In this two-week series, Rivals.com is taking a look at the high school football talent in rival regions - breaking down the best prospects, best teams and giving our vote for which area is superior.
TODAY'S MATCHUP: Kansas City vs. St. Louis
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The Case for Kansas City
The Kansas City area is home to prospects throughout both the Missouri and Kansas state rankings.
In fact, five of the top 10 players in Missouri and four of the top 10 in Kansas hail from the area.
A pair of Rivals250 prospects - Missouri offensive guard commit Evan Boehm and Michigan defensive tackle commit Ondre Pipkins - headline the talent from the city. Both prospects actually square off against each other on Oct. 7. Boehm also has a Lee's Summit West teammate in the Missouri state rankings in Iowa State quarterback commit Luke Knott.
Prospects Nos. 5 and 6 in the Missouri state rankings are also from Kansas City in Nebraska linebacker commit Michael Rose and Missouri running back commit Morgan Steward, while defensive end Nathanael Lohn checks in at No. 10. Also ranked in the state from the area is Kansas State defensive tackle commit Travis Britz.
The Kansas Top 10 also contains quite a few prospects from just across the border. In fact, the Nos. 3-5 prospects from the state - Kansas offensive tackle commit Brian Beckmann, Illinois wide receiver commit Elliot Faerber and Kansas State wide receiver commit Vernon Vaughn - are all from the KC area. Wide receiver DeSean Warren is also in the state Top 10.
The case for St. Louis
Just like its counterpart to the west, the St. Louis area also is home to top prospects from two different states.
The city is home to the highest-ranked prospect from either area - Rivals100 wide receiver Durron Neal. The Oklahoma commit and U.S. Army All-American is ranked as the No. 2 player in the state of Missouri and the No. 32 prospect in the country. Neal also has a teammate in the state rankings in athlete KeVonn Mabon.
Nos. 7-9 in the Missouri state rankings also hail from within the city limits of St. Louis and all are committed to the in-state Missouri Tigers. Linebackers Donavin Newsom and Michael Scherer as well as defensive tackle Edmund Ray make up a formidable trio. Four other state top 20 prospects in wide receiver Jehu Chesson, wide receiver Brandon Sheperd, quarterback Trevor McDonagh and Northwestern wide receiver commit Mike McHugh are also from the St. Louis area.
The state of Illinois rankings also have a St. Louis flair to them as several prospects hail from the other side of the Mississippi River. Defensive tackle Vincent Valentine is the No. 13 prospect in the state and the No. 29 player at his position nationally. Also in the state rankings are Indiana linebacker commit Mike Cotton as well as quarterback Lamontiez Ivy.
Both cities have double-digit prospects in their respective state rankings. St. Louis has the top player from either area by far in Neal but the edge in overall talent goes to Kansas City. It has more four-star prospects - two to one - than its counterpart and has higher-ranked players overall. The group of Boehm, Pipkins, Rose and Steward is superior to any four prospects from St. Louis. The prospects from the state of Kansas in the area are also much higher in the state rankings than those from Illinois in St. Louis. The two cities are actually very close in terms of talent this year but Kansas City has the slight edge.
To be fair in evaluating this rivalry battle, the boundaries have to be expanded as the St. Louis city sector is low on high school football but it has plenty of solid teams in the outskirts compared to Kansas City, which has a solid amount of teams inside its city limits. That said, both areas are really down this season as Missouri football is having a sub-par season and the battle at the top as well as quality depth is a muddied mess. The best team in either metro area is East St. Louis (Ill.) High but it may be bending the rules a little too far to get an Illinois team into the discussion. Kansas City Rockhurst carries the banner and, even in a down year, the private school has high hopes for the year. Entering the 2011 season, it may not be which city is better more than it is which isn't as bad.
- Dallas Jackson
AUG. 23: North Alabama vs. South Alabama | Arizona/New Mexico vs. Colorado/Utah
AUG. 24: Atlanta vs. New Orleans
AUG. 25: Indianapolis vs. Cincinnati | Chicago vs. Detroit
AUG. 26: Southern California vs. Northern California