High-SchoolMissouri: Parkway Central

Rockhurst, DeSmet tumble in Class 6 football playoffs

November, 14, 2011
There will be a new champion in Class 6 football, as three favorites, including defending champ Rockhurst, fell in the quarterfinals over the weekend.

*For the first time in five tries, Blue Springs South finally got the upper hand on Rockhurst — and in a big way. The Jaguars scored the first four touchdowns in a 28-7 win while holding the Hawklets to under 100 yards rushing.

*Next the Jaguars will face Francis Howell, which downed another powerhouse in Fort Zumwalt West. Howell beat FZ West at its own game, striking early and often in a 49-28 victory. The Vikings' defense came up big, recording eight sacks to get FZ West QB Drew Hare under wraps, and allowing Howell to score 21 straight points in the second and third quarters.

*While Howell earned vengeance for an early-season loss, DeSmet couldn't do the same in its matchup with SLUH. Despite another big performance from Durron Neal (244 rushing yards, five total touchdowns), it wasn't enough to overcome the Junior Billikens, who blew an 18-point deficit but held on for the 47-46 win. Quarterback Trevor McDonagh had another big day for SLUH (368 yards and five scores), but it was his favorite target who was the talk of the game. Stefan Sansone set a school record with 13 catches for 276 yards and four scores. What's more, he intercepted a pass with less than a minute left to eliminate DeSmet's hopes of a comeback.

*Amid all the upsets, one thing held true in Class 6: top-ranked CBC won. The Cadets took care of McCluer North, 31-10, to set up a semifinal contest against SLUH and move to No. 38 in the latest POWERADE FAB 50.

*In Class 5 action, a team from Hazelwood will once again be in the semifinals -- it's just not the one you think. A down year for Class 6's Hazelwood Central and a huge weekend upset of Parkway Central pushed Hazelwood East into a semifinal matchup with Kirkwood. Mind you, the Spartans pulled out a 42-15 win after watching the Colts score on their first play from scrimmage. But behind Jimmy Jones' 120 rushing yards and three scores, the Spartans scored 42 of the next 49 points.

*As expected, Staley will battle defending champ Lee's Summit West in the other semifinal. Staley barely squeaked by Fort Osage for a 7-6 win in the quarterfinals while the Titans easily downed Nixa, 42-3. Does Lee's Summit West have enough momentum to pull off the win or will Staley continue its victorious ways behind Trent Hosick and Morgan Steward? Stay tuned.

*Finally, Dorial Green-Beckham's prep career came to an end with a 49-0 loss to defending Class 4 champ Webb City. The star Hillcrest receiver had seven catches for 58 yards, pushing his career receiving yards record to a grand total of 6,356.

Brandon Parker covers Missouri for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.
Dorial Green-Beckham has already cemented his place in the record books as the all-time career receiving yards later. Now it's his team that's making history.

For the first time in school history, Hillcrest advanced past the second round of the playoffs with a 28-21 win against previously undefeated Union on Monday. Two third-quarter touchdowns allowed the Hornets to break a tie at 14 and gain enough cushion for the road win. Green-Beckham finished with six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown, pushing his career receiving yards mark to 6,287 yards and counting.

The Hornets will meet the state's No. 7 team and defending Class 4 champs Webb City in a Saturday quarterfinal.

*Parkway Central pulled off a tough task, beating Webster Groves for the second time in three weeks. Behind Alan Gasnali's 183 rushing yards and three scores, the Colts overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to pull out a 42-26 win in Class 5 sectional playoff action. They will host Hazelwood East in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

*In Class 6 action over the weekend, CBC finally overcame the obstacle that is Hazelwood Central by beating the Hawks, 35-0. The Cadets had fallen to the Hawks in the first round in each of the last two seasons. CBC's victory pushed the team up to No. 40 in the POWERADE FAB 50. They now advance to face McCluer North on Friday in the quarterfinals.

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

First round of Missouri football playoffs underway

November, 3, 2011
Classes 4 and 5 already got the first round of the postseason off to a dramatic start. Here are a few highlights:

-In a powerhouse first-round matchup, Webb City began its Class 4 title defense by bouncing Bolivar from the playoffs with a 35-21. Cardinals will host Helias next week.

-St. Clair resorted to double-teaming Dorial Green-Beckham the entire night in their contest at Hillcrest, so tailback Stuart Andress picked up the slack, running for 132 yards and two scores in a 41-14 win. DGB had two scores but only added 62 yards to his career record total, which now sits at 6,171. Hornets will travel to rival Union next week.

-In Class 5, Webster Groves nearly got knocked off for the second time in three weeks. In a furious fourth quarter, Summit cut a 24-point lead to two with 30 seconds to play. On the two-point conversion try, Webster Groves LB E.J. Clayborn stuffed Ian McIntosh at the goal line to give the Statesmen the dramatic win. Next up: a rematch with Parkway Central, which defeated Webster Groves just three weeks ago.

Class 6 action starts Friday. Of the seven games, here are two to watch out for:

Hazelwood Central at No. 1 CBC
Perennial power Hazelwood Central backed into the playoffs this year and as a result, gets to face the state's top-ranked team. On the Hawks' side is the fact that they've eliminated CBC in the first round for the last two seasons. It's safe to say, though, that the tables have turned, and with Cadets QB Dalton Demos playing at a high level, CBC should overcome this hurdle on Friday.
My pick: CBC 35, Hazelwood Central 21

DeSmet at Eureka
Durron Neal returned from injury last week to score three times and help the Spartans blow past Mehlville to gain momentum for the playoffs. Thing is, with Neal susceptible to injury and the Spartans sometimes struggling in big games this year — along with the fact it's the playoffs — the door is open for a Eureka upset. The Wildcats won their last three to finish 8-2 and are led by the QB-WR duo of Seth Pratt and Jaron Henderson.
My pick: DeSmet 31, Eureka 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.

