Eldon, Osage, Camdenton and Versailles

Eldon and Owensville meet in rematch of district title game

Despite facing inclement weather for the second straight year, the lightning delay and the Boonville defense could not slow down Eldon’s rushing attack as the Mustangs put up 344 rushing yards and four touchdowns en route to a 30-15 road win in the season opener.

Things initially were going the way of the Pirates who finished the first quarter with a 7-6 advantage and 15-12 lead early in the second quarter. However, Eldon reclaimed the advantage with just over four minutes remaining in the first half and never relinquished it the rest of the evening.

The legs of junior running back Isaiah Parsons and senior Isaiah Merida churned throughout the night as the offensive line did their part to create some running lanes and move the chains. Merida paced the ground game with 161 yards and two touchdowns while Parsons dashed for 111 yards and two touchdowns respectively.

Junior quarterback Dawson Brandt attempted just three passes, but made the most of them finishing the night with two completions for 53 yards and a touchdown. One of those passes went to senior Trent Bishop for 37 yards and the other went to senior Trenton Dillon for a 16-yard touchdown strike.

Trailing early, Eldon’s defense quickly figured things out and held the Pirates to just 151 yards of total offense. Senior linebacker Cole Walker paced the Mustangs with seven total tackles while Brandt added five and senior Riley Pope finished with three. Dillon also proved to be in the right place at the right time recovering two fumbles.

Eldon (1-0) will look to get some revenge in the home opener against Owensville (0-1) Friday night at 7 p.m. The Dutchmen, ranked No. 6 in the Class 3 statewide media poll, ended the Mustangs’ season last year in a 47-27 win in the district championship game. However, after a 12-1 finish in 2016, the visitors come into this season’s matchup with a loss already after falling 38-34 to Potosi in the season opener.

Owensville may have beat Eldon twice last season, but the Dutchmen have not won at Eldon since a 21-7 victory in 1984 and the Mustangs have no intention of changing that and letting the visitors spoil the first game at Victor Field. Time will soon tell what both teams have in store.

Osage looking for second straight win against Seneca

Osage took a trip up Highway 54 to Fulton for its season opener Friday night and it was another game between the Indians and Hornets that came right down to the wire.

In last year’s battle, Osage managed to hold off a surging Fulton offense for a 28-21 win. This time, the Indian offense came through putting together a game-winning drive to secure a 32-26 victory. With the score deadlocked at 26, Osage took possession on its own 10-yard line with seven minutes remaining and wore down the Fulton defense marching 90 yards to the end zone where senior running back Nick Riley punched in a 4-yard touchdown run with 18 seconds remaining.

It was one of three touchdowns for the senior workhorse who rushed for 130 yards and two touchdowns while hauling in four receptions for 35 yards and another touchdown. However, he was just one key cog in a rushing attack that featured six different runners and was relentless with 281 total yards on the ground. Fellow senior Austin Magnuson also proved to be a thorn in the Hornets side as he put up 105 yards of his own.

While the ground game proved tough to stop, the passing game was just as effective. Senior quarterback Zach Wheeler was 14 of 26 for 149 yards and two touchdowns and senior wideout Drake Gaines also got into the mix with a double pass play that went 31 yards for a touchdown to junior receiver Dalton Depeé. The duo were reliable targets for Wheeler all night as they both pulled down five receptions and a touchdown each. Gaines finished with 64 receiving yards while Depeé put up 63 yards respectively.

On the defensive side of the ball, Osage rallied behind the linebacker Magnuson who led the team with 16 total tackles while junior Traygen Whittle put up 12, Riley finished with 10, Depeé added nine and junior Garrett Sutherland recorded eight respectively that also featured a sack. The Indians were also in the right place at the right time recovering three Fulton fumbles.

However, it was not a perfect night for the Indians either. On a night where the lead was exchanged five times and Osage committed five turnovers with two interceptions and three fumbles, things could have gone bad quickly. But the Indians showed resiliency and kept the pressure up on a Hornets team that refused to go away.

Osage (1-0) will look to maintain that resiliency when the Indians host Seneca (1-0) Friday night for the home opener. In last year’s contest, Osage came away with a 35-19 win and will look to make it two straight in the team’s home opener.

Seneca is coming off a 28-20 comeback win over Nevada in a game where the Indians trailed the Tigers 14-0 early. The comeback was fueled by the legs of quarterback Gavin Clouse who made big plays throughout the evening and ended his night rushing for 187 yards and three touchdowns. Clouse will be the key focus for an Osage defense that already has experience with mobile quarterbacks after Fulton’s Cameron Vaughn rushed for 127 yards and three touchdowns in week one. If Osage can contain Clouse, the scoreboard should favor the Indians.

Meanwhile, the Osage offense showed it is more than capable of putting points on the board and will be happy to know that the Seneca defense gave up some big plays of its own against Nevada that included a 60-yard touchdown pass. The formula of a punishing rushing attack and sharp throws from Wheeler should keep Seneca on its toes.

