• Shawn Garrison: Story lines emerge early in football season

  • The high school football season is flying by with one-third of the season already in the books. There have already been some exciting twists and turns, and here are some emerging story lines to follow over the final seven weeks of the regular season:

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  • The high school football season is flying by with one-third of the season already in the books. There have already been some exciting twists and turns, and here are some emerging story lines to follow over the final seven weeks of the regular season:
    * Blue Springs has established itself as a favorite to make it all the way to St. Louis. It’s impossible to overstate how impressive the Wildcats have been through three games in which they’ve outscored their opponents 129-51.
    Offensively, senior running back Dalvin Warmack has developed into one of the city’s best playmakers. So far he’s amassed 449 rushing yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 8.8 yards per carry. On the other side, the Blue Springs defense is loaded with playmakers, including St. Joseph Central transfer Elijah Lee, a Division I prospect who collected two sacks in last Friday’s 38-24 thumping of Rockhurst.
    The Cats are currently ranked second in Class 6 behind last year’s runner-up Christian Brothers College High School in the state media poll, but I’ve voted them No. 1 the last two weeks and will continue to do so until I discover some semblance of a weakness in their game. A year ago, we watched Blue Springs South gel over the course of the season and peak in time for a state championship run. Blue Springs looks like a team capable of steamrolling its way to the Show-Me Bowl.
    The Cats host Class 5 No. 2 Lee’s Summit West – another team I’ve voted No. 1 – Friday in a must-see showdown.
    * While Blue Springs has built the most dominant early-season resume, Fort Osage is a close second. The Indians started with a 28-0 win over a solid Park Hill South team, then scored a dramatic 6-0 triumph over defending Class 6 champ Blue Springs South before decking Class 4 No. 5 Liberty North 38-17.
    I’ve yet to see Fort in person so I’m going on word of mouth, but the talk is this might be the best defense coach Ryan Schartz has had in his eight seasons. The Indians are ranked third in Class 5 and don’t expect them to fall anytime soon. Of the teams remaining on Fort’s schedule, only Staley and Raytown posted more than two wins in 2011.
    * Blue Springs South’s wild 41-34 victory over Raymore-Peculiar last Friday was one of the more entertaining regular-season games I’ve covered. This was really a major statement win for the inexperienced Jaguars as they try to re-establish the swagger they had at the end of last year.
    After a couple down seasons since making the jump to Class 6, the Panthers rolled into Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium 2-0 and fired up to prove that the program is back on track. And despite making enough mistakes to keep coach Greg Oder up at night – like 11 penalties and three turnovers – South found a way to get the job done in a game that included seven touchdowns of 30 or more yards.
    Page 2 of 2 - This will likely be an up-and-down season for the Jags, but they’ve shown some resiliency early.
    * This might sound like a backhanded compliment, but there can’t be too many better 0-3 teams in the state than Truman.
    The Patriots have struggled through an absolutely brutal early-season schedule with defeats to Blue Springs South (47-20), Liberty North (12-6) and Park Hill South (19-15). Had two plays gone differently in the Liberty North and Park Hill South games, the Pats could be 2-1 and possibly ranked in Class 5.
    I hope coach Jeff Floyd is able to keep that squad’s confidence intact, because I think that’s a really strong group with a solid defense and dangerous offense with J.T. Hayes at quarterback and Demetric Dinwiddie emerging as a threat in the backfield.
    The next two weeks still won’t be easy, with games against dangerous Park Hill (1-2) and St. Joseph Central (1-2) teams, but the potential is still there for Truman to build off last season’s 5-6 campaign.
    * You’ve also gotta feel for William Chrisman. The Bears haven’t done themselves a lot of favors over the last two-plus seasons as they’ve now dropped 15 consecutive games. But they also haven’t been able to catch many breaks.
    After putting a real scare into defending Class 5 champion Staley in the first half last Friday, leading 21-13 in the second quarter and going into the half tied at 21, things fell apart as the Falcons hung 35 points on Chrisman’s defense in a disastrous third period on the way to a 56-28 blowout. The Bears also lost quarterback Dylan Cole – who missed most of last season with a shoulder injury – and wide receiver Alex Ball to concussions.
    Chrisman coach John Crutcher is always a great interview and I admire the way he’s remained upbeat during this losing stretch. Here’s to the Bears turning things around soon.
    * Predictably, the Missouri State High School Activities Association has made a mess out of posting the new district points standings online. From MSHSAA’s home page, it takes no fewer than six clicks to finally find a district standings page – and that’s if you manage to navigate the site’s confusing layout without making a wrong turn. Is a simple district standings link from the football page too much to ask for?
    This isn’t actually a complaint about the new playoff system, which I still maintain is an improvement from the previous one. But MSHSAA’s introduced a controversial new format and isn’t helping itself by burying its points breakdown.

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