Prep Football Teams to Seek Better Results During District Playoffs
By Jim Wieners
Area High School Football teams are seeking to do better this season during district playoffs and hope to be in the state playoffs after all North County teams were eliminated last year in the newly formed district bracket playoffs.
Last year was the first time since the Missouri State High School Activities Association added a state quarterfinal round in 1975 that no North County High School, including area teams, advanced to the state quarterfinals. Last year Hazelwood Central (Class Six), Hazelwood East (Class Five), Lutheran North (Class Two), McCluer (Class Five) and Ritenour (Class Six) were each eliminated in the district semifinals. Meanwhile, McCluer South-Berkeley, a North County High School in an area school district (Ferguson-Florissant), was a Class Three, District Five Finalist before losing to Duchesne.
Hazelwood Central is the defending Suburban North Conference Champion and won eight games over Suburban North teams last year, including two over Hazelwood West. However the Hawks were winless outside the Suburban North including two losses to eventual Class Six Semifinalist DeSmet.
McCluer finished second to Hazelwood Central in the Suburban North, won two games over Riverview Gardens and had a seven-game win streak between losses to Central and Hazelwood East. McCluer lost the Class Five, District Two semifinals to eventual district runner up Webster Groves.
Hazelwood East, like McCluer, was a Class Five, District Two semifinalist. East, who defeated McCluer North twice, lost twice last year to eventual Class Five State Champion Kirkwood.
Lutheran North, after opening district play with an upset of Herculaneum, lost to eventual Class Two Quarterfinalist Maplewood-Richmond Heights.
MORE FALL PREVIEWS — BOYS SOCCER — Three area Boys Soccer teams that were standouts last year — North County Christian, Trinity Catholic and Hazelwood West — will each have to overcome large graduation losses from last year.
North County Christian took third place last year in the Missouri Christian State Athletic Association and, in Dayton, Tenn., was an NACA Division Two Consolation Champion. According to the NCCS website mentions that Jacob Payne will be the head coach after Allen Love coached last year.
Trinity Catholic was the only area team to advance past MSHSAA district last year. After finishing second two years ago to Priory in Class Two, Trinity was a Class One Quarterfinalist last year before losing to eventual third-place finisher Bayless.
Hazelwood West won the Suburban North Conference title but lost in a Class Three, District Five semifinals to eventual district runner up McCluer North.
BOYS SWIMMING & DIVING — Hazelwood Central diver Clayton Janvrin and McCluer North swimmer Nick Kuper will be the athletes to watch this year. Last year Janvrin finished fifth in one-meter diving while Kuper qualified to compete in three events but could only compete in two according to MSHSAA rules but were eliminated in preliminaries.
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY — Runners to watch include last year’s state qualifiers Nicholas Taylor, McCluer North and Keith Clark, Brandon Brown, Mika Iuli and Nelson Njogo, Hazelwood West.
OTHER TEAMS TO WATCH — WINTER — Lutheran North Boys Basketball last year took Third Place in Class Three State. North County Christian Boys Basketball took second in Missouri Christian State. SPRING — Hazelwood Central Boys Track & Field won Class Four State last four years. North County Christian State Baseball won Missouri Christian State last two years.
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