Craig's Corner: New Playoff System Works - The Missourian: Sports

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Craig's Corner: New Playoff System Works

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Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 10:00 am

Intense, spirited, dramatic, hard-hitting and highly competitive.

Those are just a few ways to describe Monday night’s Class 4 District 3 championship football game between St. Clair and Sullivan.

The big rivals from the Four Rivers Conference knew each other extremely well. There were no secrets.

It was clearly the two best teams in the district playing for the right to advance to the Class 4 quarterfinals.

That’s the way it should be.

It was a great game to watch.

Sullivan 32, St. Clair 17.

The Eagles proved to be the best team on the block. They handed the Bulldogs both of their losses this season. They earned the right to advance.

“We’re just a hungry team,” said Sullivan quarterback Adam Tiefenbrunn. “No matter what we do, we know we have to keep going.”

St. Clair had a great season. There’s teams still alive in Class 4 that the Bulldogs probably would beat.

But it wasn’t meant to be this season. The Bulldogs lose a great group of seniors, but they have some younger talent on that team. They’ll be back.

“We had a pretty good run. We just came up a little short,” said St. Clair Head Coach Cody McDowell. “These kids worked hard. When you get to this point of the year, you have to play well. And we didn’t play well.”

Sullivan expected a fight, and it got one. The Eagles prevailed on their home field.

“We knew it was going to be a tough one. St. Clair is a big rival,” said Sullivan running back Justin Biermann. “We just kept our heads in, stayed focused, didn’t worry about anything else and stuck with it.”

With the new playoff format this season, it was nice to finally experience a district championship game with so much on the line.

Last year, it was possible to lose your last district game and still go to the playoffs.

Not this year.

Instead of four-team districts, there were eight teams in each district.  

It will be more difficult to win a district title under the new form at, and that’s OK.

Sullivan actually was awarded its district championship trophy following the game.

In past seasons, the district champion always was awarded its trophy prior to the sectional game. That’s no good. It took away the emotion.

District games in the past didn’t have anywhere near the emotion and suspense that Monday night had.

Now, part of that was due to the fact that Sullivan and St. Clair are big rivals.

Both teams really wanted to win. Both teams were confident. Both teams thought they were the better team.

I’m sure district games throughout the state were the same way.

High School football should be an emotional game. Both teams played with plenty of emotion Monday night.

“We talked all week about playing within our emotions. I think we did a really good job of that,” said Sullivan Head Coach Pat Burke.

“It’s basically everything a senior can ask for. It’s very emotional when everything comes together,” Tiefenbrunn said. “You work all summer and it leads up to this. When you’ve been growing up with these guys and can achieve something like this, it’s a big step. We’re going to relish this, but we have to move on to the next one.”

And the next one is a giant.

Sullivan pays a visit to two-time defending Class 4 champion Webb City, winners of 42 straight games overall and 90 straight regular season games.

The Cardinals’ last loss was in the 2009 state semifinals against Kearney. Their last regular season loss was against Hickman in 2003.

“All teams are different, but we do a lot of the same things we’ve done here for years,” Webb City Head Coach John Roderique told me Tuesday morning. “We were old school Webb City football last night against Hillcrest. We ran a lot of option right at them. We’ve run a shotgun pistol formation at times this year, but didn’t do it at all last night. We just ran right at them and rushed for over 400 yards.”

Roderique said he knows very little about Sullivan, but respects what the Eagles have done this season.

“If you’re still playing at this point of the season, you have a well-coached team with good players,” Roderique said. “We expect a big challenge from Sullivan.”

The quarterfinal contest takes place in Webb City Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

The Eagles will leave Friday, get adjusted to the surroundings and then face the biggest challenge of their high school football careers.

The Cardinals (12-0) slapped around a very good Hillcrest team to win their district title Monday night, 55-10. The game basically was over in the second quarter.

Sullivan has never faced a challenge quite like the one it will have Saturday.

No one outside of the Sullivan city limits will give the Eagles a chance.

