With each passing week, Friday nights become exponentially more intense. This week showcases a full slate of games, as all four of our featured squads roll into the district semi-finals. It’s win or go home time and a shot at state is on the line, so let’s get to it.
First off we have the 8-1 Festus Tigers hosting the 2-6 De Soto Dragons in the Class 4 district semis. The Dragons went winless most of the season before knocking off Potosi just before the district playoffs. They dispatched Central last week to make it to the semis, but have likely run into a buzzsaw this week, facing the juggernaut that is the Festus Tigers.
The Tigers on the other hand, couldn’t have asked for a juicier matchup. Fresh off their cushy first-round bye, they should be poised, rested and ready to take on an underdog that has struggled for much of the year. The last game the Tigers played was on 10/23 where they blew out St. Charles West 55-0, so they have the luxury of momentum and extra rest in the same breath. Look for the Tigers to roll in this one.
Next up the Ste. Genevieve Dragons travel to take on the Kennett Indians in the Class 3 district semis. The 4-4 Dragons have their work cut out for them in this one, facing an undefeated Indians squad that has racked up a 9-0 record this season. They are well rested after a first round bye, and have made short work of every opponent they have faced this season.
The Dragons, however, have gotten hot at the right time, and have won four of their last five games. They dumped Dexter 46-28 last week to reach the semis, but they are going to have to play flawless football if they want to make this matchup with Kennett a true Cinderella story. If anyone can gut this one out though, it’s these Dragons.
Switching back to Class 4, the Hillsboro Hawks have a matchup with the North County Raiders for a chance to head to the district finals. The 5-3 Raiders steamrolled their way into the semis by blowing out Sikeston 43-0 like they were a bald tire. They are technically the underdog as the number three seed, but they have a tough squad and will likely be a handful for the Hawks.
Hillsboro, sitting at 5-4, is coming off an impressive win in the opening round where they took care of business against an overmatched Perryville club. The Hawks limped into the playoffs after a tough loss to St. Francis Borgia, but showed no sign of weakness when the chips were all on the table. With an explosive offense and tried-and-true game plan, they should fair well on Friday. Plus they have the luxury of playing at home.
Finally, we have the Jefferson R7 Blue Jays taking on the Kelly Hawks in the District 1 Class 2 semi-finals. The Hawks sit at 8-2 and represent the number two seed in the tournament. They’ve won three straight and haven’t allowed a single point in any of those victories; winning 42, 48 and 46 to zero. They represent a tough challenge for any opponent.
The 6-2 Blue Jays have been equally impressive though, winning their last four games and destroying St. Pius 33-0 in the opening round of the playoffs. Kelly will be no easy task, but if any team is up to it, it is these red-hot Blue Jays. The game will be played at a neutral site, so take home field advantage out of the equation, which benefits the Jays as they are the lower seed.
There’s a lot riding on these matchups this week, and it’s only going to get more intense down the road. Good luck to all of the student athletes out there trying to make history on Friday. Get hyped and watch however you are able.