It is time to start the fall season!! This is the first weekend of prep sports in the metro area as all our teams begin their quest for a state title on both sides of the river. The season starts with a lot of big-time games in football and some outstanding tournaments in volleyball and softball while the boys’ soccer scene gets off and running with many top-flight matches this weekend.
Let’s get you ready for all the action in this week’s edition of the Friday Fast Break!
The 2022 football season will get off to a fast start his weekend as CBC travels to Canton, Ohio to play perennial Georgia state power Milton at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium Friday at 4:30 p.m. The defending Class 6 state champions will lean on running back Jeremiyah Love to lead their offense this season while wide receiver Dakotah Mayo will be a favorite target for CBC. The Cadets will be young on the defensive side of the ball with only four starters returning from last year, but they will have a pair of the top defensive players in the area in linebacker Kyan Franklin and safety Lucas McAllister to help pace CBC in attempting to knock off a Milton squad that opened the season last week with a 17-7 loss to Lipscomb Academy.
A pair of best friends and former teammates at Mizzou will lead their respective teams in a huge week one opener as Will Franklin takes his Vashon squad to Kirkwood to take on Jeremy Maclin’s Pioneers Friday at 7 p.m. The Wolverines are coming off an outstanding 2021 season which saw them win their district before falling to North County in the Class 4 quarterfinals. The Pioneers will return one of the top running backs in the area in Deion Brown while wideouts Tyler Macon and Kam Richardson will be forces on the edge for Kirkwood. Patrick Fortune returns to lead a veteran group that will look to compete for a conference and district crown.
The battle of South City will take place Friday as defending Class 3 state champion St. Mary’s travels to Oakland Avenue to play St. Louis University High at 7 p.m. Dragons head coach Ken Turner has few holes to fill on offense, but he does have a pair of outstanding wide receivers returning that will pace the St. Mary’s offense. Donovan McIntosh and Chase Hendricks will look to make big plays for the Dragons while Gabe Booker will be the leader on the defensive side of things. The Jr. Bills have one of the top athletes in the state returning for interim head coach Adam Cruz as Ryan Wingo will be the go-to guy for SLUH. Wingo scored 10 times last season and has big play capabilities every time he touches the ball. Louis Kurtz is a linebacker that will take control of the Jr. Bills defense this season.
Two of the top teams in St. Charles County will square off to open the year as Howell heads to Fort Zumwalt North Friday at 7 p.m. to kick things off. Howell head coach Brent Chojnacki brings back six starters on offense which includes tight end Brent Norfleet, who has turned into one of the top players in the area. The Vikings defense will once again be solid as eight starters return from the 2021 team. Joe Bacon is hoping that the Panthers will rebound after a 7-4 season last year. Fort Zumwalt North has won eight straight Gateway Athletic Conference Central titles and will look for senior quarterback Connor O’Neal to pace the Panthers. O’Neal will have a pair of running backs in the backfield to help the offense as Brayden Miller and DJ Jones return for their senior seasons. On the defensive side for the Panthers, Miller and Carter Madere will spearhead a veteran group that was one of the top defenses in the area last season.
Saturday evening in the same showcase that CBC is playing in at Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, East St. Louis opens the 2022 season against St. Frances out of Maryland. Long-time head coach Darren Sunkett welcomes back a solid group this season that will be led by junior quarterback Robert Battle. Battle had an outstanding 2021 campaign and will have sophomore running back TaRyan Martin in the backfield to propel the Flyers offense. St. Frances is one of the top teams in Maryland that will play all over the country this year.
The area’s volleyball teams will open play this weekend with most of the top teams in the area competing in the Brace for Impact Tournament at Legacy VTC in Fenton. Nerinx Hall is expected to make a long run once again in the state tournament as the Markers headline the tournament with St. Pius X and Duchesne joining the 16-team tourney that begins Friday at 5 p.m.
Visitation will also host many top teams Saturday as Westminster, John Burroughs, Parkway Central, and Webster Groves will take part in a one-day tournament Saturday.
On the diamond, there are two huge tournaments this weekend that will feature many of the area’s top clubs. The yearly Troy Classic will showcase the host Trojans, St. Dominic, Howell Central, and Fort Zumwalt South with games starting Friday afternoon.
Rockwood Summit will play its annual season-opening tournament at Chesterfield Valley as Ursuline, Oakville, Holt, Incarnate Word, and Lafayette join the Falcons in the tournament that begins play Friday at 11 a.m.
The 2022 fall sports classifications and districts were announced this morning by the Missouri State High School Activities Association and there are many surprises in all the sports. We will cover a lot of those changes next week. You can take a look at those new classes and districts at www.mshsaa.org.
Jim Powers has been covering prep sports in the St. Louis area for 15+ years and a part of the Missouri State High School Activities Association Championship Broadcasts for the past 11 years. Powers is also a part of the Fox 2 Verlo Mattress Prep Zone Friday nights at 10:10 during the football and basketball seasons. If you have a prep sports story, please contact Jim at email@example.com. Follow Jim at @hssportscaravan