Skip to main content

Dillon Duff, De Smet defense dominate in win over rival CBC

Dillon Duff accounted for three touchdowns in victory

TOWN & COUNTRY, MISSOURI – Dillon Duff's first start for De Smet against Metro Catholic Conference rival Christian Brothers couldn't have gone much better.

A junior quarterback, Duff ran for two touchdowns and threw a touchdown pass as the visiting Spartans got off to a strong start and rolled to an impressive 49-14 victory against the two-time reigning Class 6 champion Cadets on Friday night.

"It's a great feeling," Duff said. "We knew we were going to come out here and do what we needed to do, respond to everything. We stayed within ourselves. We knew what we had to do. We believed in ourselves. This is shocking to some people, but we knew we had it within us." 

De Smet (5-0), the No. 5 team in the SBLive Missouri Power 25 rankings, had lost three straight games against CBC (3-2), ranked third in the Power 25. 

The MCC rivals have accounted for five of the past six Missouri Class 6 championships, with CBC winning in 2022, 2021, 2018 and 2017 and De Smet taking the title in 2019 (and finishing second to Raymore-Peculiar in 2020). 

"They are so good and they are so well-coached and they are such a great test for any ballclub," De Smet coach John Merritt said. "We really were locked in and focused and played our best game. And I give credit to all our assistant coaches for getting guys ready and for our kids for showing up in a tough environment on the road and getting the win. A bunch of things went our way tonight, but we played really well and we came out with the victory and I'm proud of our guys."

See: Missouri high school football Top 25 scoreboard (9/22/2023)

Duff opened the scoring on Friday night with a 56-yard touchdown run down the left sideline on third down on the Spartans' first series. 

"With teams like CBC you can't let your foot off the gas," Duff said. "You have to come out every play, every drive, because you know they are going to try to come back. We just took advantage of every play. I saw a hole and I ran."

After recovering the ensuing short kickoff, De Smet quickly capitalized again when junior Jason King, a standout linebacker, took a fourth-down snap as a wildcat quarterback in a power formation and scored from 20 yards out.

CBC responded with a 50-yard touchdown pass from Cole McKey to junior wide receiver Corey Simms, cutting the deficit to 14-7, but De Smet wasn't done. 

The Spartans scored three times in the second quarter – and snagged three turnovers – to take a commanding 35-7 lead at halftime. 

DJ White scored on a 35-yard run early in the second quarter. Then defensive end Quincy Byas intercepted a pass that popped out of a CBC wide receiver's hands and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown. 

A few minutes later, the Spartans turned a fumble recovery by defensive end Caleb Redd, a University of Kentucky recruit, into a 66-yard touchdown pass from Duff to Nathan Hatcher to make it 35-7.

On the first possession of the second half, De Smet linebacker Ashton Phillips tipped a pass that was intercepted by King and returned for another touchdown. King's second score of the night gave the Spartans a 42-7 lead with 10:55 remaining in the third quarter and started a running clock. 

"We prepared for this moment all week at practice," Redd said. "I knew this was going to happen. I knew our defense was strong. We've got good linebackers, a good D-line, good DBs. I knew we were going to work as a team and get it done."

CBC turned to third-string quarterback Nick McClellan, a sophomore, in the second half. The younger brother of standout senior Jeremiah McClellan, Nick tossed a touchdown pass to Jaquice Williams with 9:44 left in the fourth quarter.

De Smet extended its advantage to 49-14 with 8:19 left when Duff got loose for a 40-yard touchdown run – his second of the night and fifth in five games.

"He's sensational – and we knew he would be," Merritt said of his junior quarterback. "We said ... earlier in the year, we're going to go as far as our defense takes us and Dillon. And both of those were pretty big tonight. I thought our kicking game, our special teams, continues to be fantastic and you saw the result on the scoreboard."

De Smet 2025 quarterback Dillon Duff

De Smet junior quarterback Dillon Duff


Duff, a 6-foot-3, 190-pounder, is already established as a Division I prospect after picking up scholarship offers from Miami-Ohio, Kent State, Indiana and Minnesota and could see his recruitment take off with his strong start this season. 

Duff said he will be checking out Missouri on Saturday as the Tigers face off with the Memphis Tigers in St. Louis. 

"I'm talking to Duke a lot on the phone," he said. "I've been to a visit out there and am going to go back for another one. Kansas. Kansas State. A lot of Big 12 (schools). I'm talking to Minnesota and Indiana as well, because I've been offered (by them)."


CBC standout senior wide receiver Jeremiah McClellan committed to Ohio State before the start of the season but is expected to take an official visit to Oregon on Saturday as the Ducks host Colorado. 

McClellan got a chance to check out a pair of Oregon commitments a few weeks ago when quarterback Michael Van Buren and cornerback Ify Obidegwu played at East St. Louis (Ill.) with their St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.) squad. 

On Friday, McClellan was wearing Oregon gloves and cleats.

CBC senior wide receiver Jeremiah McClellan

CBC senior wide receiver Jeremiah McClellan

CBC senior wide receiver Jeremiah McClellan

CBC senior wide receiver Jeremiah McClellan

Read More

Missouri high school football computer rankings (9/22/2023)

Lee's Summit North's Williams Nwaneri named nation's No. 1 prospect

Vote for the Missouri Athlete of the Week

Missouri high school football top performers in Week 4

You can also watch dozens of Missouri high school football games live on the NFHS Network: WATCH LIVE ON NFHS NETWORK

To get live updates on your phone - as well as follow your favorite teams and top games - you can download the SBLive Sports app: Download iPhone App | Download Android App

– Nate Latsch | | @SBLiveMiz