Thanksgiving weekend started with a bang as the Frisco Bell will remain at Kirkwood after the Pioneers won the annual Turkey Day game against Webster Groves while the Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 6 football title is on the line Saturday. East St. Louis will look to bring the Illinois High School Association Class 6A crown back to the metro area and the semifinals in Missouri will feature a few heavyweight battles.
It was the 113th edition of Turkey Day at historic Moss Field Thursday as Kirkwood remained the holders of the prized Frisco Bell with a 49-7 victory over Webster Groves. It was the last football game played on the Moss Field grass as we know it as a new stadium complex will start to go up very soon thanks to the Webster Groves community passing a bond issue a few months back. It will include a new play turf field, all-weather track, stands and press box, and state-of-the-art locker rooms. So, the day was extremely special for all involved.
The Pioneers got off to a fast start in the first quarter as Tyler Macon hauled in a 24-yard pass from Creighton Wise to take an early 7-0 lead. After the Kirkwood defense forced a 3-and-out, Macon returned a punt 52 yards to the house to grab a 14-0 advantage. The Statesmen answered on their next drive as Trevion Hulsey rumbled 27 yards to cut the deficit to 14-7. The Pioneers responded as Larry Robinson caught a Wise pass for 49 yards on an untimed down after penalty with no time remaining in the first quarter to push the lead to 21-7. In the second quarter, Wise used his running ability to score from 10 yards out with 4:32 left in the half and then threw his third touchdown strike to Kam Richardson with 61 seconds remaining in the half to give Kirkwood a 35-7 lead into the locker room.
It was all Deion Brown in the third quarter as he scored both of his touchdowns as he had runs of 23 and 48 yards to extend the Pioneer’s lead to 42-7. Macon sealed the deal in the fourth as he scored his third touchdown of the afternoon with a 46-yard reception from Owen Nesslage to put the score at 49-7 as it returned the Frisco Bell to the halls of Kirkwood High for the ninth consecutive year.
Brown finished the game with 175 yards and a pair of touchdowns to finish a record-setting year as he is now the career leader at Kirkwood in rushing yards in a season and he now holds the career rushing mark in the storied history of Pioneer football. Macon led the receiving corps for Kirkwood as he grabbed three catches for 79 yards and two scores. Hulsey paced the Webster Groves offense with 76 yards on 12 carries.
The MSHSAA Class 6 state championship game will take place Saturday at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo., as CBC will look to claim back-to-back titles and their fifth championship in eight years. The Cadets will take on a familiar foe in Lee’s Summit North. The two teams met in last year’s state semifinal as CBC came back from a fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Broncos 28-21.
The Cadets are led by a trio of running backs who all have been a big part of CBC’s success this season. Jeremiah Love paces the group with 1,080 yards on the ground with 19 touchdowns while Dylan Van has added 868 yards and 13 scores. Ralph Dixon adds to the ground attack with 721 yards and 10 touchdowns. Cole McKey will handle the quarterback duties for the Cadets with 1,655 yards through the air and 21 scoring strikes. Jeremiah McClellan has been the center of the passing game for CBC with 1,042 yards in receptions and 13 touchdowns.
The Broncos also have a potent rushing attack as Tanner Howes leads the way with 1,179 yards on the ground and 14 touchdowns while Quincey Baker has added 991 yards and eight scores for Lee’s Summit North. Elijah Leonard will run the Bronco offense as he has 864 yards passing with 10 touchdowns. His favorite target is Isaiah Mozee as he has grabbed 59 receptions for 748 yards and 10 scores.
Over on the Illinois side of the river, East St. Louis takes on Prairie Ridge out of Crystal Lake in the IHSA Class 6A title game Saturday at 1 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill. The two teams matched up back in 2019 in the 6A final with the Flyers winning 43-21. East St. Louis is looking to claim their 10th IHSA state football championship.
TaRyan Martin leads the Flyers offense with 1,382 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns while quarterback Robert Battle has thrown for 1,916 yards and 21 scores and has added 670 yards rushing and 10 more touchdowns. Jesse Watson has been outstanding on the edge for East St. Louis with 455 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Crystal Lake is looking to win its fourth state title.
It is semifinal Saturday in Missouri as six local teams will look to advance to the state title games next weekend in Columbia.
In Class 5, it is a battle of the top two teams in the state as Francis Howell travels to Southwest Missouri to take on Carthage Saturday at 1 p.m. The Tigers have been on top of the state poll all season while the Vikings have been slotted into the second spot for the majority of the year. In the other Class 5 semifinal, Ft. Osage will head to Cape Girardeau to take on Central Saturday at 1 p.m.
In Class 4 semifinal action, St. Mary’s will head across the state to play the defending state champions in Smithville Saturday at 1 p.m. The Dragons are also looking to win their second straight state title after winning the Class 3 crown last season. On the other side of the Class 4 bracket, upstart St. Dominic will play host to West Plains Saturday at 1 p.m. as well. The Crusaders are looking to make their first appearance in the state championship game.
Cardinal Ritter has been the top team in Class 3 for most of the year and they will look to advance to the championship game for the third time in school history as they will head to Pleasant Hill to take on the Roosters Saturday at 1 p.m. In the other semifinal, Sullivan hit the road to Reed Springs to play the Wolves Saturday at 1 p.m. The Eagles are attempting to return to the title game for the first time since 1976.
And finally, in Class 1, Duchesne will head to Gower, Mo., to take on East Buchanan Saturday at 1 p.m. The Pioneers have not been to the state championship game since 1982 and are looking to win their first football title. In the other semifinal, Monroe City and Adrian will do battle for the right to play in the title game next weekend.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jim at @hssportscaravan