A great week of district semifinal action set up what should be an even better week of district championship action.
We had reporters at three different games across southwest Missouri on Friday evening.
We couldn’t be everywhere, but there were a few games across the region that stood out when we checked our phones after covering our games.
Here are a few takeaways from what went down across the area as we look ahead to next week:
2020 DISTRICT SEMIFINALS COVERAGE
Is Mount Vernon back?
The downfall of the Mount Vernon football program has proven to be greatly exaggerated.
Tom Cox had the Mountaineers (5-5) ready to go after a week off and led his team to a 42-0 win over Seneca (3-7) — a team that surprised last week with an upset win over Aurora (6-4).
Mount Vernon’s win ended what was a five-game losing streak to end the regular season. Star wide receiver Rafe Darter tore his ACL right before Logan-Rogersville (7-3) came back to hand the Mountaineers their first loss of the five-game streak.
The Mountaineers punched in a touchdown midway through the first quarter before adding a pair of scores in the second. The dominance continued into the second half.
Mount Vernon’s biggest test, maybe of the season, will come in the Class 3, District 6 semifinals when it travels to Cassville (8-2) for a rematch of a thrilling Week 1 game that saw Darter bring in a game-winning jump ball in the final seconds to give the Mountaineers the win.
Carthage vs. Webb City is happening
The most highly-anticipated game of the 2020 high school football season — maybe in all of Missouri — will happen next week in the district finals. Knock on wood, of course.
Carthage (9-0) will host Webb City (9-1) in a game that COVID-19 took away from us earlier in the season. This game could ultimately decide who will win the Class 5 state championship down the road.
Carthage took care of business with a 55-35 win over Branson (4-7) while Webb City eliminated Ozark (6-5) with a 49-28 win.
Both programs are legitimate state-title contenders. Carthage is coming off winning the Class 5 title while bringing back the bulk of its roster and maybe the best offensive line in the area. Webb City is coming off winning the Class 4 title and is the last team to beat Carthage — in a 32-7 game on Sept. 27, 2019.
If you were to go to one game all season, this should be the one.
A few notes on next week’s games
Marionville (11-0) vs. Lockwood (9-1)
Some of the best small-school talent in all of southwest Missouri will be on display next week in Marionville.
The Comets are coming off a 34-0 thrashing of Pierce City (8-3) while Lockwood advanced with a 35-28 win over a good Cabool (6-5) team.
Wil Carlton and Dakota Wilson have been great for the Comets this season while Lockwood has a star of its own in quarterback Max Schnelle.
Marionville came away with a 35-20 win when the two teams played on Sept. 11.
Fair Grove (8-3) vs. Mountain View-Liberty (9-2)
Both teams came away with what were perceived to be upsets, as far as seedings go, but they weren’t too big of surprises.
Both Eagles squads have been playing as well as anyone entering what should be an interesting matchup. Fair Grove has scored 41 or more points in each of its last three games while Liberty has won eight-straight.
When these two teams played during the second week of the season, Fair Grove came away with a 58-38 win.
Lebanon (6-3) vs. Glendale (6-4)
After both teams had a week off, Lebanon and Glendale set up an Ozark Conference district semifinal for next week.
Lebanon has now won three-straight games and has scored 47 or more points in each of them. The Yellowjackets won 47-14 against Willard (3-8) on Friday.
Glendale has steadily improved throughout the season. This will be a tough test for it as the Falcons were defeated by the Yellowjackets 57-20 earlier in the season.
Area district semifinal results
Class 1, District 1
- Thayer 57, Caruthersville 18
- Hayti 54, St. Vincent 41
Class 1, District 3
- Skyline 50, Cole Camp 7
- Windsor 62, Tipton 14
Class 1, District 4
- Marionville 34, Pierce City 0
- Lockwood 35, Cabool 28
Class 2, District 3
- Mountain View-Liberty 32, Catholic 22
- Fair Grove 41, Forsyth 20
Class 2, District 4
- Lamar 49, El Dorado Springs 6
- Sarcoxie 36, Stockton 23
Class 3, District 5
- Buffalo 63, Osage 24
- Mountain Grove 28, Ava 14
Class 3, District 6
- Cassville – BYE
- Mount Vernon 42, Seneca 0
Class 4, District 5
- West Plains 35, McDonald County 2
- Carl Junction 43, Hillcrest 6
Class 4, District 6
- Helias Catholic 54, Nevada 22
- Warrensburg 27, Bolivar 23
Class 5, District 5
- Lebanon 47, Willard 14
- Glendale 58, Waynesville 39
Class 5, District 6
- Carthage 55, Branson 35
- Webb City 49, Ozark 28
Class 6, District 3
- Raymore-Peculiar 28, Joplin 7
- Lee’s Summit West @ Nixa — Saturday, 1 p.m.
Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist with the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact him at 417-371-6987, by email at email@example.com or Twitter at @WyattWheeler_NL. You can subscribe to his free “Bears Beat” newsletter on News-Leader.com. He’s also the co-host of Sports Talk on Jock Radio weekdays from 4-6 p.m.