FOOTBALL FRIDAY: District play begins with battle between league co-leaders

Friday, October 2, 2015

In a six-team district, such as the group known as Eight-Man Division I District 2, district play begins early. In fact, it begins tonight when Uniontown travels to St. Paul to take on the Indians in a game that has great implications.

The Eagles (3-0 TRL, 4-0 overall) and Indians (3-0, 3-1) are two of the three co-leaders in the Three Rivers League's eight-man division along with fellow district opponent Marmaton Valley (also 3-0, 3-1). The Wildcats play host to defending district champion Marais des Cygnes Valley (2-2) tonight and go to Uniontown next week.

St. Paul and Marmaton Valley don't meet until the final week of the regular season.

The Eagles have not won a league football title since 2011, when they won the 11-man division. The program will return to 11-man status next season. If Uniontown captures the league and district titles, it will leave both without their defending champions next season.

The Eagles have outscored their opponents 204-14 this season with Madison/Hamilton being the only team to score on them. That game was also the only one Uniontown's played this season that's gone all four quarters.

St. Paul lost its season opener to Howard-West Elk, home of Division I prospect Isaiahh Loudermilk, 70-48. Since then, the Indians have outscored their opponents -- Chetopa, Altoona-Midway and Crest -- 140-36.

Last week at Crest, Alex VanLeeuwen rushed 18 times for 176 yards and Chandler Struthers carried 12 times for 106 yards for St. Paul.

Uniontown has at least one big-time ground gainer in John Reed, who has rushed for 243 yards and scored 6 touchdowns in his last two games. Tommy Joles, Josh Wisely and quarterback Gavin Miller can also run the ball well for the Eagles.

The top two teams in district play qualify for the playoffs, so the loser of this game can still advance but will have a tougher road ahead. The loser will also be very interested in how tonight's winner performs against Marmaton Valley. If the Wildcats beat tonight's winner, this will make both the district and the league races quite interesting indeed.

Tonight's game kicks off at 7 p.m.