High-SchoolMissouri: Mike McHugh

Football state championships to be decided

November, 23, 2011
11/23/11
3:30
PM ET
The day before Thanksgiving. It's like Christmas eve for your stomach, with dreams of turkey, stuffing, mac and cheese and sweet potato pie dancing in your head right up until the moment you sit down at the table.

But for you, Missouri football fans, it's also time for us to take a glimpse at the intriguing slate of championship football games set to take place this weekend. All the hard work, hitting and offensive firepower has built up to this, 12 teams vying for state supremacy at Edward Jones Stadium.

Class 6: CBC vs. Blue Springs South (7:30 p.m. Friday)
After meeting at this same high-stakes juncture five years ago, these two get to do it again in 2011. Last time, Blue Springs South took the crown, but this time CBC, ranked No. 31 in the POWERADE FAB 50, enters as the favorite after running the table up until this point. The Cadets have morphed into an incredibly balanced team this season behind QB Dalton Demos (2,434 yards, 31 TDs) and a defense that's given up 10.8 points since surrendering 49 in a season-opening win against Fort Zumwalt West.
The Blue Springs South defense has also been solid and poses the greatest challenge to the Cadets this season. The Jaguars shut down a powerful Rockhurst team in the quarterfinals and have given up a touchdown or less in three of their last four wins. Plus, when the Jaguars D isn't on the field, the rushing attack of RB Steven Sullivan (1,303 yards, 17 scores) and QB Connor Harris (738 yards, nine TDs) eats up the clock. Whichever offense can control the clock and has the least amount of turnovers will win this game.
My pick: CBC 28, Blue Springs South 20

Class 5: Staley vs. Kirkwood (6:30 p.m. Saturday)
Imagine being Staley, fresh off a 76-70, quadruple-overtime win against Lee's Summit West to avenge last year's semifinal loss and produce arguably one of the state's greatest games ever...and that wasn't even the biggest game of your season. But quarterback Trent Hosick says that shouldn't be a problem.
"We're already back down to the earth," says Hosick, who scored seven times last week. "The goal this year wasn't to beat Lee's Summit West, even though we knew they were very good and would probably have to beat them sometime, but that was just another step in achieving the ultimate goal. So it's not hard for us to get ready for this game against a very, very good Kirkwood team."
Offensive weapons will be on high in this one. Staley boasts Hosick along with standout tailback Morgan Steward while Kirkwood possesses one of the state's top wideouts in Mike McHugh (20 TDs) and has scored 40-plus points in 11 of its 12 games. Staley will look to eat up clock behind its talented rushers, especially considering the Pioneers' solid secondary. One team will emerge with its first loss of the year while another hoist its first-ever title.
My pick: Staley 35, Kirkwood 31

Class 4: Webb City vs. MICDS (4:15 p.m. Friday)
Scoring has never been a problem this season for MICDS. The Rams are averaging nearly 42 points per game behind gritty running back Michael Scherer, who has racked up 1,542 yards and 27 scores this year.
Winning has rarely been a problem for Webb City this season...and long before now. The defending champ Cardinals have won three state titles since 2006 and triumphed in their last 81 regular season games. Defense has been the Cardinals staple this year, as the unit has posted four shutouts, including one against Hillcrest and its All-American wideout Dorial Green-Beckham in the quarterfinals.
The Rams will be closely studying film of last week's Webb City, as the Cardinals had to overcome a 21-point deficit to win. It'll be interesting to see which unit bends (or breaks) between the MICDS offense and Webb City defense.
My pick: Webb City 34, MICDS 28

Class 3: Burroughs vs. Logan-Rogersville (3:15 p.m. Saturday)
Burroughs pulled off a major upset last week against Osage behind RB Ezekiel Elliott (40 TDs) but stopping a Logan-Rogersville offense that had 400 yards against defending champ Richmond last week will be no easy task.
My pick: Logan-Rogersville 28, Burroughs 17

Class 2: Lamar vs. Lafayette County (1 p.m. Friday)
Lafayette County has the moment after winning its last 13 games and knocking off two-time defending champ Penney in the quarterfinals but Lamar has had its way for most of the postseason.
My pick: Lafayette County 24, Lamar 18

