It all comes down to this.
Saturday’s Missouri Cyclones game at Mehlville High School against the Midwest Chargers will determine not only the Great Midwest Football League Gateway Conference Southeastern Division championship, but also will be for homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.
Both teams enter the game at 8-1 in GMFL games and have secured playoff spots.
The Cyclones can finish as high as first in the GMFL Gateway Conference playoffs, or could drop to third with a loss.
The Cyclones routed the Eastside Justice 40-6 Saturday at Borgia to extend its winning streak to seven games.
Missouri needs to avenge its only loss of the regular season, a 15-10 setback at Borgia, if it wants to win the division title.
When the team takes the field against the Chargers, Head Coach Troy Robertson says several changes will be evident. Mike McMullen will return to the starting quarterback role.
McMullen completed 10 of 21 passes for 121 yards and one touchdown against the Justice. McMullen has shared playing time with Clayton Tunney. McMullen, who has started a number of games this season, will be the starter Saturday.
“We had some mental breakdowns in the passing game,” said Robertson.
The Cyclones will also have a different look on defense and will be replacing three starters, who are out for the remainder of the season with injuries.
Missouri was able to move the ball productively against the Justice but wasn’t as productive in the red zone as Robertson would have liked. Fortunately, kicker Will Rodriguez proved extremely reliable, connecting on all four of his field goal attempts.
“He’s been kicking really well for us,” acknowledged Robertson. “He’s only had one miss over 40 yards.”
Rodriguez put the Cyclones ahead early, before they scored consecutive touchdowns in less than a minute late to take a 17-0 advantage heading into the second period.
Missouri’s second touchdown came as a result of one of three straight fumbles by the Justice, two of which were recovered by the Cyclones.
The Justice countered with a long touchdown pass down to open the second quarter, falling short on the two-point conversion.
Missouri led 23-6 at halftime, counting on Rodriguez two more times.
“It hurt us having to kick the field goal during the last 2:00 of the half, when we should have been able to punch in another touchdown,” said Robertson.
The Cyclones reached the end zone two more times in the second half, before the game was called with eight minutes remaining due to severe weather.
Jason Boyd was responsible for a pair of touchdowns, grabbing six receptions for 81 yards.
“He had a great game for us,” said Robertson.
Jeff Kolkmeier had three catches for 34 yards.
Dominique Jones made a promising return to the field, rushing for 102 yards on 13 carries.
“I was pleased with our running game, and we got Dominique back on track,” said Robertson.
The Cyclones are also anticipating the return of defensive specialist Marqueas McLaurin.
Six Cyclones were named to the Great Midwest Football League All-Star team. Among them were running back Keenan Miller, offensive guard Travis Triplett, linebacker Kellen Williams, defensive tackle Chris Henry, athlete Deon Morris and kicker Will Rodriguez.