For most high school football players, the season ends in November. For five Camdenton Lakers, there was still one final shot to represent their school: 12th Annual Sertoma Grin Iron Classic.
Each year, a select few graduating seniors are chosen to play in the Grin Iron Classic, a showdown between the East and West of football prowess.
This year, the Camdenton Lakers sent five of their seniors to the event: Camdenton's rushing duo of Murphy Ward and Justin Bernabe, fullback/linebacker Jake Voorhees, tight end/linebacker Chase Nugent and quarterback Cory Simpson, who all headed to Springfield to play at Parkview’s JFK Stadium last Friday. (Five is the maximum number allowed per school.)
The Lakers played for the East, but once again, the West emerged the victors after a 21-17 win. The West leads the series 11-1.
The West was led by Webb City's quarterback John Roderique, who threw two touchdowns in the first half and the game-winning score in the final minute of the game with a 1-yard run to score.
The East, however, led the West in the beginning of the game, jumping to a 7-0 lead after Camdenton's own Chase Nugent scooped up a fumble and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown after four minutes of play.
The East continued their dominance in the second quarter, when Glendale quarterback Will Rogers found Ozark’s Austin Roberts for a 32-yard touchdown to take a 14-0 lead.
The West would answer on their next drive, with Roderique hitting Carthage’s Jordan Dangerfield, who would take it in the goal for a 66-yard touchdown.
The West found a way to get back in the game, recovering a fumble, which set up another pass from Roderique to his teammate Phoenix Johnson for a 15-yard score.
The game remained tied through the third quarter until Lebanon's Andre Smith nailed a 25-yard field goal to give the East a 17-14 lead early in the fourth quarter.
In the end, Roderique would prove to be the deciding factor, retaking the lead with his goal-line score to win the game, 21-17.
Though the East left defeated, Camdenton's players made themselves known on the field, sweeping the MVP honors for the East, as Murphy Ward was named the offensive MVP and Chase Nugent the defensive MVP.
The Grin Iron Classic supports Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Ozarks.
The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, nicknamed the Tooth Truck, provides a mobile dental clinic to kids in under-served parts of the Ozarks.