Parkway Central, De Smet, Lafayette ready for state semifinal football games
By: Warren Mayes
Reaching the state championship game at the Edward Jones Dome is the goal of every high school football team. De Smet has been there before, most recently in 2005 when the Spartans won the state title, and would like to go again. Lafayette has never been and would like to make the trip to downtown St. Louis.
Both teams get their chance to advance Friday (Nov. 16) in Class 6 semifinals. The Lafayette Lancers (12-0) will go to St. Charles County to play the 11-1 Francis Howell Vikings, who also never has been in the state final. The De Smet Spartans (9-3) will host the Blue Springs Wildcats(11-1. Kickoff for both teams is 7 p.m.
In the Class 5 semifinals there will be a Suburban South Conference rematch. The Parkway Central Colts (11-1) will host the undefeated Kirkwood Pioneers (11-0). The kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
De Smet advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2010 with a wild 56-35 victory over rival CBC to win the Class 6 District 2 championship.
Lafayette advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 1987 with a 13-7 win over Suburban West Conference rival Eureka to win the Class 6 District 1 championship. Francis Howell blanked Columbia Hickman 45-0 to win the District 3 championship. The Vikings advanced to the semifinals last year, losing to eventual state champion Blue Springs South.
De Smet coach Pat Mahoney said the “upset” victory over CBC was one to remember.
“The kids played really, really played well,” Mahoney said. “We got some breaks and penalties. That’s what goes into an upset. They were the favored team. We just outplayed them that night.”
The win was not without a minor drawback. Mahoney said the first practice after the win was not particularly a good one.
“I had to scream at them,” Mahoney said. “They had the CBC game hangover. To some of the kids, that’s what it was all about. CBC is such a big rival. But that was not the state championship.
“You better ready to play and be ready to punch. Blue Springs is very good football team.”
De Smet last reached the semifinals in 2010 and got beat 20-14 by Hazelwood Central. One starter and another player were on that team but Mahoney said both injured and will not play Friday.
Blue Springs will present a great challenge, much like CBC did for the Spartans.
“You have to be solid in all phases against them,” Mahoney said. “You got to beat them at what you do best. We’ll have to play great defense. If we don’t, we’ll be in trouble. We’re playing a team that has scored 60 points twice and 80 points once.”
Lafayette last reached the semifinals in 1987.
The Lancers must stop Francis Howell running back Donte Harrell, who has rushed for 1,358 yards and 24 touchdowns this season. Lafayette’s defense has recorded seven shutouts this season.
As good as the Lancers have been on defense, they play well on the offensive side, too. The team averages 41 points a game. Senior quarterback Matt Goro paces the attack with 1,253 yards and 17 touchdowns. Senior running back Deonte Robinson sparks the ground game with 941 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Parkway Central is making it’s the first semifinal appearance since 2007, when the Colts were in Class 4. Parkway Central lost in the championship game Lee’s Summit West.
The Colts are coming off a hard-fought win over Camdenton.
“That was a great atmosphere,” Parkway Central coach Mark Goldenberg said. “We really enjoyed the trip and I am very proud of one of the best team wins in my career.”
It involved a gutsy call by Goldenberg to help earn that win.
The Colts were on their own 24-yard line late in the first quarter with a fourth-and-6 situation. Goldenberg decided to go for a fake on the punt attempt.
Johnny Naughton received a pitch and gained 21 yards for the first down. The drive continued and ended when quarterback Zach Lazenby scored in from 1-yard line early in the second quarter.
“We thought it was a sound play and we were in good position to execute it,” Goldenberg said. “When it is there, we go for it.”
The win showed Goldenberg what he knew about his team.
“We play for the team and give everything we have to get the job done,” Goldenberg said.
Now, it’s on to the rematch with Kirkwood. Kirkwood gave the Colts their only loss this season — 28-2 decision in the second week of October at Parkway Central.
Goldenberg is pleased about for his team to have the opportunity to play the Pioneers again.
“It means we can take care of the one blemish we have on our record,” Goldenberg said. “But also that means we have the No. 1 team in the area, and a great coaching staff to deal with. We are well aware of what happened last time, and we are excited for the chance to change the outcome.”
To make this outcome different, Goldenberg said his Colts must do two things.
“We need to finish our opportunities, and control the line of scrimmage,” Goldenberg said.
A win means a chance for the state title. His Colts are aware of what is at stake.
“I think so,” Goldenberg said. “What they don’t realize is how hard it is to get here and how rare the chance is.”