2008 prep grid districts, schedules announced

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Marshall football team will have familiar foes with which to contend in Class 4, District 8 the next two years.

The Owls were put into a loop with NCMC rivals Hannibal and Kirksville, along with holdover district member Helias, in the biennial redistricting released Friday by the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA). If it makes the playoff, Marshall would be in the eastern side of the bracket -- considered the weaker of the two, teams from the west having won eight of the last nine Class 4 championships.

The upcoming season will also mark the debut of MSHSAA's new post-season format, in which two teams from each district will advance to the playoffs -- half of the clubs in each class. Texas uses a similar format, although its sanctioning body -- the University Interscholastic League -- assigns between six and eight schools to a district.

Marshall has split the last two district titles with the Crusaders, an NCMC member until 2004, winning 28-6 at Jefferson City in 2006 before dropping a 47-7 sectional tilt at Lee's Summit West and losing last season's finale at home, 37-4.

After a quarter-century of frustration against Hannibal, the Owls have been more successful recently -- winning the last two meetings. Marshall and Kirksville have split their last six games.

The Owls will play Chillicothe, Grain Valley and Smith-Cotton as non-conference opponents to start the season, then begin NCMC action with new member Boonville.

There was no change for Slater in Class 1, District 9, as Lewis and Clark Conference rivals Fayette, Salisbury and Westran remain in the group. The Wildcats, though, shortened the distances in their non-conference schedule -- with Knox County the longest trip. Northwest of Hughesville, Wentworth Military Academy, Concordia and Braymer are also on tap.

Santa Fe keeps Wellington-Napoleon in Class 1, District 10, losing state champion Orrick and picking up I-70 Conference rivals Concordia and St. Paul. Sweet Springs also will continue to grapple with Tipton, a playoff qualifier six of the last seven years, in Class 1, District 8 -- while also facing nearby Northwest and Sacred Heart of Sedalia, a first-year program.

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