The high school football season got underway in the state of Missouri with eight games on Thursday night. Most the action will take place on Friday night, but 18 games involving teams from the St. Louis and Kansas City area will be played on Saturday afternoon.

Perhaps the top game in the state this week will feature two Class 6 powerhouses. Rockhurst, which is ranked number one in the Power Poll, will face Blue Springs. Rockhurst enters the season in search of their eighth state championship. Last year they fell to Columbia Hickman in the semifinals. Hickman, which is unranked in the pre-season poll will travel to Lee’s Summit North to open the season.

In Class 5, the number one team is Raymore-Peculiar, which won the Class 5 title in convincing fashion in 2004, going 14-0. They scored at least 35 points in each of their 14 wins. They got the 2005 season off in similar fashion, crushing Kearney 49-28. Seven members of that 2004 offense are back, but only two starters from the defense return.

Camdenton High School has the top spot in Class 4 according to the Power Poll. The Lakers return senior tailback Dennis Chairs, who is just 825 yards away from setting the school record for rushing. The Lakers, which lost to Webb City in the quarterfinals, will open the season against Ozark Conference foe, West Plains. Clayton, which won the title in 2004, checks in at number nine in the pre-season poll. Gone is quarterback Jairus Byrd, who is now an Oregon Duck. Sam Horrell takes over as head coach. He’s the third head coach at Clayton in three years.

Mary Institute-Country Day went 14-0 in 2004 and won the Class 3 title. That was the good news. The bad news for the Rams is that legendary coach Ron Holtman decided to call it a career after 39 years and seven state titles. Assistant Matt Irvin will take over for Holtman. Despite the change MICDS is ranked number one in the Power Poll. They will start the season at Gateway Tech. The team they beat to win the Class 3 title opened up with a loss on Thursday. Harrisonville, which is ranked number two in this year, fell 21-14 to Belton.

The defending state champ in Class 2 is ranked number one in 2005. Blair Oaks, which has been a contended since Ted LePage took over, was 14-0 en route to last year’s title, the first in school history. Six starters return on offense and seven come back on defense. The Falcons will open up at Palmyra, which is ranked fifth in the Class 2 Power Poll.

St. Vincent like Blair Oaks, MICDS and Ray-Pec, won the 2004 title and is again number one in their respective class. They’ll open up the defense of their Class 1 championship by facing Priory.