The softball season concluded over the weekend with a local team finishing second in Class 5 while another area team earned fourth-place honors in Class 3. The state volleyball semifinals are set as Westminster will look to defend their state title from a year ago and the first round of the state football playoffs are in full swing.

The Francis Howell softball team concluded their record-breaking season by falling short in the Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 5 title games as the Vikings fell to Blue Springs South 10-2 this past Friday afternoon. The Jaguars grabbed the early lead with a pair of two-run homers in the top of the fourth to grab a 4-0 lead, but the Vikings cut into the lead in the home half of the frame as Meghan McCutcheon scored on a Macey Nix single to make the score 4-1. Blue Springs South added three more runs in the top of the fifth to push the advantage to 7-1, but Natalie Vines hit an RBI single in the bottom of the inning to put the score at 7-2. The Jaguars put the game out of reach with a pair of runs in the sixth and a single run in the seventh to claim the title. Howell finished the year with a school record 28 wins.

In the Class 3 semifinals at the Killian Softball Complex in Springfield, Mo., Westminster wrapped up their season with a fourth-place finish as the Wildcats fell to Fatima in the semifinals 13-0 and then dropped the third-place game to Bowling Green 7-0 to earn fourth place in the state.

On the volleyball court, many of the top teams in the area clicked their tickets to the state semifinals at the Show-Me Center in Cape Girardeau, Mo., with quarterfinal victories over the weekend.

Lafayette moved on to the Class 5 final four with a straight-set victory over Jackson Saturday afternoon as the Lancers won the first set 25-15 and then took the second set 25-18. Lafayette won the match with a 25-17 victory in the third set to advance to the semifinals as the Lancers will take on Liberty North Thursday at 10 a.m. St. Dominic will return to the semifinals again after defeating St. Joseph’s 3-0 Saturday. The Crusaders grabbed the first set by a score of 25-16 and then won the final two games 25-23 to move on as St. Dominic will take on Kickapoo Thursday at 10 a.m.

In Class 4, Westminster advanced to the semifinals with a 3-0 win over St. Pius X out of Festus as the Wildcats will look to defend their title from last year. After winning a tight first set over the Lancers 25-23, Westminster won the final two sets 26-24 and 25-12 as the Wildcats will take on Platte County Thursday at 2 p.m. in the semifinals. Incarnate Word needed four games to advance to the semis as the Red Knights defeated Parkway Central 3-1 Saturday. After dropping the first two sets to IWA 25-17 and 25-25, IWA rallied to take the third game 25-20. The Red Knights rebounded to take the fourth set 25-23 and will play Webb City Thursday at 2 p.m. in the other Class 4 semifinal.

In Class 2, Jefferson R7 moved on to the semifinals for the second year in a row as the Blue Jays survived a five-set thriller against Saxony Lutheran. Jefferson dropped the first set 25-23 before rallying to take the next two sets 25-23 and 25-17. Saxony then grabbed the fourth set 25-23 to force a deciding fifth set. The game went back and forth before Jefferson has able to win the set 17-15 and advance to take on East Buchanan Friday at 6 p.m. in the semifinals.

The first weekend of the state football playoffs on both sides of the river saw many close games and few upsets along the way.

The feature game in the MSHSAA Class 6 bracket saw No. 3 seed Seckman defeat No. 6 seed St. Louis University High School 50-41 as Cole Ruble tied a school record with seven touchdowns as the Jaguars advanced to take on No. 2 seed Marquette, who defeated Northwest 54-0. Also in Class 6, No. 5 seed De Smet took an early lead and held on to defeat No. 4 seed Ritenour 56-35 as the Spartans will travel to No. 1 seed Troy this week after the Trojans beat Hazelwood West 70-0.

In Class 5 district action, No. 5 seed Parkway West advanced to take on top seed Eureka with a 44-7 victory over No. 4 seed Ladue while No. 2 seed MICDS and No. 3 seed Lafayette both moved on after opening-round wins.

On the Illinois side, Collinsville raced out to an early 14-0 lead and held on to defeat Bradley-Bourbonnais 14-12 to win their first playoff game in school history. The Kahoks will travel to Chicago to take on Brother Rice Saturday at 6 p.m. in Class 7A action.

In Class 8A, Edwardsville avenged a loss earlier this season to O’Fallon as the Tigers escaped with a 43-36 win over the Panthers. The No. 22 seeded Tigers will now move on to host Loyola Academy Saturday at 1 p.m.

Jim Powers
Jim Powers

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 Follow Jim at @hssportscaravan