Two teams in transition collide on the gridiron Friday night when the Camdenton Lakers make the 135-mile trek to West Plains. The 0-5 Zizzers are in their first year under coach Jack Randolph, while the 3-2 Lakers saw several changes to the supporting coaching staff in the offseason. Randolph fills a vacancy created by the resignation of longtime Zizzers' coach Greg Simpkins. Still the athletic director at West Plains, Simpkins resigned from the football coaching position after 20 years with the Zizzers.
Scouting report and more inside
Two teams in transition collide on the gridiron Friday night when the Camdenton Lakers make the 135-mile trek to West Plains. The 0-5 Zizzers are in their first year under coach Jack Randolph, while the 3-2 Lakers saw several changes to the supporting coaching staff in the offseason.
Randolph fills a vacancy created by the resignation of longtime Zizzers' coach Greg Simpkins. Still the athletic director at West Plains, Simpkins resigned from the football coaching position after 20 years with the Zizzers. He assembled a 121-93 record and carved a reputation for hard-nosed, gritty play.
Bob Shore of Camdenton and Rick Vernon of Waynesville are now the longest tenured coaches in the Ozark Conference. Shore had to make changes to his coaching staff this spring when longtime defensive coordinator Mike Silverwood and defensive end/tight end coach Joe Borghardt both retired. Shore expects the Zizzers to have their game faces on when the Lakers make their longest road trip of the season.
"I'm looking forward to the game, but the trip–I can't say that I'm in love with the trip," Shore laughed. "Fortunately, that's the longest trip we've got."
The veteran coach of the Lakers recalls times past when Camdenton routinely made long bus rides to face opponents willing to face them.
"Back when we were independent, we tried going to Harrisonville, or St. Francis Borgia, or Country Day, or Ray-Pec," Shore said.
Camdenton enters the game on back-to-back wins for the first time this season. The Laker defense limited the Kickapoo offense to -16 rushing yards in a 28-7 win last Friday, which should be encouraging against Randolph's veer offense.
West Plains has struggled with injuries and with penalties all season. The Zizzers will likely be without linebacker Quintin Wake, who leads the team in solo tackles but suffered an injury in his team's latest loss.
Wake made eight tackles in a 28-14 loss to the Lakers last season.
Camdenton's players and coaches recall the physicality of the last meeting between the teams. West Plains' defensive linemen frustrated the Laker offense by hitting the offensive linemen low and clogging up running lanes. Two Laker linemen were ejected from the game for what the officials said were illegal blows to the backs of the necks of West Plains defenders.
West Plains Zizzers
Coach Jack Randolph
2010 record 0-5
2009 record 2-8
History Camdenton defeated West Plains 28-14 in 2009 to continue an ongoing string of victories in the all-time series between the teams. The Zizzers had a reputation for tough defense and fearless play under coach Greg Simpkins, but have struggled this year with new coach Jack Randolph. West Plains is coming off a 20-point loss at Springfield Parkview last Friday. Glendale and West Plains have yet to win a game.
3 players to watch
Taylor Tidwell, senior RB/DB (21) — Tidwell is a finesse runner who keeps his center of gravity low as he runs. Tidwell makes it tough for defenders to stand him up and always seems to fall forward as he is tackled. The senior missed three games with injuries earlier this season, but is said to be back at 100 percent.
Jamie Wright, senior RB/OLB (47) — Wright entered the 2010 campaign with the expectations of anchoring the West Plains defense, but is one of many Zizzers slowed by injuries. Wright figures to be back in the lineup against the Lakers, and his pursuits will be needed against Camdenton's running backs.
Aaron Esterle, senior WR/DB (23) — The all-state sprinter is the Zizzers' leading receiver with 11 catches for 184 yards, but he has not been to the endzone all season. Esterle also gets his number called to run the ball a few times each game, and is a threat wherever he lines up.
Cayden Shockley, senior SB/FS — In last year's tilt with West Plains, Shockley scored what turned out to be the game-winner when he brought down a 17-yard touchdown pass from Shane Hardman in the fourth quarter of a 28-14 win. Shockley comes off of a top-notch three-touchdown game against Kickapoo.
Justin Daughtrey, senior SS — Daughtrey will be a key factor if the Lakers are to stop West Plains' run-based veer offense. "The Mongoose" will patrol the edge on the strong side of the Zizzers' offensive formation, and will likely have several tackles before the night ends.
Jordan Long, senior OT/DT — Camdenton's right tackle comes off one his best games of the season. The Hogs led Murphy Ward and Cayden Shockley to a combined 183 rushing yards on 35 attempts. On defense, Long and company drove Kickapoo's offense backward. The Chiefs totaled -16 rushing yards in their loss, and quarterback Brett Diers was sacked four times.