Last week: Chaffee 40, St. Vincent 10; Valle 60, Cleveland NJROTC 0
Last year: Valle 59, St. Vincent 7
Class 1 District 2: Chaffee (3-5, 1-0), Cleveland NJROTC (1-7, 0-1)
Outlook: These Catholic rivals have not met in district play since the 2005 season when Valle won 26-0 and went on to win the district crown. Up until 2005, the schools were longtime district rivals with the exception of the 1998 and 1999 seasons.
Valle has won the last two meetings by a combined 105-14 after losing to St. Vincent the two previous years.
The Warriors are ranked No. 4 in Class 1 and hope to make a push for their 10th state championship and first since 1995. The Warriors fell in the Class 1 state championship game last season.
St. Vincent's lone state title came in 2004.
Valle, which owns four shutouts, has outscored its opponents 389-41. The Warriors have been stepping off the accelerator in the second half after outscoring the opposition 335-12 in the first half. Its lone loss came to Class 1's top-ranked team, Westran, a 21-14 setback in Week 6. The smallest margin of victory among its seven wins is 40 points, which came against Herculaneum -- the Blackcats in turn defeated St. Vincent 48-14.
"Valle is a very physical football team and Westran was able to match them being physical," St. Vincent coach Paul Sauer said. "A good football team like them you have to be physical with them, and we're not very physical so that is going to be a tough task for us."
Senior quarterback Alex Stohl directs the Warriors' offense, which includes senior Luke Uding at running back and receivers Michael Loida and Zach Weiler. Valle also has good size on the offensive line, led by 6-foot-4 junior Ryan Hermann.
"They've got a good mix of a really good offensive line and some really good skill people," Sauer said. "That's just a tough combination to try to stop."
The Indians have struggled to stop the run much of the season. Scott City's Garett Schaefer and Chaffee's Tyson Estes are just two of several opposing running backs who have topped 200 yards against the Indians.
Meanwhile, the Indians have struggled on offense with an unstable quarterback situation since losing junior starter Tim Schumer to a knee injury in Week 3. Senior Taylor Sauer and sophomore Trent Elder have split time at the position. Sauer started last week against Chaffee but injured his throwing shoulder in the first quarter and missed the remainder of the game. Coach Sauer said his son was probable as the starting quarterback tonight, but he likely will use Elder in certain situations. Senior offensive guard Josh Welker will miss his second straight game with a knee injury.
St. Vincent junior running back Derek Joggerst rushed for 105 yards on 21 carries last week.
Crystal City (5-3, 1-0) at Scott City (1-7, 0-1)
Last week: Crystal City 34, St. Pius X 14; Herculaneum 40, Scott City 12
Last year: Crystal City 54, Scott City 21
Class 2 District 2: Herculaneum (6-2, 1-0), St. Pius X (1-7, 0-1), Crystal City, Scott City
Outlook: Crystal City and Scott City have resided in the same district since 1998 and have split the 12 games.
Scott City's season is on the line after falling to Herculaneum in last week's district opener. The loss extended the Rams' losing streak to six games. Scott City's lone win came in Week 2 when it scored a season-high 42 points against St. Vincent. The Rams have not scored more than 14 points in their last five losses.
"We've pretty much painted ourselves into a corner where we have to win now, and that's how we're approaching it," Scott City coach Jim May said. "Hopefully we can play a good game for 48 minutes."
Senior running back Garett Schaefer continues to lead the offense. He rushed for 108 yards on 22 carries last week and has 1,146 yards on the season. He has topped 100 yards in six of the Rams' eight games and averages 6.2 yards a carry.
The Rams had several bright spots in their most recent loss, a game that it only trailed 13-6 at halftime. Rams senior quarterback Jamie Scholz passed for 144 yards and two touchdowns, including one to his favorite target, junior receiver Austin Atchley, who had two catches for 86 yards.
Senior linebacker Hunter Griffith was one of several Rams to return from injury last week, and he led the team with 16 tackles and one fumble recovery. Senior linebacker Wade Keesee returns this week after missing three games due to a concussion.
