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Football 2020: Suburban Yellow Conference Power Rankings

Updated: Jun 27


1. Kirkwood Pioneers


Key Returners (Offense):

Kannon Nesslage (QB)

Gerald Jackson (RB)

Jackson Fortner (WR)

Will Lee (WR)

Cole Johnson (WR)

Jaylen Phipps (WR)


Key Returners (Defense):

Will Lee (LB)

Jason Petty (LB)

Tucker Bass (DE)

Asher Weinberg (DT)

Jackson Fortner (CB)

Mekhl Maclin (DB)


Key Losses: Jay Maclin (WR/DB), Cameron Macon (LB/WR), Quin Costello (OL), Alex DeJong (OL), Matt Hartman (OL), Matt Connelly (OL), Don Brown (OL), Kane Adelman (DE), Myson Pace (CB).


The Skinny: With Nesslage (3,274 passing yards and 38 touchdowns) returning to the fold after a dazzling season at quarterback with four starting wide receivers back as well, Kirkwood has every reason to be excited for a big year. Fortner, Lee, and add in promising, 6-foot-5 junior Cam Paul into the mix plus senior running backs, Gerald Johnson and Nate Jones will help boost the offense even further. The bad news is the Pioneers must fill in gaps from a completely vacated offensive line to give Nesslage enough time to throw and occasionally run block. Defensively, Kirkwood didn’t have the best unit as they allowed 24 points per game and return roughly half of their starters, but do have Lee, who is one of the best linebackers in the state along with a talented secondary. The Pioneers will have an experienced group and look to not only capture their first conference and district championships since 2016, but also a state title.

2. Marquette Mustangs


Key Returners (Offense):

Christopher Kreh (RB)

Cade Woodfin (TE)

Connor Thorneberry (OT)

Josh Howard (OT)

Zach Gawart (OG)


Key Returners (Defense):

Sam Feldman (LB)

Zach Bowman (LB)

Mark Anthony-Jones (DT)


Key Losses: Matthew Kadlec (LB), Ben Hollenbeck (DE), Ben Cohen (WR), George Williams (QB), Isaiah Brisseaux (DT), Josh Merz (TE), Julian Bledsoe (DB), Mac Cook (DB).


The Skinny: Pounding the football is the Mustangs m.o. and expect to see a lot out Chris Kreh again, who is the reigning leading rusher in the St. Louis area with over 2,238 yards and 27 touchdowns. Three linemen plus tight end Cade Woodfin returns to block for Kreh and company while it won’t be a surprise to see some other capable big boys step up in the trenches given Marquette’s large enrollment. Defense will be a question mark after losing most of their starters and leading tacklers however, the Mustangs have a positive RECENT record of producing capable defenses in the last five years. Expect a season like last year where Marquette is in every game and wins most of them. SHOULD BE ANOTHER EXCITING SEASON FOR THE BOYS IN CHESTERFIELD.

3. Eureka Wildcats


Key Returners (Offense):

Carter Davis (QB)

JaQuari Parks (RB)

Tommie Davis (WR)

Cam Martin (C)

Alex Duerfahrd (OG)


Key Returners (Defense):

Daley Thompson (DT)

Trace Ruckman (LB)

Tommie Davis (DB)


Key Losses: Zach Valentine (WR), Jake McCollum (LB), Justin Baker (OT), Justin Watson (OT), Nick Plattner (OG), Jhalon Asher-Sanders (WR), Teddy Bielecki (RB), Dax DuBrock (WR/DB), Marvin Brown (WR/DB).


The Skinny: The Wildcats will have plenty of new faces after losing multiple experienced seniors. Offensively they may not be blessed with depth, but do have one of the best returning quarterbacks in the area with three-year starter, Carter Davis. JaQuari Parks split time with Bielecki at running back last year and could see a huge season out of him, which would change the whole dynamic of the offense and this team. Tommie Davis will probably be Carter’s (no relation) main target at wide receiver. Eureka boasted one of the best defenses in the area last year, but have some rebuilding to do after losing eight starters, yet the Wildcats always seem to reload, especially in that department. On paper, Eureka won’t be as skillful, but that can easily be taken with a grain of salt since they’ve proven you can never count them out.

