High school football fans all over the state are super-excited about the start of the district playoffs, which begin in Missouri this weekend, with a slew of important games on both Friday night and Saturday afternoon.
As it happens, some of the best matchups in the entire state will feature several Creve Coeur-area teams, including 6-1 , which was ranked No. 5 in Class 6 in this week’s statewide poll, taking on 5-2 powerhouse Lindbergh on Friday night, and Class 5 No. 6 heading down the road to grapple with archrival , in the Vikings’ Homecoming game.
3-3 will also face a stiff test this weekend, with unbeaten Webster Groves coming for a visit Friday night, while 2-5 will continue its season-long road trip with a game at Francis Howell North on Friday.
Other Saturday action will include a huge home game for 4-3, which is coming off its biggest win of the season last week, and is considered one of the favorites to win its district this year.
Friday, October 14 De Smet (6-1) at Lindbergh (5-2) 7 p.m.
Quite possibly the marquee football matchup in St. Louis this weekend, fifth-ranked De Smet will take its high-flying road show to South County to take on Suburban West Conference power Lindbergh.
The Spartans have been on quite a roll the last few weeks, winning each of its last four games, and averaging 40.7 points a game while doing so.
Quarterback Conner Harrison has been key to De Smet’s run. This season, he ranks third in the Metro Catholic Conference in passing with 1,240 yards and 15 touchdowns, while throwing just five interceptions.
Senior wideouts Durron Neal and KeVonn Mabon continue to be one of the best pass-receiving tandems in the area, with a combined 38 catches for 845 yards and 17 total touchdowns.
Lindbergh is led by senior quarterback Peter Simpson, the Suburban West Conference’s leading passer with 1,304 yards, 16 touchdowns, and only four interceptions.
Friday, October 14 Webster Groves (6-0) at Chaminade (3-3) 7 p.m.
Every year it seems Class 5 District 2 is one of the toughest districts in the entire state.
The four teams involved Chaminade, Webster, Parkway North, and Parkway Central have a combined 19-7 record, and make up the only district in the state without a single team with a losing record.
The underdog team in this district, through no fault of its own, is without question Chaminade.
The Red Devils, despite a current three-game losing streak, have had a fine season and feature one of the area’s most exciting running back combos in thunder-and-lightning duo Dixon Anthon and Brandon Minor.
Anthon, a 5-foot-7, 180-pound senior in his first year starting after taking over for current Iowa State freshman Rob Standard, is the MCC’s leading rusher this year, with 755 yards and 13 touchdowns.
While Minor, a prime college prospect in the 2013 graduating class, has added 203 yards, four touchdowns, and a 6.5 yards/carry average to the Chaminade offense, while also leading the Devil defense in tackles and forced turnovers.
Wideout Matthew Greer is also having a fine season for Chaminade with 24 catches for 419 yards and four touchdowns.
Webster, a team many expect to advance to the Class 5 state title game this year, is one of the area’s high-scoring teams, with a 45.0 points/game average, led by quarterback Rayshawn Simmons’ 1,377 passing yards and 19 touchdowns.
Saturday, October 15 Parkway Central (6-1) at Parkway North (4-3) 1 p.m.
Homecoming festivities will rule the day for Parkway North and its fans on Saturday – up until kickoff that is, as big, bad archrival Parkway Central treks over the Fee Fee Road for the big game of the day on Saturday.
The Colts, another high-powered offensive team from the Suburban South Conference that averages 37.4 points/game, are led by explosive senior wide receiver/kick returner/defensive back Brandon Sheperd and elusive junior running back Alan Gasanli.
Sheperd, one of Missouri’s most-highly recruited players, has scored touchdowns five different ways this season, and leads the entire Suburban South with 16 scores this year.
Gasanli, an unknown commodity at the start of the season, has proved himself a nearly invaluable performer for Central this year, with 686 rushing yards, a 6.9 yards/carry average, and nine touchdowns as the anchor of the Colts powerful run game.
Linebacker Logan Boyher, who doubles as Gasanli’s primary lead blocker, leads the Central defense with 63 tackles, including a league-best 41 solo stops.
North got a huge boost with the return of stud running back/linebacker Donavin Newsom last week.
Already the Vikings’ top defensive player, it was expected heading into the season that he would also be North’s No. 1 ballcarrier this year.
But after Newsom went down with a knee injury in Week 2, coaches feared he might be out for the rest of the season.
The University of Missouri recruit wouldn’t hear any of it though, and rehabbed himself back in time for the Vikes’ hopeful run to a playoff spot.
