Camdenton's back-to-back state titles built unbreakable bond

A winning streak is fun for any team to enjoy.

Winning 26 straight games and producing two straight state championships is quite another and that is precisely what Camdenton did in 1986 and 1987. Over the course of two years the Lakers literally could not be beat as they won their first two state titles and Camdenton coach Jeff Shore, who played quarterback during those special seasons for an offense known as the “Strike Force,” said it was brotherhood that carried the Lakers to win after win.

“I think it was a belief with those guys that as long as they stuck together, they would not lose. I think you could ask any of those guys from that timeframe and those teams that that was the belief. It literally did not matter who we were playing,” Shore recalled. “Any team that you have that wins that many games, you can ask those guys whether it be the pros or whatever, there is a special bond there. It is just a belief in each other and then a drive to drive each other harder.”

Of course, winning that many games in a row did not come without challenges. Shore remembers facing a Chillicothe team in the 1986 title game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City where the Lakers had several injured key players and trailed by 8 points with little time remaining. Still, Camdenton fought back and managed to tie it before the game ended and both teams shared the title since overtime did not exist yet.

The following season the Lakers trailed 21 to 10 in the state semifinals with seven minutes remaining, but managed to come back and win it and went on to face Sumner for the championship at Faurot Field in Columbia. Despite facing a Sumner team that had about seven players who went on to the NFL, the Lakers put the stamp on their season with their second straight state title- no overtime necessary.

“It was obviously my ultimate dream,” Shore said of winning not just one, but two straight titles. “It was better for me than playing in the NFL or anything else. That was my goal the whole time growing up watching my dad coaching and growing up with the guys I played with. That was the ultimate and I could not ask for any more. I want to do it again coaching wise.”

Shore said it also felt good to vindicate the 1986 class which saw the final game of their high school careers end in a tie. In those two seasons, the Lakers simply had the “right stuff.”

“That was kind of a vengeance for the first one and for those guys that were seniors that just graduated and we were real close to,” Shore said of the 1987 title. “That vindicated them I felt like and when we backed that up it showed who the best team in the state was for two years.

“”Every time (winning) gives you that confidence and you feed on that. The more success you have, the more you want to have. A lot of those things take a perfect storm and that’s kind of what it was. A combination of guys, a combination of coaches, a combination of community support and a combination of hard work. There are a lot of different things that went into that streak and it was fun,” he added.

The bond that was built remains strong today and the friendships that were forged is something Shore will always treasure.

“It’s funny, I don’t really need a class reunion to see the guys. I never made many more friends and those were my friends for life. I guess I never wanted any other ones,” Shore stated. “Half of them are coaching here, half of them are coaching somewhere else or professionals in town. Those ties carry on throughout football. They are great friends, great people and I really value their friendships.”

As each of those players go through their own paths in life, they will always be able to look back and remember the streak. For Shore though, it was the journey along the way that will always mean the most.

“You get older, you get a family and especially here coaching, my main concern is trying to get these guys ready for the next game,” he said. “Every once in a while we’ll get together, sit down, talk about it and laugh about it. More than anything it is not the actual game, but the stuff you do along the way. The times in the locker room, the stories you have and the closeness there. That is the fun stuff.”

A winning streak is fun for any team to enjoy.

Winning 26 straight games and producing two straight state championships is quite another and that is precisely what Camdenton did in 1986 and 1987. Over the course of two years the Lakers literally could not be beat as they won their first two state titles and Camdenton coach Jeff Shore, who played quarterback during those special seasons for an offense known as the “Strike Force,” said it was brotherhood that carried the Lakers to win after win.

“I think it was a belief with those guys that as long as they stuck together, they would not lose. I think you could ask any of those guys from that timeframe and those teams that that was the belief. It literally did not matter who we were playing,” Shore recalled. “Any team that you have that wins that many games, you can ask those guys whether it be the pros or whatever, there is a special bond there. It is just a belief in each other and then a drive to drive each other harder.”

Of course, winning that many games in a row did not come without challenges. Shore remembers facing a Chillicothe team in the 1986 title game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City where the Lakers had several injured key players and trailed by 8 points with little time remaining. Still, Camdenton fought back and managed to tie it before the game ended and both teams shared the title since overtime did not exist yet.

The following season the Lakers trailed 21 to 10 in the state semifinals with seven minutes remaining, but managed to come back and win it and went on to face Sumner for the championship at Faurot Field in Columbia. Despite facing a Sumner team that had about seven players who went on to the NFL, the Lakers put the stamp on their season with their second straight state title- no overtime necessary.

“It was obviously my ultimate dream,” Shore said of winning not just one, but two straight titles. “It was better for me than playing in the NFL or anything else. That was my goal the whole time growing up watching my dad coaching and growing up with the guys I played with. That was the ultimate and I could not ask for any more. I want to do it again coaching wise.”

Shore said it also felt good to vindicate the 1986 class which saw the final game of their high school careers end in a tie. In those two seasons, the Lakers simply had the “right stuff.”

“That was kind of a vengeance for the first one and for those guys that were seniors that just graduated and we were real close to,” Shore said of the 1987 title. “That vindicated them I felt like and when we backed that up it showed who the best team in the state was for two years.

“”Every time (winning) gives you that confidence and you feed on that. The more success you have, the more you want to have. A lot of those things take a perfect storm and that’s kind of what it was. A combination of guys, a combination of coaches, a combination of community support and a combination of hard work. There are a lot of different things that went into that streak and it was fun,” he added.

The bond that was built remains strong today and the friendships that were forged is something Shore will always treasure.

“It’s funny, I don’t really need a class reunion to see the guys. I never made many more friends and those were my friends for life. I guess I never wanted any other ones,” Shore stated. “Half of them are coaching here, half of them are coaching somewhere else or professionals in town. Those ties carry on throughout football. They are great friends, great people and I really value their friendships.”

As each of those players go through their own paths in life, they will always be able to look back and remember the streak. For Shore though, it was the journey along the way that will always mean the most.

“You get older, you get a family and especially here coaching, my main concern is trying to get these guys ready for the next game,” he said. “Every once in a while we’ll get together, sit down, talk about it and laugh about it. More than anything it is not the actual game, but the stuff you do along the way. The times in the locker room, the stories you have and the closeness there. That is the fun stuff.”