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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

Football

Friday, Sept. 19

*Ft. Zumwalt S 56, Washington 7

Borgia 42, Cardinal Ritter 6

*Union 55, St. Clair 35

*Sullivan 27, Pacific 10

Owensville 19, Hermann 16

St. James 28, Ash Grove 7

Brentwood 41, Cuba 24

*St. Charles West 49, Warrenton 7

South Callaway 55, Wright City 6

Friday, Sept. 12

*Ft. Zumwalt North 49, Washington 0

*Borgia 35, St. Dominic 0

*Union 27, Pacific 19

*Sullivan 47, St. Clair 21

Hermann 65, Wentzville Liberty 7

*Owensville 29, St. James 28 (OT)

Cuba 22, Windsor 6

*Warrenton 14, St. Charles 6

*Bowling Green 55, Wright City 0

Friday, Sept. 5

Warrenton 14, Washington 6

Borgia 13, Maplewood-Richmond Heights 0 (forfeit)

*Union 32, Sullivan 19

*Pacific 20, St. Clair 18

*Hermann 52, St. James 20

Owensville 35, Cuba 8

*Wright City 36, Montgomery Co. 0

Friday, Aug. 29

Sullivan 30, Washington 8

Borgia 56, Union 13

Ozark 41, St. Clair 0

Potosi 34, Pacific 13

Hermann 54, Cuba 12

Blair Oaks 42, Owensville 0

St. James 36, Houston 18

Warrenton 28, Troy 0

Orchard Farm 36, Wright City 18

Friday, Aug. 22

Washington 26, St. Clair 21

Borgia 48, Owensville 12

Parkway West 49, Union 39

Pacific 28, De Soto 20

Park Hills Central 34, Sullivan 27

St. James 12, Cuba 6

Hermann 61, Montgomery Co 12

Warrenton 26, St. Dominic 23

Trinity 28, Wright City 24

Softball

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Borgia at Notre Dame    4:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt N    4:30 p.m.

*Union at Owensville    4:30 p.m.

*Pacific at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*St. James at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Hermann at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Washington at Warrenton    4:30 p.m.

Sullivan at Northwest    4:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Dominic at Borgia    3:45 p.m.

*Union at Hermann    4:30 p.m.

*St. Clair at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*St. James at Pacific    4:30 p.m.

*Owensville at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19

Union at Ft. Zumwalt N Tny    TBA

South Callaway at New Haven    5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Union at Ft. Zumwalt N Tny    TBA

St. James Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 22

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt S    4:30 p.m.

Union at North County    4:30 p.m.

Warrenton at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

Principia at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Hermann at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

Owensville at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

St. James at Bourbon    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Borgia at Duchesne    4:30 p.m.

*Holt at Washington    4:30 p.m.

*Pacific at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Owensville at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*Hermann at St. James    4:30 p.m.

Volleyball

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Sullivan at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E    5 p.m.

*New Haven at Union    5:30 p.m.

*Pacific at Hermann    5:30 p.m.

*Owensville at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Washington at Duchesne    5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Clair at Owensville    5 p.m.

*Union at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

*Hermann at New Haven    5:30 p.m.

*St. James at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

O’Fallon Christian at Borgia    6:30 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

Friday, Sept. 19

Eagle Ridge at Crosspoint    5:15 p.m.

Providence at Crosspoint    7:15 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

Saturday, Sept. 20

New Haven Round Robin    9 a.m.

ECC at Wentworth    1 p.m.

ECC vs. Graceland JV (Wentworth)    3 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

St. Clair at Seckman Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 22

St. Clair at Salem    5 p.m.

Bourbon at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

Dixon at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament    TBA

Tuesday, Sept. 23

Cuba at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at Bethel    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint vs. Thomas Jefferson    6:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament    TBA

Boys Soccer

Tuesday, Sept. 16

Crosspoint at Fulton St. Albans    4:30 p.m.

Tolton Catholic at Borgia    5:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E    6 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

*St. Louis at ECC    4:30 p.m.

Union at Affton    5 p.m.

St. Clair at De Soto    5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Clair at St. James    5 p.m.

Dixon at Sullivan    5 p.m.

Borgia at Trinity    6:15 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19

Eagle Ridge at Crosspoint    4:30 p.m.

Tolton at Fulton SA    5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

*Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    10 a.m.

Crowder at ECC    2 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 22

Hillsboro at Union    5 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Fulton SA at Thomas Jefferson    4:30 p.m.

North County at Union    5 p.m.

*St. James at Pacific    5 p.m.

*Borgia at St. Dominic    6:15 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Cross Country

Thursday, Sept. 18

St. Clair at Lutheran North    4 p.m.

New Haven, St. James at Steelville Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Festus Inv.    9 a.m.

Hermann at Fulton Inv    9 a.m.

Thursday, Sept. 25

Washington at Rolla Inv    4 p.m.

Union, Owensville, St. James at Belle Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 27

Hancock Inv    8:30 a.m.

Pacific at Viburnum Inv    10:30 a.m.

Monday, Sept. 29

St. Clair at Elsberry Inv    4 p.m.

St. James at Dixon    4 p.m.

Girls Golf

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Borgia at St. Dominic    3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Duchesne at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

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

Borgia at AAA Meet, Lutheran SC    TBA

Wednesday, Sept. 24

Washington at GAC Central Meet    TBA

Thursday, Sept. 25

*Duchesne at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Boys Swimming

Saturday, Sept. 20

Borgia at Ft. Zumwalt W    8:30 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 29

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

*Conference Games

Racing News