Tolton senior Xavier Pinhero snaps (copy)

Tolton senior Xavier Pinhero prepares to snap the ball against Hogan Prep on Oct. 8 in Columbia. The Trailblazers play Fayette on Friday.

Tolton heads to Fayette on Friday to face the Falcons in a game that will have a major impact on the Class 1 District 5 tournament seeding.

The Falcons (7-1) and Trailblazers (5-2) are the top two seeds heading into their district clash. A win could potentially move Tolton to the No. 1 seed heading into the tournament, while a loss could drop them as far as to the No. 4 seed.

“It’s interesting that our last game of the year is probably the most difficult game we’re going to play all year,” Tolton coach Michael Egnew said. “The good news is that the kids are looking forward to it ... the rankings are really close.”

Strength of schedule has played a major role in the Trailblazers’ seeding this season. The Missouri State High School Activities Association determines seeding via a point system based on win-loss record, head-to-head record, strength of opponent and point differential.

The fact that Tolton has played four of its seven games against Class 2 opponents — and has gone 3-1 in those matchups — is a big reason why it’s a No. 2 seed despite having a worse record than No. 3 seed Harrisburg (7-1).

While the offense has been consistent (26.1 PPG), Tolton’s defense will be the key to it securing a victory and potentially a No. 1 seed.

“I mean, if you can stop the run, you’re going to usually win the game at this level,” Egnew said. “I think that’s huge. We’ve got to be able to stop the run. We’ve been working on it this week, and I think the pass will take care of itself.”

The Falcons have had a successful regular season in large part because of their potent offense, led by junior quarterback Ben Wells, senior running back Garren Vroman, and senior DJ Moore. Averaging 40 points per game, six of Fayette’s seven victories have been decided by double digits.

“This will be a true test of what we are as a team,” Egnew said.

Since 2015, Fayette and Tolton have been on opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of success. While the Trailblazers secured their first winning season in six years last Friday, Fayette has not had a losing season in the span and were the 2018-19 Class 1 District 5 champions. Tolton is yet to win a district championship since the program was established in 2011.

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