North County battles Festus for football district title on J98

(Festus) A pair of conference rivals collide for some serious hardware when the North County Raiders meet the Festus Tigers in the Class 4 District 1 football championship game Friday on J98.

Third-seeded North County is 6-3 after a wild 36-28 win at Hillsboro in the semifinals and is playing for a district title for the first time since 2005.

The Raiders had some fresh faces step up like sophomore Jobe Smith, who rushed for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns in the win.

Head coach Brian Jones says his team keeps going no matter what’s thrown at them.

Veterans stars like senior receiver/cornerback Karter Kekec and junior quarterback Nolan Reed have been leading the way as North County has won four of its last 5 games.

The combination of Kekec and Reed was electric early as the Raiders jumped out to a 28-14 lead on October 2nd.

But that game ended in the only loss the Raiders have suffered since September.

That game came against Festus, and Jones says everyone is going to have to step up their game this time around.

The Festus Tigers won the MAFC Red Division title by virtue of that 39-35 victory their first meeting with North County.

Junior quarterback Cole Rickermann is leading a potent offense that averages more than 38 points per game.

But senior defensive lineman Desmond Davis was the star of the semifinals, piling up 6 tackles for loss and 2 sacks in a 35-7 win over DeSoto.

Tigers head coach A.J. Ofodile says Davis has thrived in big games.

Festus has not won a district championship since 2011.

Ofodile says they’re going to have to earn it against a Raider team they thought would be returning to Tiger Stadium.

The winner faces either John Burroughs or Union in the Class 4 state quarterfinals.

Festus looks to win its fourth straight against North County when the Tigers and Raiders collide in the District 1 championship game Friday evening.

Coverage begins at 6 with the Flieg’s Equipment Pregame Show on 98.5 FM J98.