Football

GraphMania II: More football, math and science

Week 6 of the high school football season offers up several exciting games and intriguing matchups, and the algebraic formulas back this claim.

A scatter plot compares high school football games according to each team's district standings and state point total.

A scatter plot compares high school football games according to each team’s district standings and state point total.

For the second week in a row, we’re turning to data comparisons to evaluate the week’s slate of high school football games in the Ozarks.

The Missouri State High School Activities Association uses a point system to determine how football teams are seeded for the district playoffs. The formula to assign each team’s score factors in wins and losses, strength of schedule (how many wins and losses each team’s opponents have), and point differential across all games played (capped at +/-13).

Football and algebra have collided like a blitzing linebacker and a fullback at the goal line on fourth-and-1, forming a new and insightful way to examine each game. Using these point totals from MSHSAA, we developed a scatter plot to compare every Friday matchup on one interactive chart:


So how do I read this thing?

Games are plotted by taking the home team’s MSHSAA point total along the horizontal axis and matching it with the visiting team’s point total on the vertical axis. Each dot on the graphic represents a game, and you can find your favorite team by hovering your cursor over the dots or by tapping the screen on your mobile phone or tablet to pull up a mobile-friendly, interactive version of the graph.

First, take a look at the dotted line that runs through the chart. The line is used to illustrate how closely two teams match up in terms of their point total through the first five weeks of the season. The closer a game falls in relation to the line, the closer the two teams’ point totals are for a given game.

Two teams with high point totals and close comparisons will be plotted closer to the upper right corner of the graph.

With the data in mind, here are five games we are keeping an eye on this week:

Mountain Grove (5-0, 49.5
) at Mountain View-Liberty (5-0, 53.79
)

Running back Trystan Short and quarterback Carter Otwell are both rushing for more than 100 yards per game for Mountain Grove, which the Panthers will need against a Liberty defense that allows just 10.6 points per game. The Eagles will answer with an offense led by all-state dual-threat quarterback Josh Pruett, who passed for 2,543 yards, rushed for 1,015 yards and accounted for a total of 50 touchdowns last season.

Cassville (4-1, 41.86) at Monett (4-1, 41.59
)

The “Barry County Brawl” has all the makings of a classic this season. Losses to Big 8 Conference powerhouse Lamar dot both teams’ otherwise perfect records. Burl Fowler Stadium should be jam-packed with people securing their seats early for a clash of two teams with potent ground games and the ability to sustain drives. The running back battle between Michael Branch of Monett and River Phelps of Cassville will be something to track as the game progresses. Both have shown themselves capable of handling heavy workloads.

Webb City (3-2, 40.16
) at Nixa (5-0, 42.4
)

It is, after all, the Springfield News-Leader Game of the Week presented by Murney Associates, Realtors. Nixa puts its undefeated record on the line against the proverbial state championship contenders from Webb City. The Cardinals suffered a pair of regular season Central Ozark Conference defeats for the first time since joining the league in 2008. Nixa has never beaten Webb City in 14 attempts. Eagle Stadium could very well turn into a madhouse should the home team break the streak with a win.

Can Nixa halt their 0-14 drought against Webb City?

Hollister (3-2, 33.75
) at Reeds Spring (4-1, 46.95
)

In a battle of teams that installed AstroTurf for the first time this season, Reeds Spring hosts the Hollister Tigers on the revamped Carl Langley Field at Wolves Stadium. Korey Robinette leads a Wolves rushing attack from the flexbone formation that can give defenses trouble with equal parts power and sleight of hand. Hollister quarterback Jackson Bekemeier passed for 205 yards and two touchdowns to Derek Morris. Bekemeier is already closing in on his passing yardage totals from last season with four regular season games remaining.

Bolivar (2-3, 33.7
) at Rogersville (3-2, 38.1
)

Bolivar’s Lane Loomer rushed for 260 yards against Springfield Catholic to bring his yardage total to 800 in five games. Liberators quarterback Connor Sechler needs 68 passing yards to become the program’s all-time leader. He already holds the Bolivar record for career touchdown passes with 52 and counting. Rogersville will try to stop Loomer with a defense led by linebacker Jaylin Gutierrez, who is also the Wildcats’ leading rusher.


