Marceline can be, at worst, Lewis and Clark Conference co-champ with home win over lowly Harrisburg. Maryville will be outright Midland Empire Conference champ with win over St. Joseph: Lafayette
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
The final week of 2018 high school football regular-season play Friday night finds only a couple of games with noteworthy stakes beyond jockeying for seeding position for the district playoffs which will begin for most clubs next week.
Among the eight area squads (excepting Chillicothe), the only contest with championship impact will be Marceline’s home contest against lowly Harrisburg. Win it and MHS’ Tigers will be, at worst, Lewis and Clark Conference co-champions.
In the Midland Empire Conference, Maryville will try to upgrade its assured co-championship to an outright crown when, as a big favorite, it calls on second-place St. Joseph: Lafayette.
Elsewhere, Southwest Livingston will visit Norborne/Hardin-Central at Hardin and Braymer will call on North Andrew in 8-man play. Among the other 11-man programs in the area, Brookfield will go to Clark County, Trenton will host Maysville/Winston, Hamilton will visit North Platte, Carrollton will host Higginsville, and Polo will be at Milan. All of those are conference contests.
The other two non-Chillicothe MEC games will see St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond try to avoid a winless regular season as it hosts slumping Cameron and Savannah will be at home against Kansas City: St. Pius X.
Marceline (7-1, 6-1 conf.) should have next-to-no problem dispatching Harrisburg’s Bulldogs (1-7, 0-7 conf.), whose only victory was a 2-pointer over Mexico’s Missouri Military Academy and who lost to two other “down” L&C teams (Salisbury, Paris) by wide margins.
Marceline has won four straight since falling in a close one at Fayette and could still wind up as outright league title-winners if Fayette’s Falcons stumble at Knox County Friday, which is not far-fetched.
Brookfield (1-7, 1-5 conf.) will tangle with the strong Clark County Indians (6-2) at distant Kahoka.
An upset win by the Bulldogs might well push them up to the No. 5 spot in the district seedings, creating a rematch with fellow Clarence Cannon Conference member Macon. A loss would make the vulnerable to being passed by Trenton and sliding to the No. 7 seeding, which could create a different rematch with week 4 opponent Lexington.
Trenton (2-6, 2-4 conf.) has been “in” many of its games in the second half, but didn’t find a way to win them until last week’s victory at winless Polo. If they can follow that up with a C.F. Russell Stadium win over Grand River Conference-East opponent Maysville/Winston (2-6) Friday, the Bulldogs might jump from seventh to fifth in the district seedings, earning a more-favorable matchup at Macon.
Carrollton (3-5, 1-3 conf.) welcomes a Higginsville squad (4-4) smarting from the 42-0 smackdown it was handed by neighbor Lexington last Friday night. The Huskers figure to be in a mood for taking it out on the Trojans.
If Carrollton doesn’t win its Missouri River Valley Conference-East game Friday, it could drop from its current No. 5 potential seeding in Class 2 District 8 to either sixth or even seventh, depending on Brookfield’s and Trenton’s results. Like those two, it almost certainly would prefer to face No. 4 seed Macon in the district opener next week, rather than Lexington or Lawson, the teams tussling for second and third.
Polo’s quest for a 2018 triumph will take it to Milan (8-0), whose Wildcats barely escaped with an 8-0 overtime win over South Harrison last week. This week’s GRC-E contest against Polo has the Panthers still in search of a win, despite being close to victory multiple times this fall.
Hamilton (5-3, 3-3 conf.) needs to win at North Platte in their KCI Conference finale to have a chance to slide past South Harrison into the No. 4 spot in Class 1 District 8. South Harrison will face Princeton/Mercer in a clash of 5-3 clubs, so the tumblers falling in place for Hamilton to get a home playoff game is not a partcularly-long shot.
The Southwest Livingston/Hale/Tina-Avalon co-op squad is playing out the string outside the conference Friday, aside from the slender, but not impossible, hope that Rock Port can stun undefeated Mound City/Craig and open the door for SLHS Wildcats to snag a share of the Highway 275 Conference crown.
It is a geographic/league rivalry game for the Wildcats (7-1), though, facing players from two schools who soon will be opponents for them on the Carroll-Livingston Activity Association basketball courts. Southwest Livingston, which is locked in to its district’s No. 2 seeding and an opening-round bye next week, will be after a fifth-straight 2018 win. Norborne/Hardin-Central comes in 4-4.
The Braymer/Breckenridge co-op club wraps up its regular season at Grand River Conference-West foe North Andrew. The Bobcats (0-8. 0-6 conf.) already know they’ll be the bottom seed in their district. What they don’t know yet is if their trip next week will be to King City or Shelbyville (North Shelby).