Class 1: Valle Catholic vs. South Shelby (Saturday at noon)
A week before districts, South Shelby was 3-4. But after seven straight wins, the Cardinals find themselves in the state championship as perhaps the biggest underdog. Valle Catholic has won 10 titles and outscored its last eight opponents 334-54.
My pick: Valle Catholic 31, South Shelby 21

Brandon Parker covers Missouri for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

ESPNHS Missouri midseason football awards

October, 5, 2011
10/05/11
4:00
PM ET
Believe it or not, we're midway through the Missouri high school football season. Six weeks ago, everybody was dishing out predictions and opinions on which teams and players would shine this year. Now, it's time to see who's lived up to the hype with the ESPNHS Missouri midseason football awards.

Player of the Year: Dorial Green-Beckham, Hillcrest WR
Talk about a no-brainer. In the season opener on ESPNU, the nation's No. 3 recruit showed the country how insane his skills are by catching 18 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns. Call his competition inferior? I call you crazy. Despite seeing double and sometimes triple coverage, Green-Beckham has piled up 60 catches for 1,023 yards and 10 touchdowns. What's more, the Hornets are winning, sitting at 5-1 after going 7-5 in each of the last two seasons.

Offensive MVP: Mike McHugh, Kirkwood WR
There's was little doubt that McHugh was talented — he had 11 touchdowns last year and is committed to Northwestern. But the senior wideout has put up some serious numbers so far this season. In a win against Hazelwood Central, Kirkwood tallied 214 receiving yards, three scores and a pick-6; then a week later against Parkway North, he caught five passes for 209 yards. During the Pioneers' 5-0 start, he's racked up 523 yards and nine touchdowns on just 15 catches for an average of 34.9 yards per catch.

Defensive MVP: Michael Rose, Rockhurst LB
Rose is the anchor of a defense that returned eight starters from last year's Class 6 champions. And though the Hawklets' D started out a bit slow (relatively), Rose has helped them find their groove of late. In a 16-3 win against Blue Springs South, Rose had eight tackles (two for loss) and two pass break-ups. Since then, the top-ranked Hawklets have allowed just 20 total points in three games.

Breakout Player: Dalton Demos, Christian Brothers College QB and Jordan Walker, Rockhurst RB (tie)
It was impossible to choose between these two, so I went with both. Walker got things started by running for a school-record 400 yards in the season opener. Through three games, the Hawklets senior had 817 yards and eight touchdowns, but a leg injury has kept him out of the last two games. That's where Demos comes in. The CBC senior has thrown for 1,474 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions for an offense that is putting up nearly 50 points per game. Most importantly, both players have led their teams to 6-0 records and the top two rankings in the state.

Breakout Team: Jefferson City
It figured to be an average year for Jefferson City, what with Kody Walker, the school's all-time leading rusher, gone off to college. But behind the power running of Devon Moore (771 yards and 12 touchdowns), the Jays are off to their best start in eight years. Against a solid slate of opponents, the Jays have outscored the competition, 257-50. Just how legit the Jays are will be tested this Friday when they host No. 1 Rockhurst.

Brandon Parker covers Missouri for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Kirkwood makes statement win; Week 6 MO rankings stand pat

October, 3, 2011
10/03/11
12:33
PM ET
After games of Sunday, Oct. 2.

In less than 30 minutes, Kirkwood went from the slight favorite to the undefeated underdog during its matchup against Parkway Central.

Star wideout Mike McHugh went down with a shoulder injury in the first half, leaving the Pioneers to fend off a Parkway Central squad with its own playmaking receiver in Brandon Sheperd. Sheperd got his, racking up seven catches for 145 yards, but it wasn't enough to overcome a total of 271 rushing yards and five touchdowns from the Pioneers in a 40-21 win. No word yet on McHugh's status, but stay tuned for updates.

The rest of the top 10 teams easily downed their opponents, with Rockhurst and Jefferson City looking impressive just a week before they meet up for a highly anticipated battle. We'll touch on that more during Friday's preview.

