Eldon Mustangs, Versailles Tigers, Camdenton Lakers and Osage Indians

Eldon looking to bounce back against California

Undefeated Eldon visited undefeated Blair Oaks in a battle for the top of the Tri-County Conference Friday night.

One team’s unbeaten streak would come to an end and unfortunately for the visitors, that team would be Eldon as the Class 3 No. 7 Mustangs fell 32-12 to the Class 3 No. 2 Falcons.

The night started out as a defensive battle between two sides that can put up points in a hurry. Eldon came into the contest averaging 43 points per game while the Falcons were putting up 38 points respectively. Blair Oaks, who started freshman quarterback Cade Stockman after starter Nolan Hair went down against Versailles last week, struck first early in the first quarter with a 2-yard touchdown pass to go up 6-0. However, after a few stalled drives for both sides, the Mustangs answered back and tied it early in the second quarter on a 3-yard touchdown run from junior running back Isaiah Parsons.

Then, a couple of big plays shifted the momentum back to the Falcons and the home team did not give it up the rest of the way. Blair Oaks regained the lead on a 71-yard touchdown pass with five seconds remaining in the half to make it 12-6 at the break. Later in the third quarter, the Falcons went deep again on a school-record 97-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 18-6.

Eldon senior running back Isaiah Merida punched in a 1-yard run to cut the deficit in half early in the fourth quarter, but that was the final punch the Mustangs delivered the rest of the night as Blair Oaks followed that up with a 9-yard touchdown pass and a 41-yard touchdown run.

Eldon’s relentless rushing attack, which had been averaging 395 yards per game, was held to just 150 yards Friday night by the Falcon defense. The Mustangs also looked to generate some offense through the air, but junior quarterback Dawson Brandt was only able to connect on two of his 10 pass attempts.

Eldon (3-1) can take solace in the fact that it will be back home this Friday in the friendly confines of Victor Field to welcome California (1-3) in another conference clash. The Pintos are coming off a 13-6 loss at the hands of Versailles.

The Mustang defense is allowing 30.7 points per game, but the Pinto offense has struggled averaging just 9.5 points per contest itself and being held to a single touchdown in three of the first four games. Meanwhile, the Mustang offense (35.7 points per game) will look to get back to finding the end zone quickly and often against a Pinto defense giving up 17 points respectively.

In last year’s contest, Eldon outlasted the Pintos 15-8. The numbers may lean in Eldon’s favor this time around, but the game is always decided on the field so nothing will be taken for granted when these two sides meet. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Versailles looking to make it three straight against Warsaw

The Versailles defense stood its ground Friday night at California.

After giving up a touchdown to the Pintos on California’s first offensive drive, the Tiger defense did not give up a single point the rest of the night in a 13-6 Tri-County Conference win.

Things got off to a shaky start for Versailles as California recorded an interception on the opening offensive series and made the Tigers soon pay on a 36-yard touchdown run to go up 6-0. However, Versailles shook it off, buckled in and answered with two touchdown drives in the second quarter to regain the lead for good. California appeared to have another touchdown and a chance to tie it near the end of the third quarter, but it was waived off due to being an illegal forward pass.

There was no doubt for the Versailles offense though. The Tigers marched down the field and senior running back Taylor Dobbins punched in touchdown runs of one yard and two yards as he finished the night with 124 of the team’s 171 rushing yards to pace the ground attack. After the early errant throw, Versailles sophomore quarterback Coby Williams found his groove completing nine of his 14 passes for 88 yards. Dobbins also paced Versailles through the air with one reception for 27 yards, senior wideout Kooper Wilson hauled in three receptions for 19 yards and both senior tight end Jonathon Geier and senior wide receiver Wyatt Espinosa finished with 17 yards.

Defensively, the Tigers allowed just 199 total yards of offense to the Pintos as California rushed for 166 yards and threw for another 33 yards. Versailles junior linebacker Michael Trotter had a nose for the ball with 12 total tackles while sophomore linebacker Gage Tessier and Williams both finished with seven.