The battle of the Indians will commence at 7 p.m.

Camdenton looking to defend home turf against West Plains

Despite a two-hour delay due to inclement weather, it was not about to rain on Camdenton’s parade Friday night.

The Lakers opened up their season against Ozark Conference foe Hillcrest and had no trouble dispatching the Hornets with a 35-13 win in the home opener. The game was called due to lightning with 1:05 left in the third quarter.

On the offensive side of the ball, things went just about as well as anyone could ask for. The Lakers set the tone early putting the ball in the end zone on each of their first four drives.

The first drive took just five plays as Camdenton drove 58 yards and capped it off with an 18-yard touchdown sweep to senior fullback Seth Harris. It would prove to be a big night for the senior as he tossed a 20-yard halfback pass for a touchdown to senior wideout Jackson Ezard on the next drive and followed that up with a 34-yard fake reverse touchdown run in the third offensive series. Just like that, the Lakers were up 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.

While Harris was getting the job done on the ground leading the Lakers with 73 of the team’s 212 total rushing yards on eight carries, Ezard was the answer through the air as he hauled in a team-leading four receptions for 77 yards respectively.

Hillcrest came up empty on five of its seven drives that included three quick three-and-outs, a turnover on downs and an interception courtesy of Camdenton senior linebacker Todd Simpson. Simpson paced the defense with six total tackles while sophomore Jase Nicklas added five and Ezard recorded four.

After Hillcrest cut the deficit to 14, the Lakers killed the momentum and answered right back with a 2-yard touchdown run from senior fullback Bo Shore to make it 28-7 before halftime. Senior wideout Gabe Kurtz rounded up the scoring with a 27-yard touchdown reception midway through the third quarter from senior quarterback Isaiah Lumley who finished his night completing eight of his 11 passes for 117 yards.

Now, the Lakers (1-0), and ranked No. 9 in the Class 4 statewide media poll, turn their attention to a West Plains team (1-0) that ended Camdenton’s season last year with a tough 29-28 defeat in the first round of the district playoffs. The Lakers and Zizzers have had a few close battles lately with two of the past three games being decided by a single point. West Plains comes to Camdenton off of a 48-26 win against Waynesville.

“They ended our season last year here disappointingly and have been pretty good the last few years,” Shore said of the Zizzers. “They are coming to our house so we need to take care of business next week. We’ll be ready for them and we are going to get after it.”

Kickoff is scheduled for Friday night at 7 p.m.

Versailles looking to maintain momentum against Fulton

Versailles had no trouble finding the end zone Friday night in the home and season opener against Knob Noster.

The Tiger offense showed no signs of rust in the first contest of the year, hanging up 51 points and 555 total yards on the visiting Panthers in a 50-31 win. Versailles took an initial 15-8 lead after the first quarter and quickly dismantled any hopes of a Knob Noster comeback.

In the first game of their final season with the Tigers, seniors Taylor Dobbins and Kooper Wilson made it count as both players went on to have a career night. Dobbins wore out the Panther defense on the ground rushing for 247 of the team’s 339 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Wilson was a primary target through the air as he racked up 138 yards and two touchdowns on five receptions.

Those receptions came from the arm of sophomore quarterback Coby Williams who also had a solid night for the Tigers. After seeing time as the signal-caller as a freshman, Williams showed he was ready to go this season completing all nine of his passes for 216 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for another. Dobbins hauled in one of those touchdowns finishing the night with two receptions for 52 yards and sophomore Brayden Morrison pulled down the other on a 17-yard strike.

The Versailles defense managed to keep Knob Noster at bay on a night where the Panthers put up 312 rushing yards and 359 total yards of offense. Senior linebacker Michael Trotter led the charge with a team-leading nine tackles that also included three tackles for a loss and an interception. Williams recorded six tackles and also picked off an errant Knob Noster throw and sophomore Riley Rademann put up five tackles respectively.

Versailles (1-0) will hope to carry its momentum into week two where the Tigers will welcome a Fulton team (0-1) eager to get some momentum of its own after a tough 32-26 defeat at the hands of Osage. In last year’s contest, Versailles fell 56 to 12 to the Hornets on the road.

While Versailles showed it can generate plenty of firepower with its weapons on offense, Fulton showed it can be just as deadly. One player the Tigers will have to keep their eyes on is senior quarterback Cameron Vaughn who ran for 127 yards and three touchdowns in his debut. He was also fairly accurate with his arm completing seven of 13 passes for 68 yards. Another weapon the Hornets will have is sophomore running back Taeon Logan, who dashed for 81 yards and a touchdown of his own respectively. After giving up 312 rushing yards in week one, stopping the run will be essential for the Tigers to come out on top.

The Versailles offense will be eager to attack a Fulton defense that gave up 200 yards on the ground and Williams would love to build upon the 149 yards and two touchdowns the Hornets gave up through the air. Time will soon tell if the offense can remain just as smooth in week two.

Versailles will look to keep its record unblemished and defend home turf when the two sides meet Friday at 7 p.m.