A win over mighty Webb City would send shock waves throughout the state.

Yes, the Eagles are major underdogs, but I wouldn’t totally count them out. They’ve been an impressive team this season.

Sullivan’s line isn’t big, but it’s very good. The skill players are very talented.

Team health is a concern. The Eagles need to be healthy and firing on all cylinders to have a chance.

“To be able to go there and experience what high school football is all about is something I’m really looking forward to,” Burke said. “The kids are also looking forward to it. Whatever happens, happens. We have a great group of kids. I’d put them up against anyone in the state.”

/

Area Scoreboard

Boys Basketball

Monday, Jan. 26

^Rock Bridge 79, Northwest 27

^Lutheran South 76, Hillsboro 43

Owensville 41, Hermann 40

St. James 80, Montgomery County 39

Tuesday, Jan. 27

Jackson 65, Pacific 44

^Borgia 82,  Union 61

~Warrenton 69, Chamois 24

^Washington 49, St. Clair 45 (OT)

~Wright City 51, New Haven 37

*Bethel at Crosspoint    7:45 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 28

Fulton SA at Thomas Jefferson    6:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 29

^Hillsboro 49, Northwest 34

~New Haven 35, Chamois 28

~Wright City 47, Warrenton 41

^Union 63,  St. Clair 60

~Hermann 63 vs. Montgomery Co 5

St. James 57, Owensville 35

Friday, Jan. 30

^Rock Bridge 80, Lutheran South 59

^Borgia 46, Washington 43 (OT)

*Providence at Crosspoint    7:30 p.m.

Eagle Ridge at Fulton SA    7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 31

^Seventh-place game — St. Clair vs. Northwest   2:30 p.m.

~Seventh-place game    2:30 p.m.

^Consolation — Union vs. Hillsboro    4 p.m.

~Consolation    4 p.m.

^Third-place game — Washington vs. Lutheran South   5:30 p.m.

~Third-place game    5:30 p.m.

^Championship — Borgia vs. Rock Bridge    7 p.m.

~Championship    7 p.m.

^Union Tournament

~Hermann Tournament

Monday, Feb. 2

New Haven at Silex   5:30  p.m.

Fulton SA at North County Christian    7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 3

Whitfield at Union    4 p.m.

*Crosspoint at Fulton SA    6:30 p.m.

Pacific at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

*Holt at Washington    7 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 5

*Fulton SA at Community Christian    6:30 p.m.

*Duchesne at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

*Rivers of Life at Crosspoint    7 p.m.

Wellsville at New Haven     6 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 6

*Union at New Haven    6 p.m.

*Pacific at St. James    6 p.m.

*Borgia at St. Mary’s    6:45 p.m.

*St. Clair at Sullivan    7 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 9

Crosspoint, Fulton SA at MAC Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Feb. 10

*St. Clair at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

*Hermann at Union    5:30 p.m.

Rock Bridge at Borgia    7:15 p.m.

Crosspoint, Fulton SA at MAC Tny    TBA

Owensville at New Haven   6 p.m.

Girls Basketball

Monday, Jan. 26

^Holt 60, Pacific 57

^Warrenton 42, Union 40

~Owensville 64,  Montgomery Co 32

Borgia 62, Cardinal Ritter 41

^St. Clair 64, Lutheran South 45

~Hermann 57, Wright City 26

Washington 74, Wentzville Liberty 19

Tuesday, Jan. 27

Fulton SA at Barat    4:30 p.m.

~New Haven 42, Montgomery Co 34

*Bethel at Crosspoint    6:15 p.m.

~Chamois 61, Wright City 20

Wednesday, Jan. 28

^Pacific 62, Union 59 (OT)

Fulton SA at Thomas Jefferson    5 p.m.

