The Houston football team is part of the toughest district in Class 2. And tonight the Tigers face one of the state’s best teams.
HHS (1-9) hits the road Thursday to play third-ranked Strafford in the opening round of the Class 2 District 3 tournament. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
The district features three of the top four teams in Class 2. Top-ranked Mountain View-Liberty will host Pleasant Hope and fourth-ranked Mountain Grove is hosting Cuba. The other matchup is Fair Grove traveling to Willow Springs.
The Tigers and Strafford (9-0) are squaring off for the first time since the 2005 state semifinals. Houston won that game 33-20.
The Indians are led by senior quarterback Jacob Wade, who has completed 132 of his 212 passes for 2,170 yards with 25 touchdowns and two interceptions. He is also rushed for 686 yards and eight scores.
Strafford, which plays in the Mid Lakes Conference, and Houston have just one common opponent. The Indians beat Cabool 52-12 in the second week of the season. Houston beat Cabool 40-36 for its lone victory.
The Tigers, who finished one-hundredth of a point ahead of Pleasant Hope in the district standings to avoid playing Liberty, are without quarterback Devin Coulter and wing back Nathaniel Alkire. Coulter hasn’t played since injuring his achilles against Ava and Alkire will miss his second straight game with a shoulder injury.
Senior Trevor Merckling leads the Tigers with 117 carries for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns. Dalton Hale, who replaced Alkire in the backfield, has rushed for 174 yards on 38 carries.
seed team record points
1. Liberty 9-0 51.82
2. Strafford 9-0 48.97
3. Mountain Grove 8-1 48.02
4. Willow Springs 5-4 36.62
5. Fair Grove 2-7 22.83
6. Cuba 2-7 22.74
7. Houston 1-8 18.46
8. Pleasant Hope 1-8 18.45
Pleasant Hope at Liberty
Houston at Strafford
Cuba at Mountain Grove
Fair Grove at Willow Springs