Week 6 high school football schedule

All games at 7 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 22

Hillcrest at Kickapoo

Glendale at Parkview

Friday, Sept. 23

Central at Nevada

Springfield Catholic at Buffalo

Willard at Ozark

Republic at Neosho

Webb City at Nixa

Bolivar at Rogersville

Hollister at Reeds Spring

Marshfield at Branson

Strafford at Fair Grove

Marionville at Pleasant Hope

Carl Junction at Carthage

Mt. Vernon at East Newton

Aurora at Seneca

Houston at Ava

Sarcoxie at Diamond

Mountain Grove at Mountain View-Liberty

Lamar at McDonald County

Liberal at Miller

Cassville at Monett

Lockwood at Pierce City

Camdenton at Rolla

West Plains at Lebanon

Joplin at Waynesville

Ash Grove at Skyline

Jasper at Stockton

Cabool at Thayer

Salem at Willow Springs

Lighthouse Christian at Tulsa NOAH

District standings and point totals through five games:

Class 6 District 4

1. Rockhurst 5-0, 45.9

2. Kickapoo 4-1, 42.3

3. Raymore-Peculiar 4-1, 40.85

4. Lee’s Summit 4-1, 39.04

5. Lee’s Summit West 3-2, 37.67

6. Joplin 3-2, 34.1

7. Park Hill 3-2, 34.07

8. Lee’s Summit North 1-4, 18.6

Class 5 District 4

1. Glendale 5-0, 54

2. Lebanon 4-1, 40

3. Ozark 3-2, 35.5

4. Central 0-5, 16.5

5. Branson 0-5, 14.4

6. Waynesville 0-5, 9.5

Class 5 District 5

1. Nixa 5-0, 42.4

2. Carthage 4-1, 38.4

3. Neosho 3-2, 32.7

4. Parkview 2-3, 27.6

5. Republic 2-3, 25.85

6. Willard 1-4 22.9

Class 4 District 5

1. Carl Junction 4-1, 50.8

2. Camdenton 3-2, 41.5

3. Webb City 3-2, 40.16

4. Hillcrest 2-3, 33.8

5. Bolivar 2-3, 33.7

7. West Plains 1-4, 26.7

6. Marshfield 2-3, 24.9

8. McDonald County 0-5, 13.1

Class 3 District 3

1. Osage 5-0, 47.3

2. Owensville 5-0, 44.59

3. Rogersville 3-2, 38.1

4. Springfield Catholic 2-3, 33.55

5. Sullivan 1-4, 31.9

6. Buffalo 2-3, 28.1

7. St. James 2-3, 27.99

8. Eldon 3-3, 27.9

Class 3 District 4

1. Reeds Spring 4-1, 46.95

2. Cassville 4-1, 41.86

3. Monett 4-1, 41.59

4. Mt. Vernon 3-2, 34.4

5. Hollister 3-2, 33.75

6. Seneca 2-3, 27.7

7. Aurora 1-4, 22.09

8. East Newton 1-4, 19.46

Class 2 District 3

1. Mountain View-Liberty 5-0, 53.79

2. Mountain Grove 5-0, 49.5

3. Diamond 4-1, 44.28

4. Ava 3-2, 43.6

5. Willow Springs 3-3, 31.2

6. Strafford 3-3, 28.7

7. Houston 1-4, 22.41

8. Cuba 0-4, 18.8

Class 2 District 4

1. Lamar 4-0, 59.25

2. Fair Grove 5-0, 48.6

3. Cole Camp 4-1, 38.78

4. Versailles 3-2, 35.3

5. Stockton 2-3, 27.2

6. California 1-4, 27.2

8. El Dorado Springs 1-4, 22.7

7. Warsaw 0-5, 17

Class 1 District 2

1. Ash Grove 5-0, 52.7

2. Thayer 2-2, 45.4

3. Pierce City 3-1, 39.5

4. Sarcoxie 4-1, 38.74

5. Cabool 0-5, 29.1

6. Marionville 1-4, 26.1

7. Pleasant Hope 0-5, 23.5

8. Miller 1-4, 20.41

Class 1 District 3

1. Cass-Midway 5-0, 45.5

2. Lockwood 4-1, 39.72

3. Adrian 3-2, 31.3

4. Drexel 3-2, 31.1

5. Rich Hill 1-4, 23.7

6. Archie 0-5, 23

7. Jasper 1-4, 21.99

8. Liberal 1-4, 20.69

Class 1 District 4

1. Lincoln 5-0, 44.67

2. Crest Ridge 4-1, 37.5

3. Skyline 2-3, 35.9

4. Tipton 2-3, 34.3

5. Appleton City 3-2, 31.6

6. Windsor 1-4, 17.8

7. Lone Jack 0-5, 17.5

8. Osceola 0-5, 13

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