Versailles improves to 2-2 with the win and up next for the Tigers is a trip to Warsaw (2-2) for a conference battle Friday night at 7 p.m. The Wildcats are coming off a tough 38-0 shoutout at the hands of Osage.

Recently, the matchup between the two schools has gone well for Versailles as the Tigers have won two straight games against the Wildcats by a combined score of 81 to 28 including a 35-14 win a season ago. In 2017, Ryan Boyer’s Wildcats are averaging 12.5 points per contest and the defense is giving up 21 points per contest. By comparison, Versailles is averaging 24.2 points per game with the defense giving up 29.2 points per game.

For a Tiger defense allowing 6.3 rushing yards per carry, the key to halting Warsaw in its tracks is stopping the run as the numbers show it is no secret that running the ball is exactly what the Wildcats would like to do. According to the most recent stats available, Warsaw put up 500 rushing yards and seven touchdowns over the first three games with two running backs that have combined for 289 rushing yards (4.2 yards per carry). Meanwhile, quarterback Matt Luebbert’s legs have helped him more than his arm as he has totaled 184 rushing yards while throwing for just 181 passing yards and no touchdowns respectively.

Offensively, Versailles can give Warsaw fits by effectively utilizing all the weapons in its arsenal. The Tigers are averaging 5.3 rushing yards per game totaling 655 rushing yards and nine touchdowns through four games with Dobbins (398 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Grant Hutchison (100 rushing yards, 1 touchdown) leading the way. The passing game has also been solid with Williams completing 66 percent of his passes for 568 yards and five touchdowns and Wilson being a consistent threat all year with a team-leading 357 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

Time will soon tell if the Tigers are up to the task of making it three straight wins against the Wildcats.

Camdenton looking to bring home win from Parkview

It was all Camdenton from the start.

The Lakers welcomed Kickapoo to the “Jaws of Death” Friday night for an Ozark Conference clash and Class 4A Camdenton had no trouble sending the Class 6A Chiefs home with a 35-7 defeat. It was Camdenton’s first win over Kickapoo since 2012.

The Lakers implemented some trickery on their opening drive as senior fullback Seth Harris found senior wide receiver Jackson Ezard on a 9-yard halfback pass for his second touchdown pass of the season to make it 7-0 early in the first quarter.

Camdenton came right back with another touchdown drive. This time, senior fullback Todd Simpson carried the ball across the goal line for a 1-yard score untouched to put the Lakers up 14-0 by the end of the first quarter.

Kickapoo did not stay quiet for much longer though. After a fumbled punt return from Harris, the Chiefs cut the deficit in half with a 21-yard touchdown pass. However, the Laker offense continued to roll as a 35-yard run from Ezard was followed up by a 2-yard touchdown run from Simpson to make it 20-7 before halftime.

With the “Hogs” among the offensive line clearing the way up front in the trenches, it did not take the Camdenton offense long to find the end zone again as senior wide receiver Jake Hill took a handoff 26 yards to the house and Harris punched in a 2-point conversion to extend the lead to 28-7 near the end of the third quarter. The final score of the night came through the air. After another punishing run from Ezard that went 41 yards, senior quarterback Isaiah Lumley hit Hill in stride for a 26-yard touchdown pass to wrap it up.

By the end of the night, Camdenton totaled 392 rushing yards on 56 carries (7 yards per carry) as Ezard hit the century mark with a team-leading 100 yards while Harris put up 55, Hill totaled 49 and Simpson recorded 40. Lumley finished the night completing five of his eight pass attempts for 35 yards with Hill and Ezard combining for 43 of the team’s 44 total passing yards.

The “Purple Haze” defense turned in a solid performance, allowing just 149 total yards of offense on the night. Harris led the charge with four tackles, an interception and two forced fumbles and the Lakers recorded four total tackles for a loss with senior defensive lineman Connor Whitney and sophomore defensive lineman Mason Kinney recording sacks.