In his absence, junior Jovonte Suber has been huge for the North offense, leading the Suburban South in rushing with 790 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Next week, the four Class 5 District 2 teams will switch opponents, with Chaminade taking on Parkway North and Parkway Central hosting Webster Groves.
Friday, October 14 Pattonville (2-5) at Francis Howell North (1-6) 7 p.m.
The forgotten Friday night matchup pits a suddenly emboldened Pattonville squad heading to St. Peters to take on Francis Howell North.
Both squads have struggled through rebuilding seasons with many seniors graduating from last year’s clubs.
But the Pirates seemed to find something last week in a 19-7 win over Hazelwood West.
Pattonville had been struggling to find consistency in its offense all year, but last week junior quarterback Darren Davidson and junior running back Myron Buchanan both went for over 100 yards and scored a touchdown apiece in the Pirates’ most satisfying victory of the year.
Defensively, the Pirates were also quite stout, holding the host Wildcats to a mere 143 total yards, while sacking the West quarterback twice, and forcing two turnovers.
Howell North’s top player is senior running back Terron Givans, a 5-foot-11, 175-pounder who leads the GAC South in rushing this year with 819 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Saturday, October 15 Imagine Prep (1-5) at Priory (4-3) 1 p.m.
Another intriguing Saturday matchup is this opposites-attract type matchup between public school Imagine Prep of St. Louis and private school St. Louis Priory High.
The Rebels are led by dual-threat quarterback David Nogalski, a potent passer and runner, who has thrown for 861 yards and six touchdowns this year, while also scoring 10 rushing touchdowns as well.
Priory does like to spread the ball around a bit, with junior Thomas Raybuck leading the team with 683 rushing yards and senior Seve Esparrago leading in receiving with 280 yards and five touchdowns.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Esparrago also stars on defense for the Rebels, where he leads the team with 64 tackles and three interceptions.
Junior speedster Martavian Payne is the leader for Imagine.
A talented running back by trade, Payne moved to quarterback this season for the Bears, and has totaled nearly 700 yards and accounted for six touchdowns this year.
Ladue at MICDS, 1 p.m. Saturday
has run off five consecutive wins after tripping at Parkway Central and St. Louis U. High. The Rams have won all seven challenges dating back to the opening game of the season. MICDS knocked Burroughs from the undefeated ranks with a 45-20 whipping.
MICDS’ coach Josh Smith says this indeed an exciting way to start district play.
“Ladue presents a challenge for us defensively because of their team speed and stars at the skill positions including quarterback."
Deavin Edwards is the single biggest threat to MICDS. “We re spending this whole week emphasizing team defense,” said Smith. “Ladue has been very strong on defensive and have done a nice job of forcing other teams into mistakes,” said Smith.
Mistakes are few and far between for the MICDS Rams. Thomas Militello has been on target all year long, connecting on 94 of 136 for 69 percent for 1,428 yards and 18 TDs. He loves to throw to Jackson Howell (533 yards, 11 TDs) and Foster Bundy (419 yards and 4 TDs).
Ladue’s senior quarterback Brandon Carr has shown steady improvement since game No. 1. Carr is a 50 percent passer (89 for 177) for 1,169 yards and 11 TDs. He loves to throw to Jehu Chesson 1,402 yards but just 2 TDs. That number has perplexed many observers.
Edwards is one of the top running-backs anywhere. He’s rambled for 1,152 yards and 16 TDs on the ground and three more from returns and catches.
"This isn't a game you have to do anything special to get the kids up for," said Ladue's coach Mike Tarpey. "The kids know each other. It's like our game with Clayton."
Tarpey expects MICDS to be an incredible opponent. "They are 7-0 for a reason. They are a talented group."
Tarpey knows plenty about No. 38 for MICDS. "Michael Scherer is a downhill runner. They (MICDS) have great confidence in what they do."
"I like the way we are playing. We've cleaned up a lot of things. We played a very solid game against Duchesne," said Tarpey.
Michael Scherer, two-way star at MICDS could be the difference maker. He leads the rush attack with 574 yards and 11 TDs on the ground. Scat-back A.J. Washington has rushed for 479 yards and 6 TDs.
Scherer leads the defensive side of the attack with 37 tackles, 15 assists for 52 total points.
The difference on the game might well come on defense. MICDS has steady linebackers in Joe Goley and Cole Sigmund while Ladue has hard-hitting linebackers Michael Horton-Loftn and Habtamu Workineh.
Ladue-Frontenac Patch Local Editor James Baer contributed to this report