Speaking of Rockhurst, the Hawklets stood pat at No. 34 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Without further ado, here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings are in parentheses):

1. Rockhurst (Kansas City) 6-0 (1)
The Hawklets' defense continues to impress, allowing just 61 yards in a 21-0 win against Hickman. Next is a highly anticipated matchup against No. 8 Jefferson City.

2. CBC (St. Louis) 6-0 (2)
Cadets quarterback Dalton Demos kept up his solid play, throwing for three scores in a 47-15 win against Vianney. Next up: Chaminade.

3. Staley (North Kansas City) 6-0 (3)
Trent Hosick totaled four touchdowns in a 54-27 win against Grandview, as the Falcons continued to stake their claim as Class 5's top squad. A battle with Park Hill South is up next.

Click here for the full POWERADE Missouri football weekly rankings.

Top wideouts McHugh, Sheperd battle in Week 5 Missouri football

September, 30, 2011
9/30/11
4:27
PM ET
For the past two weeks, Mike McHugh has put the national football scene on notice, exploding for 423 receiving yards and five touchdowns (including one pick-6). But there's another nationally recognized wideout in town and I'm sure Parkway Central senior Brandon Sheperd (526 total yards and 14 TDs) will be looking to shine when the two face off tonight at Parkway Central.

No. 7 Kirkwood (4-0) is playing light outs, outscoring opponents 166-14 through four games. Parkway Central (5-0) has also been impressive, putting up more than 42 points per contest while allowing an average of 8.4. In other words, neither defense will make it easy on McHugh or Shepard. This one could really go either way, but since I "have to" pick one...
My pick: Kirkwood 28, Parkway Central 24

Fort Zumwalt West (3-2) at Francis Howell Central (3-2)
Like me, some are surprised that Fort Zumwalt West enters this game at 3-2, but as the season has worn on, it's clear that the Jaguars didn't lose to pushovers in No. 2 CBC and 4-0 Bentonville (Ark.). How the Jags fare in tonight's midseason matchup could dictate how they finish the year, what with a matchup against No. 8 Jefferson City and the playoffs looming. The Jaguars' loss to CBC was only by 3 while Francis Howell Central fell, 64-0. Still, stakes are high, as both are tied atop the GAC South.
My pick: Fort Zumwalt West 34, Francis Howell Central 17

Brandon Parker covers Missouri for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Kirkwood, Jefferson City continue to impress in Week 5 MO rankings

September, 26, 2011
9/26/11
3:50
PM ET
All of the top 10 teams are who we thought they were last week, easily defeating their opponents. Along the way, Kirkwood and Jefferson City put up major shutouts. Wideout Mike McHugh continued his recent tear for Kirkwood, snagging five passes for 209 yards in a 41-0 win against Parkway North, while Jefferson City RB Devon Moore scored two more touchdowns in the Jays' 42-0 rout of Park Hill.

Oh and I remember when I said don't forget the name "Trent Hosick?" Well, here's why. Hosick has quite an arm, but in Staley coach Fred Bouchard's offense, Hosick's rushing prowess has been on full display. Fast forward to a little past the midway point of this KC Metro Sports video for a dose of Hosick's incredible athletic ability. And stay tuned to this spot for more on the junior quarterback.

Nationally, Rockhurst moved up to No. 34 in the POWERADE FAB 50 after beating Rock Bridge last week.

And without further ado, here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Rockhurst (Kansas City) 5-0 (1)
The Hawklets' defense held Rock Bridge to 169 total yards of offense in a 35-6 win. Next up: Hickman.

2. CBC (St. Louis) 5-0 (2)
The Cadets took advantage of the absence of Howell QB Eric Siebenshuh and rode their own gunslinger to a 47-26 victory. Dalton Demos finished 369 passing yards and four touchdowns, giving the Cadets momentum before they face Vianney.

3. Staley (Kansas City North) 5-0 (3)
The Falcons cemented their claim as the new top team in Class 5, riding Trent Hosick's two touchdowns to a 22-10 win against Kearney. A road game against Grandview is next.

Click here for the full POWERADE Missouri weekly football rankings.

