Missouri high school football notebook: Liberty North, Christian Brothers square off for first state title of season

By Jon Walker

The Christian Brothers College High School football team was roughly 13 minutes away from having its quest for the program’s fourth Class 6 title put to a halt when the Cadets were staring in the face of a 14-point deficit against Lee’s Summit North in the semifinals. 

That’s when the Cadets rallied, scoring three unanswered touchdowns en route to a 28-21, comeback win over the Broncos to punch their ticket to the Class 6 title game for the first time since winning it all in 2018. 

“It finally started clicking,” CBC coach Scott Pingel told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after the win. “Our kids could have folded, but they stayed with the process. I love how we stayed with it. Down 14, we could have folded.”

Now, Christian Brothers (12-1) will turn its attention toward Liberty North, a matchup that will serve as the first ever meeting between the two programs, and it’ll happen with everything each team has worked for hanging in the balance Nov. 27 at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri.

The Eagles (11-1) will enter the matchup on the heels of a 35-21 win over Troy Buchanan in the semifinals, a triumph that was spearheaded by a stout defense and high-octane offensive attack courtesy of quarterback Sam Van Dyne and running back Cayden Arzola. 

Van Dyne was 16-for-21 for 264 yards passing and two touchdowns. Arzola had 27 carries for 105 yards rushing and two scores. The defense, limiting opponents to an average of 17.4 points per contest this fall, held Troy-Buchanan in check for a season-low 21 points. 

But neither of those wins will matter when the Class 6 title is on the line this weekend, and nothing else really does, either. 

It won’t matter that the Eagles are just in the program’s fourth year of Class 6 football. It won’t matter that they’ve never graced the stage presented in the form of a state title game. Nothing they’ve done so far this fall will matter against Christian Brothers. 

And it won’t matter for the Cadets that they’ve been on that very stage before. It won’t matter that they’ve re-inserted themselves atop Class 6 football despite not making it further than the second round the last few years. The program’s storied past won’t matter, either. 

What matters, for both programs, is walking away with the highly sought after spot at the pinnacle of high school football in the state of Missouri.

“Now we have to play our rear ends off and hopefully win one more,” Liberty North coach Greg Jones told the Liberty Courier-Tribune after the Eagles’ semifinal win.

Burthardt’s boot boosts Holt by Chaminade, into Class 5 semifinals

Holt’s offense had just driven down the field, taking advantage of a late-game opportunity to punch the program’s ticket to its second ever appearance in the semifinals. That drive stalled at the 12-yard line, though, and Indians coach Ethan Place was stuck between two options while knotted in a 28-28 tie with Chaminade. 

Place could send his offense back on the field, leaving it up to fate whether his offense found the end zone. His second option was to call upon junior kicker Brayden Burthardt, who hadn’t made a field goal all season. 

Place chose the latter.

Burthardt showed his coach that he made the right choice, nailing a 29-yard field goal with just a few seconds remaining in the game to give the Indians a 31-28 win over Chaminade. 

“You do try to block it all out when you’re in this position, but the coaches asked me for a field goal, and I had to try my best to deliver,” Burthardt told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I was on the sideline doing my best to get myself ready and in a good head space.”

Now, Holt (11-0) will play host to Fort Osage (11-1), a squad that will be looking for a spot in the Class 5 title game in the aftermath of a 35-0 triumph over Grain Valley. 

Except Holt won’t be hoping to replicate its performance from its only other semifinal appearance in 2003, when it was handed a season-ending loss courtesy of Ladue. Instead, the Indians are hoping to continue their journey en route to being one of the best teams the program has ever fielded, longing for a chance to play a game with the hardwood hanging in the balance.

“It’s nice to be at home. We’re just excited to get to practice and play another week,” Place told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “These guys are so fun to be around. It’s like a family atmosphere. Everybody’s excited. I know I am.”

Lamar, Richmond clash for spot in Class 2 title game

Richmond was tasked with taking on perennial powerhouse Maryville in the quarterfinals, and the Spartans were roughly a year removed from 46-14, season-ending loss to the Spoofhounds when they made the all-too-familiar trip. 

The Spartans flipped the script from the year prior, beating Maryville 49-23 to return home with a win and a ticket to the Class 2 semifinals. Richmond (11-1) has taken this fall and turned it into the best season the program has had since winning the Class 3 title in 2010, and the Spartans have done so behind a high-powered offensive attack led by senior quarterback Keyshaun Elliot. 

Richmond has been able to gash opposing defenses for an average of 48.3 points per contest while limiting opposing offenses to a meager 13.1 points per game. 

But the Spartans will face their biggest test of this season when they meet with Lamar (12-0) for the first ever matchup between the two programs. 

Lamar has taken home eight Class 2 titles since 2011, including a 6-3 win over St. Pius X (Kansas CIty) in the title game to put the punctuation on the 2020 season. 

The Tigers aren’t going to revel in their past successes, though. They’re not going to spend a lot of time reflecting on their 35-14 win over Ava in the quarterfinals, at least not for now. They’ll prepare to use their offense, which enters the contest averaging 44.7 points per game, and defense, allowing a mere 8.3 points per contest, to punch their ticket to yet another title game.

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