Slew of upsets shake up Week 9 Missouri football rankings

October, 24, 2011
Results as of Sunday, Oct. 23

When your team converts a 3rd-and-44 with a 50-yard completion, it's safe to say things are going your way.

And it was that type of night for Fort Zumwalt West during its big matchup against previous No. 2 Jefferson City this past Friday. Led by Drew Hare's 269 passing yards and two scores, the Jaguars mostly had their way against a typically stout Jays defense during a 49-21 win. Jefferson City tailback Devon Moore had 111 yards rushing but the Jays didn't get much else, as the Jaguars outgained the Jays, 427-226.

Webster Groves and DeSmet also took a tumble. In a 34-13 loss, Webster Groves couldn't find an answer for Parkway Central WR Brandon Shepherd (two touchdowns, one interception) or RB Alan Gasnali (152 yards, three scores). Meanwhile, DeSmet blew a 14-point third-quarter lead and fell to SLUH, 37-31 in double overtime. It didn't help that star athlete Durron Neal missed parts of the fourth quarter with a tweaked knee, but the Spartans' second loss of the season was enough to plummet them out of the top 10.

Here's how this week's rankings shake out (last week's ranking in parentheses):

1. CBC (St. Louis) 9-0 (1)
Cadets survived an upset bid and held off Lafayette (Wildwood), 16-7. Next up: Parkway South.

2. Staley (North Kansas City) 9-0 (3)
The Falcons keep rolling, beating St. Joseph Central by a score of 28-14. Next up: Oak Park.

3. Rockhurst (Kansas City) 8-1 (4)
The Hawklets put up a season high in points during a 71-10 win against Lee's Summit North. Next up: Joplin.

Click here for full POWERADE weekly Missouri football rankings

Jefferson City, Fort Zumwalt West battle in Week 8 Missouri football

October, 21, 2011
Just two weeks after pulling of the biggest upset of the season thus far by beating previous No. 1 Rockhurst, Jefferson City (8-0) will look to avoid an upset of its own against a surging Fort Zumwalt West team.

Senior RB Devon Moore leads the No. 2 Jays who are averaging 41 points per game this season. Often overlooked within this sea of points is the Jefferson City defense, which is giving up 10.1 points per contest -- and 30 of those total points came in the win against Rockhurst.

It's safe to say the Jays will need plenty of offense to overcome Fort Zumwalt West, which has plenty of weapons on offense. Some panicked when the Jaguars lost two of their first three games, but considering these defeats came at the hands of current No. 1 CBC and Bentonville, arguably the state's top team in Arkansas, there's no counting out the Jags.

Led by quarterback Drew Hare, the Jags have outscored their last four opponents, 178-36. In other words, this could be a shootout, with the onus on the Jaguar defense to slow Moore and the rest of the Jays' playmakers.
UPSET ALERT: Fort Zumwalt West 38, Jefferson City 35

No. 5 Webster Groves (7-0) at Parkway Central (7-1)
Ever since falling in last year's Class 5 championship game, Webster Groves has been on a tear, outscoring opponents by an average of nearly 32 points this season. But the Statesmen will be tested this weekend when they travel to face Parkway Central.

Star wideout Brandon Sheperd can make big plays for the Colts, whose only loss came against No. 8 Kirkwood. The senior has 1,028 all-purpose yards and 16 touchdowns, and with a potential home playoff game on the line, expect Shepard to step up to the challenge.

Webster Groves has a playmaker of his own in Rayshawn Simmons, who's totaled 23 scores and 1,801 passing yards this season. Based on experience and their shutdown defense, I give the Statesmen the advantage in this one, but not by much.
My pick: Webster Groves 42, Parkway Central 31

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
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
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.

Stock is rising for Knott, Sheperd

September, 14, 2011
In this week's edition of the Missouri All-State Football Stock Watch, offense reigns supreme as we highlight the quarterback of the state's second-ranked team and a talented wide receiver with a tough college decision on his hands.

UP — Luke Knott, Lee's Summit West QB
The defending Class 5 champs have rolled to a 3-0 start and Knott has been a big reason why. The senior quarterback threw two touchdown strikes in last week's 42-7 win against North Kansas City. Knott now has eight total scores on the season for the No. 2 Titans, who are averaging more than 45 points per contest.

DOWN — KeVonn Mabon, DeSmet LB
It's been a rough last couple of weeks for Mabon. The senior defender missed most of the second half with cramps during the Spartans' 14-12 victory against Hazelwood East. Then in last Friday's 52-22 loss to No. 3 CBC, the Spartans D was picked apart by Cadets quarterback Dalton Demos, who led his team to six straight scores during its second-half comeback. Of course, in Mabon's defense, the Missouri heat has been scorching of late and Demos has put up similar numbers against just about every defense he's faced this year, including Fort Zumwalt West.

UP— Brandon Sheperd, Parkway Central WR
Sheperd has been a beast so far this season, which is no surprise to most. The senior wideout has not only caught 17 passes for 265 yards and five touchdowns but he's also scored five other times on running plays. The better that Sheperd plays, the more difficult his college decision could become, as Big 12 programs Missouri and Oklahoma State are vying hard for his services.

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