^Lutheran South 54, Wentzville Liberty 40

~Owensville 54, New Haven 24

^Warrenton 51, Holt 44

~Chamois 50, Hermann 45

^Washington 54, St. Clair 31

Thursday, Jan. 29

*Notre Dame 50, Borgia 45

Friday, Jan. 30

^Seventh-place game — Union 66, Wentzville Liberty 31

~Consolation — Montgomery Co. vs. Wright City    5 p.m.

^Consolation — Lutheran South 55, Pacific 49

*Providence at Crosspoint    6 p.m.

Eagle Ridge at Fulton SA    6 p.m.

~Third-place game — Hermann vs. New Haven   6:30 p.m.

^Third-place game — Holt 63, St. Clair 49

~Championship — Owensville vs. Chamois   8 p.m.

^Championship — Washington 61 Warrenton 50

Monday, Feb. 2

#Borgia vs. Patriettes    4 p.m.

#Cardinal Ritter vs. Union    5:20 p.m.

De Soto at St. Clair    5:30 p.m.

Fulton SA at North County Christian    6 p.m.

#Washington vs. Parkway South    6:40 p.m.

Chamois at New Haven    7 p.m.

#Helias vs. Troy    8 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 3

*Crosspoint at Fulton SA    5 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 4

#Washington-Parkway South loser vs. Helias-Troy loser    4 p.m.

#Borgia-Patriettes loser vs. Cardinal Ritter-Union loser    5:20 p.m.

#Washington-Parkway South winner vs. Helias-Troy winner    6:40 p.m.

#Borgia-Patriettes winner vs. Cardinal Ritter-Union winner    8 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 5

*Pacific at St. James    6 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 6

Barat at Fulton SA    4:30 p.m.

*St. Clair at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

*Rivers of Life at Crosspoint    5:30 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 7

#Seventh-place game    noon

#Consolation    1:30 p.m.

#Third-place game    3 p.m.

#Championship    4:30 p.m.

New Haven at Elsberry    5 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 9

*Hermann at Union    5:30 p.m.

*St. Clair at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

*Owensville at New Haven    6 p.m.

*St. Dominic at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

Crosspoint, Fulton SA at MAC Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Feb. 10

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt South    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint, Fulton SA at MAC Tny    TBA

^Washington Tournament

~Hermann Tournament

#Borgia Tournament

Wrestling

Tuesday, Jan. 27

*Pacific 42, St. Clair 33

Borgia 36, Hallsville 30

Helias 66, Borgia 21

Wednesday, Jan. 28

Borgia at Lutheran St. Charles    5 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 29

Summit 39, Union 34

Owensville 41, Pacific 38

Pacific 45, St. James 28

Friday, Jan. 30

St. Clair at DeSoto   5 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 31

Pacific at Hazelwood East Tny    9 a.m.

St. Clair at DeSoto 9 a.m.

Monday, Feb. 2

Borgia at O’Fallon Christian    5 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 3

Washington at Pacific    6 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 4

Borgia at AAA Tny    TBA

Thursday, Feb. 5

*Pacific at Union    6 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 7

Washington at Seckman Tny    9 a.m.

St. Clair at Francis Howell Central Inv    9:30 a.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 10

Pacific at Parkway Central Tri-Meet    5 p.m.

Girls Swimming

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Timberland 140, Washington 96, Ft. Zumwalt East 87

Thursday, Jan. 22

Oakville 120, Washington 115, University City 9, Mehlville 6

Saturday, Jan. 24

Washington 91, Borgia 80

Tuesday, Jan. 27

Washington 122, St. Charles West 46

Thursday, Jan. 29

Washington at Affton/Lutheran South    4:15 p.m.

Borgia at St. Dominic    8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 3

Washington at McCluer North    3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 4

Borgia at MICDS/Duchesne (Rec-Plex)    8:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 6

Washington at Ft. Zumwalt South    3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 10

Borgia at Nerinx Hall    4 p.m.

Washington at GAC Meet    TBA

Wednesday, Feb. 11

Washington at GAC Meet    TBA

Thursday, Feb. 12

Borgia at AAA Meet    TBA

Washington at GAC Meet    TBA

*Conference Games

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