Blue Springs South re-enters MO rankings after upset of Lee’s Summit West

September, 19, 2011
9/19/11
4:19
PM ET
They did it again. For the second straight year, the Blue Springs South Jaguars upset Lee's Summit West, this time by the score of 28-14.

In easily their biggest test of the season thus far, the Titans struck first on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Luke Knott to Shaq Harrison. But the Jaguars reeled off the next 21 points, taking a decisive lead on two touchdown throws by Connor Harris and a Steve Sullivan 22-yard score. Sullivan finished the night with 194 rushing yards and two TDs. With the win, the Jaguars re-enter the rankings at No. 10 and have a good chance of moving up. Their only loss on a brutal schedule is a 16-3 defeat at the hands of No. 1 Rockhurst.

As for the Titans, there is a silver lining. They played without All-State offensive lineman Evan Boehm (concussion), and remember what happened the last time the Titans lost to the Jags: a Class 5 championship. But it's safe to say the Titans, who rolled to easy wins in three contests against teams with one combined win, will take this as a wake-up call.

One team that doesn't need waking up is Kirkwood. Point much of the credit to Mike McHugh, who earned ESPNHS Southwest Region Player of the Week honors with 214 receiving yards and three touchdowns. The senior wideout and Northwestern commit also returned an interception 98 yards for a score in the Pioneers' 47-0 win against Hazelwood Central.

Here's how the state rankings shake out this week:

1. Rockhurst (Kansas City) 4-0 (1)
Hawklets keep on rolling, beating Liberty 34-14. Top OL Christian Eatherly has missed the last couple of weeks and tailback Jordan Walker missed much of last week's win after banging up his leg. But both are expected in uniform when the nation's No. 38 squad takes on Rock Bridge this week.

2. CBC (St. Louis) 4-0 (3)
Cadets put together a complete effort in 34-7 win against SLUH. QB Dalton Demos threw for 224 yards and two scores, Antonio Brown rushed for 105 scores and two more touchdowns and Marcus Wheat racked up 112 receiving yards and a TD. Next up: Howell.

3. Staley (Kansas City North) 4-0 (4)
Falcons rolled past Liberty North, 42-6, behind Morgan Steward's four touchdowns. A battle against Kearney is next on the schedule.

Click here for the full POWERADE Missouri weekly rankings.
Last week, Blue Springs South just faced the state's undisputed top team in Rockhurst, losing 16-3 in the Hawklets' closest battle this year. So what do the Jaguars get as a parting gift?

A date with No. 2 Lee's Summit West.

Quite the gamut for the Jaguars, but they can walk into this contest with confidence. After all, they were the only team to be Lee's Summit West during its run to the Class 5 title last season. And this was no barnburner. The Jaguars won 41-17.

Lee's Summit West has rolled to a 3-0 start against a relatively easy schedule, so the 2-1 Jags will be the Titans' first test of the year. Of course, the defending champs will be prepared. Quarterback Luke Knott's stock is rising, totaling eight scores while helping the Titans average more than 45 points per contest. On defense, linebacker Nick Ramirez will be key in slowing a solid run-by-committee Jaguars attack featuring QB Connor Harris joins Trey Ervin and Stephen Sullivan.

The contest will certainly be closer than last year, and with the Titans a year wiser, I expect the outcome to be different as well.

My pick: Lee's Summit West 35, Blue Springs South 27

Kirkwood (2-0) at Hazelwood Central (1-2)
It's been a tough go to say the least, for Hazelwood Central, last year's Class 6 runner-up. The *8 have dropped two of their first three games and losses aren't exactly acceptable for fans of a team that won the state title as recently as '08 and '09. Thing is, the Hawks' two losses have come against very good DeSmet and Rock Bridge squads. But the road doesn't get any easier with Kirkwood on tap tonight. The Pioneers are paced by wideout Mike McHugh, a Northwestern commit who has helped his squad put up 78 points in two games. The Hawks will put up a fight, but this non-conference opponent won't be any nicer than the others.
My pick: Kirkwood 31, Hazelwood Central 17

Brandon Parker covers Missouri for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

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