What will Cape Central do for an encore after routing Mehlville 62-7 in the District Quarterfinals last week?
Central led Mehlville 55-0 at halftime and cruised to an easy victory to propel Kent Gibbs’ squad on to the next round. The fast start included a pair of defensive touchdowns on pick-sixes by Cayden Butler-Beuchaw and Marshon Edwards against the overmatched Panthers. But it was star Running Back Zai’Aire Thomas, a 1,000-yard rusher on the season, who ran wild for 163 yards and three touchdowns on just eight carries. The Sophomore now has 18 rushing touchdowns for the season. Quarterback Morgan Diamond completed all three of his pass attempts, two of them went for scores to Edwards.
Central travels to Oakville to battle another set of Tigers in the Class 5, District 1 Semifinals this Friday night. Oakville rolled in its District Quarterfinal by a score of 42-0 over Webster Groves.
The third-seeded Tigers from Cape Girardeau will certainly meet a different level of competition against the second-seeded Tigers from south St. Louis.
Oakville features a stud at running back in Junior Ethan Venable, who has rushed for 1,042 yards and 20 touchdowns on just 110 carries. Senior Damien Moore is another major threat in the running game with 725 yards and ten touchdowns. The team has rushed for 41 touchdowns and average over 267 yards per game on the season.
Venable is a difference maker on defense as well with a team-high six sacks and 77 total tackles, second to Joshua Baranovic’s 80. The defense forces almost two turnovers per game.
This game provides Central a chance to add another accomplishment on a successful 7-3 season, one that has not featured a win over a team with a winning record. Oakville, at 6-4, offers a chance to change that. The St. Louis area Tigers have something similar to prove considering their most impressive win this season is against a Parkway South squad that was 5-3 when they played in the regular season finale. The Patriots bowed out of the postseason last week.
Oakville is enjoying a resurgence this season. The win last week over Webster Groves guarantees the Tigers will finish with a winning record for the first time since 2013. Cape Central has been more consistent during that same decade with seven winning seasons, including 2022.
The battle of Tigers will take place Friday night at 7pm in St. Louis.
The other Class 5, District 1 Semifinal on Friday is an all SEMO Conference showdown with Poplar Bluff, the fourth seed, traveling to top-seeded Jackson. The Indians won the regular season match-up 35-7 back on September 16.
Good luck Central Tigers!