Games to watch
Kickapoo Chiefs at Parkview Vikings, JFK Stadium
Coaches: Kickapoo’s Joel Wells vs. Parkview’s Anthony Hays
Keys to the game: Both defenses best contain the playmakers, Parkview wide receiver Connor Ratcliff and Kickapoo quarterback Brad Jarman. Get there early, too, to see Parkview kicker Wes Middlebrooks, whose 60-yard field goal earned a spot in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl on Dec. 14 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Camdenton Lakers at Hillcrest Hornets, Shumate Stadium
Coaches: Camdenton’s Jeff Shore vs. Hillcrest’s John Beckham
Keys to the game: New Hillcrest quarterback Brady Petry, a basketballer in the winter, needs to calm the offense. Defensively, Hillcrest safety Stanley Murphy must lead a unit that thwarts Camdenton’s ball-control offense, in which the Lakers will employ a QB platoon of Ty McDuffey and Jordan Knight.
Branson Pirates at Central Bulldogs, Harrison Stadium
Coaches: Branson’s Dan Henderson vs. Central’s Lorenzo Williams
Keys to the game: Controlling excitement is important for Central’s Bulldogs as former Mizzou standout defensive lineman Lorenzo Williams makes his head coaching debut. Branson’s defense must key on senior running backs Tyus Townsend and Isaiah Holyfield, along with receiver Deon Hodges, and can the Bulldogs’ speedy defense contain the Pirates’ spread offense?
Ozark Tigers at Bolivar Liberators, Plaster Stadium
Coaches: Ozark’s Mark Bliss vs. Bolivar’s Lance Roweton
Keys to the game: Ozark is out to make a statement after a down season a year ago, but the Tigers need to run a mistake-free, single-wing offense that’s led by senior QB Micah Tinsman. Bolivar’s offensive patience will be key, as the Liberators return only three starters — all on offense — from a team that finished 12-1 last year and reached the Class 4 quarterfinals.
Catholic Fightin’ Irish at Strafford Indians
Coaches: Catholic’s Steve Hancock vs. Strafford’s Tim Hester
Keys to the game: Catholic is turning to a run-oriented attack with new coach Steve Hancock, previously at Branson, but look for the Irish to take advantage of senior QB Jack Jones’ passing skills. Strafford, 10-1 last season, returns a ton of experience, including senior receiver Brady Collier, and it’ll need to shepherd a new QB in Chanler Collins.
— Kary Booher
Week 1 schedule
Willow Springs at Reeds Spring, 7 p.m.
Hollister at Houston, 7 p.m.
Webb City at Carthage, 7 p.m.
Mount Vernon at Lamar, 7 p.m.
Carl Junction at East Newton, 7 p.m.
Cassville at Aurora, 7 p.m.
Kickapoo at Parkview, 7:30 p.m.
Camdenton at Hillcrest, 7:30 p.m.
Branson at Central, 7:30 p.m.
Seneca at Monett, 7:30 p.m.
Sedalia Smith-Cotton at Republic, 7:30 p.m.
Marshfield at Ava, 7:30 p.m.
West Plains at Waynesville, 7:30 p.m.
Rogersville at Mountain Grove, 7:30 p.m.
Jasper at Sarcoxie, 7:30 p.m.
El Dorado Springs at Stockton, 7:30 p.m.
Lebanon at Rolla, 7:30 p.m.
Buffalo at Fair Grove, 7:30 p.m.
Ozark at Bolivar, 8 p.m.
Catholic at Strafford, 8 p.m.
Glendale at Joplin, 8 p.m.
Miller at Marionville, 8 p.m.
Liberal at Lockwood, 8 p.m.
Pleasant Hope at Sherwood, 8 p.m.
Cabool at Ash Grove, 8 p.m.
Nixa at Jefferson City Helias, 8 p.m.