Crystal City has put together a winning record despite losing all-conference quarterback Neil Slabby for the season in Week 1. The Hornets enter tonight's game with a three-game winning streak, having soundly defeated St. Vincent (41-6), Grandview (35-7) and St. Pius (34-14).
Nick Rothweiler has stepped in for Slabby and performed well. Rothweiler threw three touchdown passes and passed for 211 yards against St. Vincent in Week 6. Senior Logan Jett and juniors Stacey Thornton and Austin Helwig have been his top targets.
"They're the polar opposite of Herculaneum," May said. "Herculaneum was a big, power-running team and Crystal City is a spread team that likes to throw the ball if they can. They have a running back who can run the ball, but they're going to try to spread you out and do their damage."
Landon Prater, a 5-10, 242-pound senior running back, has been an effective rusher for Crystal City along with Rothweiler.
Cleveland (1-7, 0-1) at Chaffee (3-5, 1-0)
Last week: Valle 60, Cleveland NJROTC 0; Chaffee 40, St. Vincent 10
Last year: Did not play
Class 1 District 2: Valle (7-1, 1-0), St. Vincent (2-6, 0-1), Cleveland NJROTC, Chaffee
Outlook: With a victory and some help from Valle, the Red Devils can reserve their first trip to the postseason since winning the Class 1A state championship in 1983.
Chaffee never has played Cleveland, which dropped down to Class 1 this year.
Cleveland's lone victory this season came against winless Confluence Prep Academy in Week 3. Cleveland has been shut out in four of its seven losses, including the last two weeks. It has been outscored 231-32 during its current five-game losing streak.
Michael Wells is Cleveland's top rusher with 267 yards on 57 carries. Quarterback Ryan Washington has completed 44 of 76 passes for 423 yards. His top targets are Montez Latimore (15 catches, 264 yards) and Antonio Burnett (14 for 137).
A primary challenge for the Red Devils will be keeping focus. The Red Devils stumbled badly after back-to-back wins earlier this season.
"We cannot let them get momentum going," Chaffee coach Charlie Vickery said. "They're a young team as well, and you let them have some momentum, we're going to be in for a long night. We're just focusing on ourselves. And we feel like if we can take care of business, then we can do pretty well. If we don't come out on top of our game, we'll be in for a struggle."
A previously sluggish Chaffee running game found traction last week against St. Vincent. The Red Devils had not featured a 100-yard rusher all season, but that changed when junior Tyson Estes burned the Indians for 210 yards on 31 carries. Estes rushed for 191 yards in the second half. Estes has about 450 yards rushing this season, while senior Mike Rutherford leads the receivers with 25 catches for around 300 yards.
Chaffee started freshman Cody Payne at quarterback last week, but he gave way to junior Jordan Yahn after two series. The two have been splitting time most of the season after Yahn, who started at quarterback as a sophomore, suffered a sprained ankle in the season opener.
Vickery said Payne will start again in an effort to help Yahn settle into the game. Yahn also plays linebacker, and Vickery wants him to play on defense for a couple of series before he goes in on offense.
"We let him get beat around a lit bit defensively, and when he came in the third series, he was much more relaxed and in the flow of the game," Vickery said. "It worked last week, so we're going to do it again."
Jackson (3-5, 1-0) at Seckman (1-6, 0-1)
Last week: Jackson 36, Poplar Bluff 21; Rockwood Summit 44, Seckman 21
Last year: Did not play
Class 5 District 1: Rockwood Summit (4-4, 1-0), Poplar Bluff (1-7, 0-1), Jackson, Seckman
Outlook: Seckman lost its star running back Tyler Fisher -- a 1,500-yard rusher in 2009 -- in a season-opening loss to Parkway Central and has struggled since. Its lone victory came against University City in its fourth game, and the Jaguars have lost their three games since, including a 42-6 loss to Webster Groves, the top-ranked team in Class 5.
