Osage, Eldon, Camdenton and Versailles

Osage looking to make it two straight in road trip to Warsaw

School of the Osage had no trouble dispatching Hallsville in the Tri-County Conference opener Friday night as the host Indians topped the visiting Indians 31 to 6.

Osage built up a 31-0 lead through three quarters of play and never looked back. Senior running back Nick Riley got things started with a 1-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter, senior wide receiver Drake Gaines followed it up with a 35-yard touchdown run and senior running back Austin Magnuson punched in a 5-yard run to give the Indians a 19-0 lead by halftime.

Early in the third quarter, Riley found some daylight again and took a 42-yard run to the house. The final Osage touchdown came through the air as senior quarterback Zach Wheeler hit junior wideout Dalton Depeé for a 7-yard strike with just over four minutes remaining in the third.

Wheeler was sharp under center, completing 16 of his 26 pass attempts for 151 yards and two touchdowns while throwing just a single interception. Gaines led the team with 70 receiving yards on six receptions and Depeé hauled in six passes as well for 50 yards. Meanwhile, Riley punished Hallsville tacklers with 114 rushing yards on just nine carries and fellow running back Austin Magnuson put up 45 yards of his own in the win.

On the defensive side, the Indian defense made the opponents earn their six points as they were a constant force with 12 total tackles for a loss led by Riley and Magnuson who put up 13 total tackles each. Osage was also opportunistic with interceptions from senior Ian Riley and sophomore Matt Hans along with a fumble recovery from Depeé.

After a tough loss to Seneca in week two, Osage got back in the win column and the Indians would like to keep it that way as they visit Warsaw Friday night at 7 p.m.

Coach Ryan Boyer’s Wildcats (2-1) come into the contest with wins over Clinton and Cole Camp and a narrow 12-8 defeat at the hands of California last week that came down to a goal line stand. Warsaw is currently averaging 16.6 points per contest and allowing 15.3 points per game respectively.

Osage (2-1) has averaged 23.3 points through the first three games with a balanced offensive attack that has put up 505 passing yards (168.3 yards per game) and 523 rushing yards (174.3 yards per game) respectively. For the most part, the results have been positive and there is no reason why this formula cannot continue.

Wheeler has thrown for 474 yards and five touchdowns with Depeé (18 receptions, 154 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Gaines (15 receptions, 195 yards, 3 touchdowns) being his favorite targets. However, the senior will certainly look to sharpen up his passes as he has also thrown seven interceptions. The rushing game has been effective through the legs of two senior workhorses in Riley and Magnuson. The former has put up a team-leading 249 yards (5.7 yards per carry) and four touchdowns while the latter has rushed for 180 yards (4.5 yards per carry) and touchdown of his own.

The defense will always be looking to chop down the number of points the unit allows and so far, the Indians have allowed 19.6 points per contest. As effective as Riley and Magnuson have been in the backfield, they have been just as tough at linebacker as the two have combined for 83 of the team’s 266 total tackles. Junior Traygen Whittle has also been an effective disruptor recording six tackles for a loss and senior Josh McCubbin has put up an impressive five tackles for a loss as well on a team that has recorded six total sacks. Another key factor is turnovers where the defense has kept the Indians competitive with two interceptions and four fumble recoveries.

Osage cruised to a 42-6 over Warsaw in 2016 and the Indians have not lost to the Wildcats since 2009. Time will soon tell if that trend will continue.

Eldon and Blair Oaks to meet in fight for first place

Eldon remains unbeaten in 2017 after taking down visiting Southern Boone 29-7 in the Tri-County Conference opener Friday night at Victor Field.

After last week’s shootout with Owensville, the Mustangs left little doubt in week three as they held a commanding 22-0 lead by halftime and never looked back.

In week two, it was senior running back Isaiah Merida who led the offensive charge as he broke single-game school records for rushing yards, touchdowns and 2-point conversions. This time, it was junior running back Isaiah Parsons who marched the Mustangs downfield as he rushed for a team leading 141 yards (5 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. Merida added 112 yards of his own (6.2 yards per carry) to keep the chains moving and the team rushed for 291 yards overall.

The Mustang defense was just as sharp allowing Southern Boone to complete just 27 percent of its passes for 48 yards while allowing 77 rushing yards for just 125 total yards of offense. Junior Dawson Brandt had a team-leading six tackles and senior Trenton Dillon had no trouble hunting down the quarterback with three of the team’s four total sacks.

Now, Eldon (3-0) will have another big test when the Mustangs visit undefeated Blair Oaks Friday night in a battle for the top of the conference. After knocking off state-ranked Owensville, the Mustangs will have an opportunity to take down another state-ranked team as the Falcons were the No. 3 team in Class 3 before week three.

Blair Oaks comes into this pivotal week four matchup with wins over Kirksville, Oak Grove and Versailles with a comfortable average margin of victory of 24.6 points. For Eldon, that margin has been 13.3 points respectively. The high-powered Eldon offense will look to keep things rolling averaging 43.6 points per game and the defense will look to cut down on the 30.3 points the unit is currently allowing. Blair Oaks’ offense has been just as formidable putting up 38 points per game and the defense has been stout allowing just 13.3 points per contest.

In last year’s battle the Mustangs fell 42-7, but Eldon is fairly healthy and will be looking for a much different outcome this time around. Time will soon tell if the Mustangs can shake up the state rankings once again. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Camdenton looking to defend home turf against Kickapoo

The Highway 5 trophy came back to Camdenton.

The Lakers visited rival Lebanon Friday night and outlasted the Yellowjackets with a 28-20 win in a game where Camdenton did not have to attempt a single pass. Last week, the Lakers saw their comfortable lead slip away against West Plains. This time, Camdenton took a 21-17 lead into halftime and had no intentions of giving it up as the Lakers protected it the rest of the way.

