High School Sports Wrap: Hazelwood West Wins District Title, Florissant Teams Head to Playoffs
Hazelwood West wins fourth straight district volleyball title, while three Florissant teams advance in state football playoffs.
Two weeks ago, the Wildcats clinched their third straight Suburban North Conference championship with a win over McCluer North High School.
“This is awesome,” West coach Michael Vaughn said. “I’m so happy for the girls. It’s been a fun year, and we’re excited to be district champs again.”
Senior Sara Gregor, the likely Suburban North Conference Player of the Year smashed 19 kills on 24 attempts in the championship to power West to the win.
“It’s going to be hard to replace an athlete like Sara,” Vaughn said. “She brings so much to the team, in terms of physical ability and game IQ. With her leadership and her knowledge, she’s really going to be missed next year.”
The Hazelwood Central club that lost the district championship game to Hazelwood West enjoyed a fun run in the playoffs also.
The Hawks didn’t get as far as West did, but coach Jen Leskowski said her team still had a fun year.
“It was a good year,” Leskowski said. “We’re still a pretty young team. We don’t have a lot of girls that play club, so we don’t have a lot of experience, but you can just see how much the team has improved.
“We’re already looking forward to next year. We’ve got several girls coming back next year,” she said.
Hazelwood West’s playoff run ended in the state sectionals though, when the Wildcats were defeated by No. 1-ranked Francis Howell in straight sets Saturday at West High School.
State football playoffs begin on Wednesday
The high school football playoffs begin this week in Missouri, with gamesacross the state on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Among the 184 teams that qualified for the Class 1-6 football tournaments this year, all three Florissant-area teams made it in with victories last weekend.
McCluer North was the big winner with its 43-6 win over Ritenour Friday night.
Senior quarterback Galen Brown was the star of Stars, tossing three touchdown passes (all to fellow senior Rodja Harvey) and running for another. McCluer North clinched not only the district title, but the Suburban North Conference championship as well.
Hazelwood Central clinched its playoff spot on Saturday when the team defeated Hazelwood West 41-6.
Junior running back Dorian Williams and senior wide receiver Justin Riddle scored two touchdowns each for the Hawks, who, after a difficult start in 2011, have won four of their last five games and figure to be a difficult matchup for whatever team they face in the postseason.
The surprise entrant into the state playoffs this year is McCluer, which like Hazelwood Central, got off to a rough start this season, losing its first four ballgames.
But the Comets came on strong in the district playoffs, with a huge win (39-13) over Normandy two weeks ago and then a thrilling 56-28 victory over Riverview Gardens this past weekend.
Senior Jeff Shumpert had a big day in the playoff-clinching victory over Riverview. The speedy running back and kick returner had 244 all-purpose yards and scored four touchdowns in one of the greatest performances of his high school career.
The Comets will start the playoff season started Wednesday night, when they’ll travel to Jefferson County to take on Seckman High of the Suburban South Conference at 7 p.m.
McCluer (4-6) figures to be a surprising road favorite in that ballgame, as Seckman has only won three games all season.
It would seem no team in the playoffs has a tougher first-round task than Hazelwood Central, which will begin its playoff hunt against No. 1-ranked CBC Friday night at CBC’s Ross Stadium in Town and Country.
The Cadets have one of the highest scoring offenses in the state and feature area Player of the Year candidate Dalton Demos at quarterback, so the task for the Hawks will clearly be one of their most difficult of the season.
McCluer North, as champions of Class 6 District 4, get a home playoff game in the first round and will host Lafayette High of the Suburban West Conference on Saturday.
The MSHSAA playoff schedule calls for Class 6 games to be on Friday night, but the stadium at McCluer North does not have lights, so both schools have agreed to play on Saturday, with kickoff set for 1 p.m.
Should both Hazelwood Central and McCluer North win this weekend, they would meet next week, in the state quarterfinals, in a game that would be played on Nov. 11 at McCluer North High School.
Boys soccer districts begin this week
Hazelwood West, the undefeated champions of the Suburban North Conference, are the No. 1 seed for the boys soccer district playoffs this week at the Florissant Civic Center.
The Wildcats, who are 18-7 overall this year, will begin district play with a matchup against McCluer on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
The No. 2 seed is McCluer North, who will take on No. 3 seed Hazelwood Central in a second game on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The winners of those two contests, will meet up in the district championship game at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Florissant Civic Center.