"They play one of the toughest schedules in the St. Louis area," Jackson coach Van Hitt said. "They've just had bad luck and a tough schedule. It's really hurt them. But they're very physical. They'll be as physical as any team we play this year."
Seckman still has demonstrated the ability to move the ball, with 384 yards of offense in its district-opening loss to Rockwood Summit.
Blake Pepper carried 33 times for 180 yards, accounting for all but 17 of his team's rushing yards. With 850 yards this season, Pepper is the lone Seckman player with more than 63 yards rushing this year. Pepper had 236 of his yards against University City.
Quarterback Sam Tramel completed 14 of his 33 passes for 187 yards last week. Alek Ferbet, a big target with good hands, led the receivers with seven catches for 130 yards, while Zach Naes had five receptions for 42 yards. Ferbet and Naes also have the bulk of Seckman's season receiving numbers. Ferbet has 38 catches for 527 yards, while Naes has 14 catches for 160 yards. No other receiver has more than four receptions.
Tramel has completed 41 percent of his passes in directing a power offense that runs an I with an offset fullback.
Jackson snapped a four-game losing streak last week, accumulating 418 yards of offense. The Indians rushed for 237 yards, their highest total since grinding out 263 yards in its season opener. Senior running back Ethan Ruch had 165 yards and four touchdowns for his third 100-yard game of the season as he moved his season total to 816 yards (5.2 ypa) to stay on pace for a 1,000-yard season.
Lowgn Wren leads the receivers with 19 catches for 307 yards. Sophomores Wren and Brandon Wright both had five catches and combined for 161 yards last week. Senior quarterback Bobby Clark has averaged 208 yards passing over the last three games, completing 42 of 78 attempts (53.8 percent). Clark has 1,193 yards passing and has completed 46.6 percent of his attempts this season.
"The receiver are doing a good job of running routes and catching the ball and the quarterback is doing a really good job of getting the ball to them," Hitt said. "And Ruch has had some good outings running the football. Offensively we feel like we're playing pretty good right now. Defensively, we just need to step up and get some stops to give our offense some opportunities to put points on the board."
Farmington (6-2, 0-1) at Perryville (0-8, 0-1)
Last week: Central 40, Farmington 28; Sikeston 54, Perryville 7
Last year: Did not play
Class 4 District 1: Central (8-1, 1-1), Sikeston (9-0, 2-0), Farmington, Perryville
Outlook: Farmington and Perryville last met in 2002 but have a long history. They have been district opponents on and off over the years with the most recent in 2000 and 2001, when the configuration also included current district opponents Central and Sikeston. The Knights have won the last four meetings, with the Pirates' last victory coming in a nondistrict meeting in 1998. The schools also used to be longtime conference rivals in the Mineral Area Activities Association.
Farmington had a five-game winning streak snapped in last week's district opener, when Central throttled the Knights' no-huddle, spread offense that had averaged 60.8 points during the span.
The Knights, led by senior quarterback Zach Hibbits, led Central 20-19 at halftime but scored just eight points in the second half. Farmington still managed 425 yards of offense in the loss. Hibbits had half of the Knights' ground attack with 74 yards on 18 carries and passed for 279 yards. Six-foot-three receiver Jonathon Bird led the receivers with seven catches for 78 yards.
The Pirates have run across some potent spread passing attacks this season, most notably Maplewood, the top-ranked team in Class 2.
"They have some very tall, athletic receivers," Perryville coach Keith Winkler said. "When they go 6-2, 6-3 across the board ... we haven't seen that kind of size."
Perryville has played state-ranked opponents -- Fredericktown, Maplewood and Sikeston -- in three of its last four games. The Pirates mustered just 120 yards of offense last week against Sikeston and yielded 560 yards.
Perryville has been outscored 337-58 this season.
"We're just trying to take care of us," Winkler said. "We're trying to play the best we can, don't make mistakes and shoot ourselves in the foot and find out what we can do. We're still playing hard. We just need to keep plugging away at it."
-- Jeff Breer