Believe it. The final regular season game of the 2016 high school football campaign has already arrived.
Teams will be looking to build momentum heading into district play, and on paper, it appears both local squads have the opportunity to do exactly that. Both Liberty and Liberty North will face Week 9 opponents who have won only one game the entire season.
Cooler weather has arrived in recent days, so it's going to feel more like football weather this week. But at least there's no rain in the forecast, and considering the way this season started, that's the first victory of the week!
Liberty North (2-6 overall record) has one last Thursday night game on the slate this season as Columbia Hickman (1-7) comes to town for the first-ever meeting between the schools. The Eagles have had trouble scoring points all season and have lost four games in a row, but they should be in position to snap the skid at 7 p.m. tonight at William Jewell College.
Hickman's defense has allowed a whopping 364 points in eight games this season, 45 per contest. For some perspective, Liberty North, despite all the struggles, has surrendered nearly 200 points less (168). Yeah, the Eagles should have their best offensive performance of the season tonight, and they might even turn on the running clock so we don't have to stand out in the cold all night.
PREDICTION: Liberty North 44, Columbia Hickman 6
Liberty appears to be back on track.
After losing two games in a row, the Blue Jays bounced back to crush Truman last week, 51-7. They'll try to keep it going at 7 p.m. Friday night at Lee's Summit North.
Thanks to the most recent win, Liberty (6-2) remains ranked No. 10 in the Class 5 state poll. Lee's Summit North (1-7) meanwhile has had a long season being beat up in the Suburban Gold Conference against the likes of Blue Springs, Blue Springs South, Lee's Summit, Lee's Summit West, Park Hill and Raymore-Peculiar - all teams that have been ranked in the state this fall.
If they Broncos haven't quit on the season, I'd expect them to play hard in their final home game, and that's exactly what Liberty needs. The Blue Jays need to be pushed and tested before receiving a first-round bye in the district tournament next week, although I do expect them to pass this test.
PREDICTION: Liberty 40, Lee's Summit North 20