Camdenton got things started with a few electrifying plays. Senior wide receiver and kick returner Jake Hill displayed his All-State track speed with a 90-yard return to the house and senior fullback Todd Simpson ran right up the middle on the first play from scrimmage with a 49-yard touchdown. However, the Lakers led just 15-14 after the first quarter.

After a Lebanon field goal, the Lakers decided to take the lead for good as senior fullback Seth Harris punched in a 1-yard run. Then Simpson extended the lead early in the second half on a 34-yard touchdown run to make it 28-17.

Lebanon was not an easy team to stop, but the “Purple Haze” defense decided to dig in. A Yellowjacket drive that was gaining momentum was immediately halted as sophomore linebacker Ryan Maasen sacked the quarterback and caused a fumble that was recovered by sophomore defensive lineman Mason Kinney at Camdenton’s 28-yard line. The Lakers gave up just one more field goal the rest of the night. Needing a touchdown to tie it, Lebanon coughed up the football one more time on a screen play and junior defensive back Andrew Butts recovered the ball to seal it and bring the trophy back to Camdenton for the first time since 2014.

Thanks to the “Hogs” among the offensive line, Camdenton dominated the ground game with a total of 246 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Simpson led the way with 124 yards and two scores while Harris put up 60 yards and a touchdown and Hill dashed for 30 yards on three carries respectively.

Camdenton (2-1) will look to stay in the win column with Ozark Conference foe Kickapoo coming to town Friday night at 7 p.m.

After losing quite a few key players to graduation, the Class 6A Chiefs (1-2) have had a tough start to 2017 with a win over Parkview and losses to Rolla and Joplin by a combined eight points. Overall, Kickapoo is averaging 30.3 points per game and allowing 24.3 points at the same time. By comparison, the Laker offense is putting up 29 points per game and the defense is giving up 19.3 points per contest respectively.

Camdenton’s success so far this season has been dependent on the “Hogs” dominating the trenches. The Lakers have enforced their will in the rushing attack putting up 678 rushing yards as a team (226 yards per game). At the same time, the defense had only given up 65 rushing yards before the Lebanon game and with a skilled Yellowjacket running back, that number has bumped up from 32.5 rushing yards per game to 139.

Camdenton has not topped Kickapoo since 2012, but that may change if the Lakers can dominate the line again and make the Chiefs’ visit to the “Jaws of Death” an unpleasant one.

Versailles seeking second straight win over California

The first quarter spelled trouble for Versailles Friday night.

The host Tigers went three-and-out on their first four offensive drives and Blair Oaks scored touchdowns on its first three en route to a 34-14 win in the Tri-County Conference opener for both schools. But despite the early deficit, Class 2 Versailles fought back and remained even keel the rest of the way with the No. 3 ranked Class 3 team in the state.

After trailing 28-0 in the second quarter, the Tigers were not discouraged and began to find some rhythm. Thanks to the efforts of the offensive line up front, and especially the duo of right tackle Chase Hyman and tight end Jonathon Geier, junior running back Grant Hutchison started to find some holes and executed a few nice runs that included a 14-yard dash to put the team in striking distance. Hutchison finished with 59 rushing yards on the night. A few plays later, sophomore quarterback Coby Williams dove across the goal line to put Versailles on the board and make it 28-7 before halftime.

After a few quick scores, Versailles coach Broc Silvers was glad to see the Versailles defense settle in as the Tigers recorded 10 tackles for a loss. Hutchison made two of those tackles in the backfield as he led the team with 15 total tackles on the night and junior linebacker Michael Trotter got in the mix as well with a sack and 13 total tackles of his own.

The two conference foes would find the end zone one more time. For Versailles, it was senior wideout Kooper Wilson who pulled down a 65-yard bomb with just over three minutes remaining. Wilson had been Williams’ favorite target throughout the night with seven receptions for 116 yards. The young sophomore quarterback finished his night completing 10 of his 21 pass attempts for 149 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

A loss is never satisfying in any form, but Silvers pointed out that quite a few things went well for the Tigers on both sides of the ball. Now, the question is whether Versailles can put it all together for all four quarters in the first road trip of the year Friday night at conference foe California.

Coach Marty Albertson’s Pintos come into the matchup 1-2 with losses to Monett and Mexico and a narrow 12-8 win over Warsaw last week that came down to a goal line stand. California’s offense has shown some struggle, averaging just 10.6 points per contest while the defense is giving up 18.3 points of their own. Meanwhile, the Tigers (1-2) are currently averaging 29.3 points per contest and giving up 37 points themselves.

The Versailles defense can be disruptive if the unit is clicking on all cylinders and they will be eager to prove their case against a team with offensive issues that was shutout in the second half last week against Warsaw. At the same time, the Tiger offense has a number of reliable players on the ground and in the air.

Senior running back Taylor Dobbins leads the team with 274 rushing yards and two touchdowns and Hutchison has emerged as a threat as well with 85 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown respectively. In the passing game, Wilson has been a big threat too with 16 receptions for 338 yards and three touchdowns. Last but not least, Williams has settled in under center as the young gunslinger has put up 480 passing yards and five touchdowns while also rushing for another 58 yards and four touchdowns of his own.

In last year’s contest, Versailles defended home turf with a narrow 14-10 win, and Silvers is hoping for a stronger performance.

“Here is the deal. We played three games better than we played last year so let’s do the same thing,” Silvers said of the first three games. “Last year, we scored late and were opportunistic to win that game (California)… Hopefully this year we can come out and play a little better from the start and play as hard as we did tonight.

“I think we are going to be ok. You play a Class 3 team ranked No. 3 in the state that well, you can play against anybody so hopefully we play that hard and things go our way next week,” Silvers added.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.