By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer
Home-field advantage for the start of district play is at stake this week and next for four Big 8 Conference teams.
While unbeaten Cassville is atop the Class 3, District 4 rankings released by the Missouri State High School Activities Association, the next three teams that will play at home for their district openers have yet to be determined.
Reeds Spring (5-2), which plays in the Central Ozark Conference Small Division, is ranked No. 2 and leads Seneca by just 21 one-hundredths of a point. Reeds Spring plays Springfield Central (3-4) on Friday, while No. 3 Seneca will be at No. 5 Monett in a matchup of Big 8 rivals who are both 4-3.
“No question it’s important. The home field advantage is tremendously important in the Big 8 Conference,” said Seneca head coach Dan Scheible. “Not only the psychological advantage of continuing to win, but Friday night’s football game is a very, very important game.
“Reeds Spring is also a factor. They’re a little bit of an unknown because they’re not a Big 8 Conference team and they play a different schedule.”
Mount Vernon (5-2), ranked No. 4 this week, will play at Carl Junction (2-5), and Aurora (3-4), ranked No. 6, travels to Cassville.
Monett wraps up its regular season next week at Carl Junction, while Seneca will play at home against East Newton.
The teams are ranked using a formula that has four components — won-lost record, games against larger-class schools, strength of schedule, and point differential in each game up to plus or minus 13 points.
“I’m sure after the season is over there will be people who want to make corrections,” Scheible said. “The No. 1 thing we want to do is win Friday night because we feel like we control our own destiny. We want to win out and finish 6-3.”
The playoff seeding format includes an appeals process under which two consecutive seeds who have played head to head may appeal the original seeding. The appeal is decided by a vote of the other schools in the district.
Unbeaten Webb City in Class 4 continues to lead District 4. Webb City faces Class 5 district leader Ozark (7-0) on Friday at Webb City, while No. 3 Carthage (5-2) plays at Class 5 Nixa (5-2).
Unbeaten Miller leads Class 1, District 2. No. 2 McAuley Catholic (4-3) plays Friday at No. 3 Pierce City (3-4). In Class 2, Lamar (5-2) maintained its lead over unbeaten Sarcoxie by defeating Monett 42-6.
In Class 6, Joplin slipped to No. 6 in District 4 after a 28-24 loss to Lebanon. While the Eagles play Friday at Camdenton, district leader Blue Springs (6-1) will play No. 3 Raymore-Peculiar (5-2) and No. 2 Rockhurst (5-2) plays at home against nondistrict opponent Jefferson City (6-1) in key matchups.