It was the tale of two halves as the Camdenton Lakers found a way to come back from a 28-7 deficit at halftime to win 34-28 at home against rivals Lebanon.

It was the tale of two halves as the Camdenton Lakers found a way to come back from a 28-7 deficit at halftime to win 34-28 at home against rivals Lebanon.

The scene was set as Camdenton seniors were honored before the game. However, the calm was short lived as both teams stormed onto the field and the tension of the rivalry made itself felt.

The game opened with Lebanon making an error and, instead of allowing the kickoff to travel out of bounds, grabbing it and heading out at their 6 yard line. Though it looked as though Camdenton might have the upper hand, Lebanon was able to ease their was down the field and score the game’s opening touchdown.

This would be the theme of the first half, as Camdenton’s defense seemed to have no answer for the heavy run attack by the Yellowjackets. Lebanon, who would go on to rush 62 times throughout the contest, would find the end zone again before the end of the first quarter and left the home crowd quiet as they headed into quarter two with a double digit lead.

Things would only get worse for the Lakers, whose offense was struggling to find any rhythm. The Yellowjackets would find the end zone yet again to open the second quarter, though missed their extra point extending the lead to 20-0. This would be the team’s biggest lead of the night.

Finally, Camdenton’s Junior Quarterback Paxton Delaurent would find his pace and made a few big throws on the next possession, leading the team to find pay dirt for the first time. They would cut the Yellowjacket lead down to 20-7.

However, it seemed the offense clicking would be for naught as the Laker defense would continue to struggle and allowed Lebanon to convert on a fourth down play and eventually score again. This would move the score to 28-7 and would move both teams into halftime. 

It looked like the home team would be fortunate to even get close at this point, as the Yellowjacket offense was moving the entire half with little trouble. However, it was impossible to know what Camdenton would achieve, as the halftime scoreboard moved into quarter three.

The Lakers would open the third quarter with a touchdown, cutting the lead in half. On the following Lebanon drive, the play that changed the momentum of the rest of the game would occur. Past midfield, Lebanon would fumble the ball and Camdenton Senior Kylan Draper would recover, taking it all the way across the field to another Laker touchdown. This was a huge momentum swing for the home team and cut the Yellowjacket lead to just a touchdown, 28-21.

From this point forward, the game was in complete control by the Lakers. Delaurent would go on to throw an interception toward the end of the third quarter, which looked to be an opening for Lebanon, but the defense finally showed up and made a bug stop cutting and momentum shift back the other way. At the end of the third quarter, the score stayed at 28-21.

Only a minute into quarter four, Delaurent would find the end zone again by rushing in himself tying the game. The remainder of the quarter saw no score from either side until Camdenton would make the move into the lead on a touchdown with just 2:22 left on the clock. Lebanon tried to make big passes down the field to get into a position to score, but the Laker defense held firm and iced the game on a turnover on downs. Camdenton would win 34-38, coming back with 27 unanswered second half points.

Coach Jeff Shore was expectedly thrilled after the match. He cited the fumble recovery by Draper as the big momentum shift that the team needed to get back into the game and also said that the defense showed up big in the second half. He says this game was a great example of Laker football. He says the team’s ability to stay calm was huge in the long term and was proud of the closing effort displayed by the team.

“This was such a great win,” Shore said. “We believed we could win and these guys did a great job.”

Delaurent ended the game going 26-32 for 257 yards in the air with one touchdown and an interception and two touchdowns on the ground. Senior Gabe Kurtz was the primary target, grabbing 10 catches for 75 yards. Senior Cash Calton would grab the only passing touchdown with 3 catches and 35 yards. Sophomore Eli Griffin rushed for 21 yards and made a touchdown.

Next week, Camdenton will face off against Glendale at home, hoping to move to 6-1 on the season.