Berkeley was awarded a forfeit Oct. 20 win over College Prep High at Madison Charter, who apparently did not play this season. Trinity Catholic, with four Torye Hayes touchdowns and three Desoto Dickson touchdowns, won Oct. 19 at home over Confluence Prep Academy Charter,

CLASS TWO, DISTRICT TWO — Lutheran North (3-6) is seeded fifth and will play Oct. 26, 7 p.m. at fourth-seeded Herculaneum (7-2). The winner plays Oct. 31, 7 p.m., site to be announced against top-seeded Maplewood-Richmond Heights, coached by former Hazelwood Central coach Rich Nixon, or eighth-seeded Cleveland Naval Junior ROTC.

Lutheran North, despite three Isaiah Holman touchdown runs and two Justin Baker touchdown passes, lost Oct. 20 at home to St. Mary’s, 56-42.



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