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story.lead_photo.caption Blair Oaks defensive lineman Rylee Niekamp wraps up Lutheran North quarterback Jordan Smith during last year's Class 2 semifinal game at the Falcon Athletic Complex in Wardsville. Photo by Jason Strickland / News Tribune.

The Blair Oaks football team finished the 2018 season with a Class 2 state championship and a national ranking.

The Falcons are going to begin the 2019 season with a national ranking as well.

Blair Oaks received the No. 13 ranking Wednesday in the MaxPreps Small Schools Preseason National Football Rankings, which ranked the top 50 football teams in the country of schools "that generally have less than 1,000 students," according to its press release.

In last year's final postseason poll, Blair Oaks was ranked No. 3 by MaxPreps after posting a 15-0 record and defeating Lathrop 54-0 in the state championship game.

Blair Oaks is one of two Missouri teams listed in the preseason poll. Lutheran North — which lost 48-21 to Blair Oaks last season in the state semifinals — is five spots behind the Falcons at No. 18.

The Falcons had nine players named last season to the Missouri Football Coaches Association Class 2 all-state team, including the offensive player of the year — Nolan Hair — and the defensive player of the year — Braydan Pritchett.

Four of those all-state players will be returning letterwinners this fall: senior linebacker Sam Luebbering, senior offensive lineman Andrew Luebbering, junior defensive lineman Rylee Niekamp and junior defensive back Carson Prenger.

Blair Oaks begins the 2019 season Aug. 30 against Maryville at William Jewell College in Liberty.

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