Friday Night Lights: Kirkwood (4-0) at Parkway Central (5-0)
Friday, Sept. 30, 7 p.m. at PCH Stadium
Two teams considered to be among the best in the state will meet in what might be the top prep football matchup in the state this weekend when Kirkwood travels to Parkway Central.
Kirkwood maintained its hold on the No. 4 slot in the statewide Class 5 rankings after while Parkway Central remained at No. 5 in the poll after it as well.
Both teams play solid defense. Central is led by defensive line standouts Jonathan Bonner (five QB sacks) and Spencer Horwitz (four QB sacks), and has allowed just 8.8 points a game.
Kirkwood, meanwhile, has been even better, allowing just 14 points all season and an area-best 3.5 points a game.
The Pioneers “D” is led by senior linebacker Clayton Burnett (seven tackles-for-loss and four sacks) and play-making junior safety J.J. Jones (16 tackles, two interceptions, one defensive touchdown).
But the star players on both teams are its top wide receivers. Parkway Central showcases Brandon Sheperd while Mike McHugh is Kirkwood’s star wideout.
Both players are headed to Division I colleges next season. McHugh has already given a verbal commitment to Northwestern. Sheperd, who many scouts consider the second-best receiver recruit in the state behind No. 1 national recruit Dorian Green-Beckham (Springfield Hillcrest), recently narrowed his possible choices to the University of Missouri or Oklahoma St. University.
This season, both Sheperd and McHugh have been like human highlight reels for their respective teams.
Sheperd ranks among the area leaders with 671 all-purpose yards and 14 total touchdowns, while McHugh is the area leader with an incredible 34.9 yards per catch average and nine touchdowns.
Both players also play both ways for their teams, so fans can legitimately expect to see them defending each other on nearly every play, regardless of which team has the ball.
College scouts and recruiters from all over the country are expected to be in attendance on Friday night. Please stay tuned to Patch.com late Friday night and early Saturday morning for full coverage of the tremendous football showdown between No. 4 Kirkwood and No. 5 Parkway Central.