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KSHB 41 Sports | What you need to know about Missouri high school football 2023

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Posted at 2:45 PM, Aug 30, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Missouri high school football season is underway, with the first slate of games on Friday, Aug. 25.

The KSHB 41 Sports team previewed several key programs on the Missouri side of the state line to get you ready for this year's action.

RELATED | Kansas high school football preview

Liberty North High School
By Aaron Ladd, KSHB 41 Sports

Eager to capitalize on a championship core, the Liberty North High School football team says it's ready to take the next step in 2023.

“We’ve fallen a couple games short or game short the last two years,” said Keelan Smith, a senior wide receiver for Liberty North.

North has lost just two games in the last three seasons, but the tough losses have prevented the Eagles’ upperclassmen from claiming a state football title.

“We've got close like the past two years to get that ring on our finger,” Liberty North linebacker Melvin Laster said.


‘Something to prove’: Liberty North football motivated by postseason shortcomings

Oak Park High School
By Aaron Ladd, KSHB 41 Sports

Ready to wake up some naysayers around the Kansas City area high school football scene, the Oak Park High School Northmen believe they have what it takes to put together a special season.

“We're underrated,” Oak Park quarterback Aiden Hinkle said ahead of a steamy practice in Kansas City. “Last year, we weren't ranked as a team and we got ranked top 25 in the city multiple times. Now, we're ranked in the top 25 (again) this year, so we're underrated and we're ready."

Entering their seventh season under head coach Ken Clemens, Oak Park looks to straighten out a topsy, turvy home and road split which caused problems in 2022.


'We’re underrated': Oak Park High School football primed for breakout season in 2023

Lee's Summit North High School
By McKenzie Nelson, KSHB 41 Sports

The Lee's Summit North football team has one of the top prospects in the class of 2024, but the team is focused on being No. 1 in the state.

"He's what — 6 (feet) 5 9inches), 265 (pounds) — he does have 11-inch hands, his hands are almost as long as a ruler, he's got an 84-inch wing span, so he's pretty much built like LeBron James," said Jamar Mozee, Lee's Summit North head football coach.

Mozee is talking about Williams Nwaneri, Lee's Summit North's defensive end who just committed to the University of Missouri.

"He better dominate, right?" Mozee said. "Just be honest about that. We've got the best player, one of the best players in all of the land, so he needs to do exactly that."


Lee's Summit North has top prospect, focused on being No. 1 in state

Kearney High School
By Mick Shaffer, KSHB 41 Sports

"Finish" — that's the motto for Kearney this season.

"Everything you do, you've got to do start to finish with your full effort," senior linebacker Randall Freeland said.

If you forget, well, "FINISH" is written on the backs of Kearney's helmets this season.

"Or else you're not gonna finish the season like we did last year," Freeland finished.

Last year, the Bulldogs started out 10-0 before losing in the district championship game to Smithville.


Kearney Bulldogs ready to 'finish' the job in 2023

Rockhurst High School
By McKenzie Nelson, KSHB 41 Sports

With last football season in the rearview, this year's Rockhurst team believes it has what it takes to go the distance.

"You always have some of those teams that look good getting off of a bus — we've got a team that looks pretty good getting off of a bus, right? So we're kind of fired up about that," said Kelly Donohoe, Rockhurst High School head football coach.

When it comes to size, the Hawklets might just be a mile ahead of other area teams.

"We've got a bunch of big kids. They've been weight-room warriors for years now, and it's shown," Donohoe said.


Rockhurst opens season Friday at home against Raymore-Peculiar