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Area Teams Sweep High School Football District-Title Chances Friday

Old hands Southwest Livingston, Hamilton: Penney, Marceline prevail in frigid Missouri high school football district-championship games Friday, Nov. 13. Each will host next weekend's state games

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News
With time in the fourth quarter running short and his team protecting a 34-22 lead, Southwest Livingston High School football Wildcats defensive lineman Jaeden Sears prevents North Shelby Raiders quarterback Cale Stoneburner from releasing a desperation pass from deep in NSHS territory. Sears, one of the Hale R-1 High students on the SLHS squad, finished the game with 19 tackles, including four for losses, three sacks, and two forced fumbles. Southwest Livingston earned the right to host next Friday's (Nov. 20, 2020) Missouri 8-man state-semifinal game against Drexel/Amoret: Miami with its second-consecutive district-finals home win over North Shelby.
  • Southwest Livingston posts 34 unanswered points, beats visiting North Shelby 34-22 in 8-man play
  • All scoring done in first half as Hamilton: Penney knocks off host Princeton 10-6 in 11-man action
  • Challenged into third period, Marceline puts up last 29 points in 50-14 home win over Harrisburg
  • All three winning area teams will get to host their games next weekend

C-T-area high school football teams went three for three in their 2020 Missouri district playoffs championship games Friday (Nov. 13), leaving each set to host games next weekend.

Taking the largest step – into the 8-man state semifinals – were the Southwest Livingston Wildcats. In a surprisingly-low-scoring 8-man District 2 title contest, the host Wildcats put up the last 26 points of the first half and the first eight after intermission before fending off any North Shelby comeback hopes rather handily in a 34-22 SLHS triumph.

After the visiting Raiders scored a touchdown on a shovel pass covering about 25 yards on their opening possession, the SLHS defense shut them out until the final minute of the third quarter.

By then, the Wildcats' attack had posted five unanswered touchdowns – alternating three scoring runs by senior quarterback Wes Hughes with a pair of his scoring strikes to senior Parker Keeney of about 10 and 20 yards, respectively – as the hosts built a 34-6 lead.

North Shelby, with only one senior on its player roster to face the senior-laden Wildcats, scored a third time with about 3:20 remaining to cut its deficit to 12 points, but it was too little, too late.

Southwest Livingston High School football Wildcats senior quarterback Wesley Hughes directs traffic downfield as he rolls out to his right on a second-quarter play against visiting North Shelby in the teams' Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, 8-man DIstrict 2 championship game at Ludlow. The quarterback ended up keeping the ball and gaining some yardage as part of the WIldcats' run of 34 unanswered points from the first through third periods of the game they won 34-22.

The Wildcats (10-1) – using players from Southwest Livingston, Hale, and Tina-Avalon schools – will host District 1 champion Drexel/Amoret: Miami in the state semifinals next Friday night at 7 o'clock at Ludlow.

Drexel/Miami fended off visiting Archie 49-40 Friday to assure Southwest of never leaving Livingston County this postseason. The state championship game will be played in Chillicothe, a mere 12 miles from SLHS’ Ludlow base, in two weeks.

Hamilton: Penney High School football Hornets and sophomore linebacker Jared Potts (1) and senior defensive back Losson Park (14) tackle Princeton Tigers senior running back Eli Henke during Friday's (Nov. 13, 2020) Missouri Class 1 District 7 championship game at Princeton. Hamilton's defense shut out the host Tigers over the final 45 minutes of the game and limited them to 152 yards of total offense as the Hornets advanced to the state quarterfinals with a 10-6 victory.

On the 11-man scene, all of the scoring in Hamilton’s 10-6 victory at Princeton occurred in the first half of the Class 1 District 7 contest.

Princeton drew first blood inside the game’s first two minutes on Eli Henke’s 37-yards scoring run, but never scored again on the cold night with temperatures around the freezing mark across north Missouri.

Hamilton: Penney 2-times All-State running back Sawyer Morrow capped a Hornets drive with a 3-yards scoring run with 5:47 to play in the opening period and provided what turned out to be the winning point with his foot, booting the extra-point for a 7-6 Hamilton lead.

It stayed 7-6 until the last play of the opening half when Morrow sent a 34-yards field goal attempt between the uprights for a 10-6 lead that stood up the rest of the way.

Both teams’ defenses made yardage hard to come by.

Morrow did gain 129 rushing yards, but needed 32 tries to do so with none of them gaining more than 14 yards, according to Hamilton’s statisticians. By each side’s respective tracking of themselves, as posted online, the Hornets won with only 216 yards of total offense and Princeton managed only 152.

Each team turned the ball over three times on the cold night. Hamilton lost two fumbles and threw one interception, but Nate Wyckhoff picked off a pair of Tigers throws and Morrow recovered a fumble.

Since it has hosted only one postseason game to date, Hamilton: Penney (9-3) will stay home for its Class 1 state quarterfinal next weekend – likely Saturday – with undefeated District 8 champ Mid-Buchanan coming to call. Mid-Buchanan clobbered PHS’ Hornets 63-6 in their regular-season, KCI Conference meeting.

2020 Marceline High School Tigers junior quarterback/wide receiver Sam Gillman heads toward a gap he sees in the right side of the Harrisburg Bulldogs defense late in the first quarter of Friday's (Nov. 13) Missouri 11-man football Class 1 District 6 championship game at Marceline. Serving as quarterback on this play, Gillman scored on a 9-yards run to increase the favored Tigers' lead to 12-0 with 2:01 left in the opening period. The versatile junior also caught a 20-yards TD throw from Jacob Stallo in the fourth quarter and kicked four extra points as, challenged through the middle of the third stanza, Marceline roared away down the stretch to a 50-14 victory.

Rounding out the area triumvirate of district-finals winners was Marceline, which scored the game’s last 29 points in turning back determined Harrisburg, 50-14. The game was closer than the final spread suggests.

Harrisburg trailed only 14-6 at halftime and that was after it could not get the ball into the end zone from the MHS 2 on the last snap of the half, thanks to a sack by Tiger Wyatt Molloy.

Marceline scored on the first series of the third quarter, but a long kickoff return by HHS set up a quick countering score by the Bulldogs that – with a successful 2-points conversion – left the score at 21-14 with a tick under seven minutes to go in the third.

The host Tigers (10-1) then took full control on both sides of the ball.

Following a touchdown that restored a 2-scores spread with a couple of minutes left in the third stanza, a MHS punt was downed by the Harrisburg 1-yard line on the first play of the fourth. An off-tackle run attempt by the Bulldogs on first down was stuffed by MHS’ “Black Rage” defense for a safety, making it 30-14.

Following Molloy’s strong return of Harrisburg free kick, Hunter Nelson’s 3-yards power run off the right side completed a 2-plays, 31-yards TD that effectively punched MHS’ quarterfinal ticket.

Because Marceline and its next foe – District 5 top seed and champion Adrian – have both been at home throughout the district playoffs, the Tigers – as the even-numbered district’s representative in an even-numbered year – get to host their clash next weekend.