Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Pioneer Football: (roughly) mid-season report and future predictions

Tess Hubbard
Head Coach Jeremy Maclin looks back at the camera during a matchup against De Smet on Aug. 25

Kirkwood has started the 2023 season 4-1 on the back of a high-performing defense, but there are questions remaining for the offense. Here’s TKC’s take on the good, the bad and the ugly from the first five games and our predictions for the final three regular season matchups, playoffs and Turkey Day.


The Good: De-fense. De-fense. De-fense. The Pioneers have only allowed 16.4 points a game (7.6/per game against teams not named De Smet). The whole unit has been performing great but Agent Zero, Linebacker Carson Lindquist, has had a great season so far, recording 42 tackles (13 for loss), 10 assists and 4 sacks, so far this season. Yeah, he’s only a junior. Oh and he won the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Defensive Player.

The Bad: Kirkwood hasn’t seemed to choose a QB #1, which you could argue isn’t a bad thing, but it has us wondering what the idea is. Owen Nesslage, junior, and Creighton Wise, senior, seemed to be splitting time until the matchup against Hazelwood Central, when Nesslage took over due to Wise’s turf toe. Beyond that, Kirkwood probably has a few too many easy matchups in their schedule. The Pioneers are playing at least three “cupcake” games, make that four if you count Lindbergh.

The Ugly: Honestly, nothing right now. My saying that might come back to bite us, though. If I had to mention anything, I would still say that Kirkwood is struggling to score, having only posted more than 21 points once. 

Past Matchups 

Vs. De Smet

It’s weird to say, but this loss just keeps looking better and better. De Smet has gone 6-0 this season and absolutely destroyed CBC 49-14. Yeah, the state champs. 49-14. On top of that, they took on and beat Illinois’ Glenbard West, who was ranked #15 nationally. I’m not feeling too bad about our 44-21 result anymore, especially since Kirkwood led at times and held De Smet to 11-7 in the first half.


Disappointing. Sorry to anyone who drove out to Pattonville to watch one touchdown and a field goal. The defense was phenomenal (this is going to become a trend), so that’s good. Lindquist had a career game, putting up the following stat line: 17 tackles, 4 assists, 4 TFL (-45yds.) and 3 sacks.

Vs. Eureka

Revenge victory. Nothing quite like it. Eureka has turned into a second rivalry for Kirkwood, with Webster not posing much of a threat these days. This game was the sixth year Kirkwood and Eureka have kicked off against each other, so the desire to win, especially because of such a hard loss to De Smet, was high. Kirkwood did just that. It wasn’t exactly an offensive battle (14-10,) but the job got done, and the Pioneers earned a second victory of the season.

@Hazelwood Central 

Honestly, Kirkwood should have performed better in this game, as Hazelwood Central is really a team you want to crush. As mentioned before, Nesslage played every snap of the game, and he did okay in his first start: 1 TD, 1 INT, 133 YDS.

@ Marquette

What a game. We’ll always take a 38-21 away victory, but the fact that it was the second revenge victory of the season made it even better. Wise was once again sidelined due to turf toe, but Nesslage did well. Zyan Royal, the senior transfer from Parkway North, put up a great game: 3 TDs, 221 YDs, 15 Att/Rec. 

The game was complete with a mini-field storm (can you call 50 people slowly walking through a gap in a fence a field-storming?)

Future Matchups


Vs. Lindbergh

Kirkwood should take this game, and it shouldn’t be close. The Pioneers played Lindbergh twice last year, once in the playoffs. The aggregate score of those two matchups? 101-17. Teams do change a lot season to season though, especially in high school. Lindbergh has taken three of six so far this season. Keep your eye out on the QB situation. Wise should be back and playing for senior night, but there will definitely be a layer of added competition after Nesslage’s great performance.


This matchup would be a really shocking loss for Kirkwood, but anything can happen. That said, McCluer has started their season 0-6, so don’t celebrate yet, but we can probably breathe easy. 

@Hazelwood West

Should definitely be a win. Hazelwood West has been crushed by three teams Kirkwood’s already beat. They lost 45-0 to Pattonville, 63-0 to Eureka and 41-0 to Hazelwood Central. The Kirkwood defense should absolutely hold this team to a shutout, something Hazelwood West’s already suffered three times this season. That said, Hazelwood West has won three games this year, admittedly one was against a Class 2 team, though (sorta like Georgia beating Western Idaho Culinary Institute).

Vs. Webster (🦃)

A win. As always. Keep your eyes out for TKC’s Turkey Day Issue this November and see Ten reasons Kirkwood will beat Webster.


Final Record and Playoff Predictions:

Kirkwood receives the #2 seed in the district and earns the first-round bye along with Lafayette High, after going 7-1 in the regular season. They then face CBC in the district semi-final and win in a close, defensive game, and Kirkwood storms the field (for real this time). Kirkwood advances to the district final vs. Marquette, who Kirkwood will defeat for the second time this season. Unfortunately, Kirkwood is a first-round exit in the state tournament. The Pioneers then steam-roll the Statesmen on Turkey Day to lift our spirits and put us in the mood to give thanks for another year of being a Kirkwood Pioneer. 


Final Thoughts 

Going into this season, there were a lot of doubts. Deion Brown and Tyler Macon had graduated and the team hadn’t seemed to settle on a QB #1 (they still haven’t). The opening week 44-21 loss at home to De Smet wasn’t encouraging either, so with no neon Deion and no QB #1, the outlook was pessimistic. Wins over Eureka and Marquette have helped to change that, and Kirkwood is finally #5 in St. Louis in GSV’s highly-anticipated weekly power rankings.

In any game, anything can happen. That’s why we play them. Some kid could bomb their math midterm and put up the worst game of their life. And that’s the beauty of high school football.

But with CBC trending down and Kirkwood looking at a really easy last three games of the year (and already on pace for a first-round bye in the district tournament) Kirkwood fans are hopeful. They could almost be forgiven for crossing their fingers for a trip back to the state tournament for the first time since Kirkwood last called themselves State Champions. But who knows, it’s high school football. And we’ll always beat Webster anyway.


Roll ‘Neers.

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Owen Spiegel
Owen Spiegel, sports writer
He/Him Hobbies and Interests: I enjoy reading, watching the UCL after school, listening to music at 2 am, consuming TikTok slideshows, and watching video essays. Favorite movie: Little Women (2019) Favorite Quote: "I don't believe in superstitions. I just do certain things because I'm scared in case something will happen if I don't do them." -Michael Owen
Tess Hubbard
Tess Hubbard, managing editor
She/Her Hobbies and Interests: field hockey, best buddies, mock trial, art, photography Favorite movie: Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle Favorite Quote: "“How do we change the world?… One random act of kindness at a time.” -Morgan Freeman
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