The Francis Howell football team will be remembered for its historic run to the Missouri Class 6 championship game, but the Vikings’ run ended harshly on Saturday night.
By Nate Latsch, StLToday.com
Blue Springs was just bigger, stronger and faster. The Wildcats scored on their first five possessions and rolled to a 42-3 victory at the Edward Jones Dome to capture their third state championship in 12 seasons and fourth in school history.
“It’s a definite step forward,” Howell coach Bryan Koch said of the Vikings’ playoff run. “We’re not where we want to be yet. That’s a great football team we just played. They were physical, fast and played whistle to whistle on every snap. Honestly, hats off to them. They beat us pretty good tonight.”
Francis Howell (12-2), which was ranked fifth in Class 6, was playing in its first state title game after advancing to the semifinals for the first time in school history a year ago.
The Vikings are the first St. Charles County squad to advance to a state championship game since St. Charles High won the Class 4A title in 1982 and Duchesne finished as the runner-up in Class 3A. St. Charles, which defeated O’Hara 10-3 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, remains the only St. Charles County school to win a state title.
“I think, for the first half, we were kind of outside our element with the extravaganza of the game and the moment and making school history,” Koch said. “There were so many distractions that I don’t think we were able to overcome them. We’re a young team. By all means, not making any excuses whatsoever, we just weren’t able to overcome the adversity like we had been able to all year.
“Against a great football team like that, you have to be able to play your best game on the biggest stage and we didn’t do that.”
Senior running back Donte Harrell racked up 140 yards rushing on 21 carries, but Howell gained just 250 yards of total offense and struggled to keep drives going by converting on third and fourth down.
Blue Springs (13-1), which was ranked second in Class 6, previously won state titles in 1992, 2001 and 2003.