Of tonight’s 10 local district final high school football games, seven are rematches of games played earlier in the year.
Is there any reason to think that any of them will turn out differently this time around?
Well, some outcomes could be impacted by the return from injury of key players, such as Bolivar’s Rafe Peavey and Kolby Follis, and two of Mountain View-Birch Tree Liberty’s starting offensive linemen.
Others, such as Miller/Lockwood or Monett/Cassville, were close games that could have gone either way.
Let’s break down tonight’s action:
* Camdenton at Lebanon: Coach Jeff Shore’s Lakers have been hard to figure.
Are they the team that started 2-3, disappointing prognosticators who thought they might contend for an Ozark Conference championship? Or, are they more the team on a five-game winning streak, allowing 23 points during the run?
I like this Lakers team a lot more than the one that got handled by Lebanon 46-21 on Sept. 7. But the difference between Lebanon and every other team in District 4 is just too vast. Pick: Lebanon.
* Nixa at Ozark: For the third straight year in the rivalry, the regular-season meeting was a bust, this time with the Tigers doing the routing after two years of getting spanked by Nixa.
Not much has changed for these teams since the 41-21 Ozark win on Oct. 5.
The Tigers are still scoring in bunches, and Nixa is still dealing with injuries. Pick: Ozark.
* Parkview at Lee’s Summit West: Parkview will be playing in a small-college environment at Lee’s Summit West, which has some of the best facilities in the state.
The team has a few players that wouldn’t settle for playing at a small college, though, as blue chippers like Mizzou-bound linebacker Nick Ramirez are unlike any level of talent Parkview has seen this season.
Parkview will have to play mistake-free, a nearly impossible task against that defense. Pick: Lee’s Summit West.
* Hillcrest at Webb City: As weird as it sounds, I think the Hornets may have been a little overconfident going into last year’s quarterfinal loss to the Class 4 powerhouse Cardinals.
After being humbled by a 49-0 result, though, Hillcrest knows what kind of uphill battle it is facing this season. Pick: Webb City.
* Harrisonville at Bolivar: The Liberators are a much different team now than the one that lost 26-0 on Sept. 8 to Harrisonville.
The team’s two best players, quarterback Peavey and running back Follis, were injured and did not play then. Their presence should be enough to overcome the Wildcats. Pick: Bolivar.
* Monett at Cassville: The Cubs are one of the only teams to play Cassville tight this season, falling 30-20 to the Wildcats on Sept. 28.
The Wildcats are rolling now, though, and should win their 12th straight. Pick: Cassville.
* MV-BT Liberty at Mountain Grove: The Eagles have wanted another shot at the Panthers since Mountain Grove’s 27-20 win on Sept. 28.
And with a healthy offensive line, I expect coach Darin Acklin’s team to even the season score. Pick: MV-BT Liberty.
* Butler at Lamar: Lamar seems healthy and fully recovered from a tough start to the season.
The Tigers topped Butler 63-12 on Sept. 21, and a similar result could be forthcoming. Pick: Lamar.
* Midway at Skyline: Coach Brandon Shelby’s Tigers routed Adrian last week, a team that knocked off Midway 7-0 earlier this season.
I expect this one to be close, though, as Midway has had success against quality opponents, including two wins against state-ranked Drexel. Too much offense for Skyline, though. Pick: Skyline.
* Lockwood at Miller: Lockwood is a dynamic offensive team, and the only one of Miller’s opponents to play the Cardinals within three touchdowns.
Still, Miller is a team on a mission, and with Valle Catholic not as strong as it has been, the Cardinals would love an opportunity for a quarterfinal date. Pick: Miller.