4. Hazelwood Central Hawks


Key Returners (Offense):

Jamarion Price (RB)

Armani Turner (WR)

Jalen Watson (TE)

Kyle Long (OT)

Brandon Johnson (OG)

Joseph Thedford (C)


Key Returners (Defense):

Brandon Johnson (DT)

Antoine Hines (DE)

Elijah Austin (LB)

Damarion Hood (LB)

Janci Finkley (LB)

Jarrell Cole (DB)


Key Losses: Kayden Jackson (QB), Charles Johnson (WR), Kristian Cross (CB), Marvin Gant (DE), Carl Sharp (WR), Curtis Gillespie (DT), Kameron Jones (RB), Daniel Creighton (DB).


The Skinny: Times have been different for the Hawks program after a predominantly successful 2010s decade, but they aren’t where they used to be. Having said that, they were so close to being 7-2 once again and still got hot at the end of last year. They need to find a new quarterback, but Central has some big boys like Kyle Long and Brandon to lead the way in the trenches. As always, the Hawks have athletes in Armani Turner and Jarrell Cole. Defensively, Central looks to be in good hands returning most of their linebackers plus Johnson and Antonie Hines up front. The Hawks are a big reason why this conference is going to be one of the toughest in Missouri because they’re easy to doubt, but can make life difficult for everybody else here. Their physicality will be a problem for opponents, especially with the 6-6 Long who is a rising prospect.

5. Pattonville Pirates


Key Returners (Offense):

Logan Williams (QB)

Keshawn Ford (RB)

Alijah Carter (WR)

Delvin Whittaker (WR)

Armaun Jackson (WR)

Wesley Spitzmiller (OT)

Ian McBride (OT)

Logan Lindsay (C)

Kevin Lyles (OG)


Key Returners (Defense):

Jack Gietl (DE)

Nolan Cobbs Jr (LB)

Delvin Whittaker (DB)

Armaun Jackson (CB)

Christian Hoosman (CB)


Key Losses: Terrell Sanderson (LB), Jatarius Battle (LB), Jacobi Smith (LB), Savon Smith (LB), Xavier Tippler (DT).


The Skinny: The Pirates ended the decade with one of their worst seasons at 2-8 largely due to inexperience and injuries. They’ll start the 20s with a lot of familiar faces returning especially on offense. Logan Williams is an underrated quarterback and has Keyshawn Ford, arguably the best running backs in the 2023 class behind him. They also have three returning wide receivers, including senior Alijah Carter plus four returning linemen to help pave way for Ford. Defense could be a struggle at first with five returning starters in a unit that gave up an average of 28 points per game. Nolan Cobbs Jr will be a force at linebacker and we should see some sophomores step up for Pattonville. Confident the Pirates will be improved overall, but this conference will be no picnic at all, yet they have the capabilities to beat anybody here if they play to their potential.



Overview: I didn’t realize how loaded this conference was until while I was researching Hazelwood Central. Everybody is at least above average and teams like Eureka, Kirkwood, and Marquette all have their weaknesses. Despite all of their elite athleticism, every team will give Kirkwood a run for their money in the trenches, especially Marquette with their power run game handing the ball off to Chris Kreh. Parks from Eureka and Ford from Pattonville will cause problems for every team they face as well. Yet, for all I know, the Pioneers new linemen may have busted their butts this offseason thanks to COVID-19 for forcing them indoors with nothing better to do and gained 20 or 30 pounds of muscle. Also, Kannon Nesslage only needs two seconds to usually get a pass off with all the short routes their quick receivers ran based on last year's film. That’s why Kirkwood gets the edge at No. 1. Marquette returns plenty on offense and I expect another quality season by Kreh, but their defense is up in the air. However, their coaching staff is quality and will have a plan in place to reload and get the best out of their new group. Eureka is a team that could finish first or last, so I went with third. They’re a very disciplined team all-around and most definitely on defense. I don’t have a doubt they’ll be fine there, but last year they struggled offensively even when they had Asher-Sanders, Valentine, and their huge offensive line to protect Carter Davis. However, if Parks has a good season at running back then that’ll open up the passing game for Davis, who will find ways to destroy opposing secondaries. Hazelwood Central and Pattonville are close to each other overall. I think Central has a better line by a bit, but the Pirates have better athletes. I’m particularly excited about Pattonville’s offense since they can attack in a variety of ways, but the Hawks return an underrated defense that allowed 20 points per game and will probably improve… I won’t be surprised if whoever finishes in last place will get at least one victory and is competitive in every game.

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