By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer
The battle lines are drawn with home-field advantage still at stake for Southwest Missouri district football matchups in Classes 1 and 3 going into the final week of the regular season.
Seneca, 4-4, needs to move up at least one position in the district rankings in order to secure the home field for the district playoffs that begin next week.
The Indians slipped to No. 5 in Class 3 District 4 after a 34-26 loss last Friday at Monett. Cassville (8-0) leads the rankings, followed by Reeds Spring (6-2) and Monett (5-3), which vaulted from No. 5 to No. 3.
“That was as big of a win as we’ve had this year,” said Monett head coach Chad Depee. “Coming back from a 13-0 deficit, it was a big one because we have that much respect for Seneca.”
Seneca was trailing 14-13 early in the fourth quarter when Monett’s Kurran Blarney returned an interception 95 yards for a touchdown. Two fourth-quarter touchdown passes by Seneca quarterback Payton Rawlins were matched by two touchdown runs by Monett’s Aaron Hall.
Three games Friday will determine two of the teams that will play at home in Week 10. Seneca plays at home against East Newton (0-8), No. 4 Mount Vernon (5-3) plays at home against Cassville, and Monett plays at Carl Junction (3-5).
Mount Vernon was stopped at Carl Junction’s 5-yard line on the last play of a 21-17 loss last Friday at Carl Junction in the first start for Mount Vernon freshman quarterback Jacob LaSalle.
“Carl Junction has a good football team as well,” Depee said. “They play good defense and can do a lot of things on offense.
“They jumped out on us last year. We know what kind of athletes they have,” he said. “We’re going to have to bring our A game, that’s for sure.”
In Class 1 District 2, Pierce City’s game Friday at Lockwood has implications for home-field advantage in the district playoffs. Lockwood (4-4) is ranked No. 3, followed by No. 4 Pierce City (3-5) and No. 5 Marionville (2-6).
“It looks like the winner will be the No. 3 seed and the loser will be the No. 4 seed. Either way, we’ll probably host,” said Lockwood head coach Clay Lasater. “There’s a chance the loser will drop into the No. 5 spot depending on what Marionville does in their last game.”
The format for determining district seedings is based on each team’s won-lost record, games against larger-class teams, point differential in each game up to plus or minus 13 points and the opponents’ won-lost records.
Lamar maintained its lead in Class 2 District 4, while Sarcoxie remained No. 2 despite its first loss of the season 22-20 to El Dorado Springs.
In Class 4, Webb City (8-0) has secured a home game for the first round of the district playoffs and No. 3 Carthage (6-2) holds a two-game lead over Republic.
Joplin slipped to No. 6 in Class 6 District 4 after a 45-10 loss at Camdenton. Blue Springs (7-1) leads the district rankings, followed by Rockhurst (6-2), Raymore-Peculiar and Blue Springs South (both 5-3).