High-SchoolMissouri: Nick Ramirez

Five Days of List-Mas: MO's underclass football stars

December, 13, 2011
12/13/11
12:54
PM ET
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Whether you’re putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you’re making that special list for Santa, there’s nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we’re bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!

Today: The top underclassmen in high school football.

The state championships are over and the Class of 2012 had their run, but it’s never too early to start looking at the impressive players in the Class of 2013 and beyond. Who’s going to rule the gridiron in Missouri next season? We give you the early rundown of who to watch for.

5. Aarion Penton (JR), CBC, DB/RB
Credentials: Anchored defense that allowed 15.6 points per game, led Cadets to Class 6 title game

4. Ramon Alton (JR), Kirkwood, RB
Credentials: 1,177 rushing yards, 20 touchdowns, led Pioneers to Class 5 title game

3. Phoenix Johnson (JR), Webb City, RB
Credentials: 1,920 rushing yards, 33 touchdowns, led Cardinals to second straight Class 4 crown

2. Nick Ramirez (JR), Lee's Summit West, LB
Credentials: Offers from Missouri and Nebraska, state's top-ranked linebacker in his class, led Titans to Class 5 semifinals

1. Trent Hosick (JR), Staley, QB
Credentials: 2,403 rushing yards, 31 touchdowns, 1,422 passing yards, 10 passing touchdowns, led team to Class 5 crown

Click here to check out some of the other states in our Five Days of List-Mas

Tomorrow: POWERADE state hoops rankings

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