James Damon Blog – MSHSAA FB Championships

James DamonPrintNew Year Provides More Usual Suspects for Football Titles  …

Of the 14 participants for the title match-ups in all seven classes (8-man through class 6), the real storyline, perhaps in addition to on-going dominance by western schools, was that the usual suspects continue to dominate across all classes.
Be they old powers (Valle Catholic and Webb City) or newer kids on the block (Lamar and Lee’s Summit West), it would appear the toughest part of the title hunt for Missouri high schools is not winning multiple championships, but rather kicking the door in for the first title.  An amazing study of Super Bowl champions proves something similar as it is far more common to expect the classic champs to win again and again (Dallas, Pittsburgh, Green Bay) rather than a potentially unexpected team to jump up and grab a title (New Orleans, Tampa Bay).  Whatever that bodes for a team like Seattle this year is curious at that level, but if it means anything long term for most other Missouri high schools is a question worth considering.
Here are the title winners this year with their number of total titles following in parentheses: North Andrew (4), Valle Catholic (12), Lamar (3), Maryville (4), Webb City (12), Lee’s Summit West (3), and Blue Springs (5).  The only participant without a state title was class 5 Parkway Central, and while some might suggest this is an aberration, last year’s storyline was similar as only 8-man Stanberry and class 5 Kirkwood took their first state titles, leaving the other five as the usual suspects: Penney (3), Lamar (2), Maryville (3), Webb City (11), and Blue Springs (4).
Perhaps this means little, but considering the landscape year after year seems to indicate strongly that the power programs in each class consistently remain the go-to horses in contention each year.  Nice stories develop along the way, i.e. Scott Bailey taking over a poor Lamar program, going over a complete rebuild, and now they possess the class of class 2, winners of back-to-back titles; or Matt Webb’s fine coaching to a 30-0 record and two state titles his first two years in returning to his alma mater, Maryville; and a multitude of others.  But again, the real storyline is almost always the consistency and staying power of the banner programs in most classifications.
While any run for the 2014 titles lay far ahead after long winters in the weight room and springs and summers conditioning and studying playbooks, any poll of savvy media, coaches, and the like would produce the same favorites in most classifications.  Valle loses a slew of seniors, as does Lamar, but who would put above them as favorites in class 1 or 2?  Others may be in the conversation, but until they hoist the trophy, little else can be said.  Class 3 seems to again be Maryville’s for consideration as they lost a ton of seniors after the 2012 title yet still rolled on this year.  From class 4, Webb City looks to remain tied for Valle atop the most total titles list (chasing 13 in 2014) and with another win next year would tie the Warriors for most consecutive titles at five.  Class 4 is theirs until somebody else takes it away.  Lee’s Summit West has vaulted itself into perennial contention in class 5, and the only potential dis-qualifier there might be the Titans discussed jump to class 6.  While that class provides teams each year that make deep runs, it now appears to be the Wildcats domain (now possessing the second longest winning streak in the state, behind only Maryville), and Kelly Donohoe’s team is still littered with big-time talent starting up front with the monster Davis brothers.
Who knows what can happen any given game or any given year?  Injuries accrue for schools, bad weather or crazy football bounces take their toll through a full season, so much can happen that cannot be accounted for….but at the end of the day, I’ll put my cards with the usual suspects in each class, at least until another suspect lines up and proves otherwise.

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