Camdenton improves to 3-1 on the year and the Lakers will hit the road Friday night for another conference clash at Parkview (1-3) at 7 p.m.

Paul Hansen’s Vikings (32.7 points per game, 44.2 points allowed) are coming off a 43-36 win at Waynesville and have some offensive weapons with a running back already closing in on 1,000 yards and averaging seven yards per carry; a quarterback who has thrown for over 600 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions and four receivers who have pulled in over 100 yards. That can all be minimized though if the Laker defense is sharp and the offense continues to effectively run the ball and wind out the clock.

Parkview has not beaten Camdenton since 2012 and the Lakers certainly have no intention of letting that streak come to an end.

Osage looking to stay successful on the road at Southern Boone

School of the Osage set the tone early.

The offense marched the ball down the field, the defense pitched a shutout and the end result was a 38-0 win at Warsaw Friday night.

“It is always important to punch them in the mouth early,” Osage senior Nick Riley said of the mindset needed on Friday nights. “Show them who is going to dominate the game and let them know they are never going to be on top.”

Turns out all of his teammates were on the same page. After Warsaw started to gain some momentum on the opening drive of the game with eight plays and crossed into Indian territory, the Osage defense forced a fumble and the Indians never looked back.

Osage needed just five plays and a little over two minutes to score as senior quarterback Zach Wheeler hit senior running back Austin Magnuson on a 29-yard screen that saw the senior carry Wildcat tacklers into the end zone to make it 6-0 at 7:02. The next drive took just over a minute as Wheeler found his running back Riley on a 10-yard touchdown pass in the teeth of the Warsaw defense and Magnuson made it 18-0 by the end of the first quarter as he dashed for a 43-yard touchdown run while running over two more Wildcats.

The second quarter did not run quite as smoothly as Osage would have liked. A Wheeler pass to senior wideout Drake Gaines that resembled a jump ball was intercepted in the end zone, another pass to junior receiver Dalton Depeé was bobbled and also picked off and the Indians also marched to the Wildcat 18-yard line before a turnover on downs ensued.

Still, Osage held its ground and finished out the half strong as the offense marched 70 yards in just over two minutes to see Riley jump over the pile for a 1-yard score with two seconds remaining to make it 24-0 at the break.

Osage came out swinging in the second half as the Riley cousins went to work. On the second play from scrimmage, Nick made a punishing 50-yard run breaking multiple tackles to the Warsaw 4-yard line and senior wideout Ian Riley finished off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run.

Osage rushed for a total of 218 yards on the night with Nick leading the way on eight carries for 77 yards while Magnuson rushed for 51 yards of his own on just four carries. Wheeler completed eight of his 12 passes for 145 yards and Gaines led the receiving corps with three receptions for 69 yards while Nick also pulled in three receptions for 39 yards.

Warsaw threatened to score as the Wildcats drove to the Indian 4-yard line midway through the third quarter, but the Osage defensive unit had no intentions of ruining the shutout. On 4th-and-2, Magnuson chased down the Warsaw quarterback from his linebacker position and forced a fumble that was scooped up and returned by junior linebacker Garrett Sutherland 95 yards to the house to create the final margin.

It was just one of a number of solid plays from the Indian defense. The Wildcats had 12 offensive drives that resulted in five three-and-outs, three turnovers and two failed fourth down conversion attempts. Osage also forced Warsaw to into 3rd-and-8 or more on seven of those drives. Magnuson recorded 15 tackles to lead the defensive unit, Depeé put up 12 and both Nick and senior Ben Baker finished the night with nine respectively.

It was a successful start to the first of three straight road games for Osage as the Indians are now on a winning streak. Johnson pointed out that it is important to keep building and take a step forward each week, continuing to improve on the positive things and addressing the areas of weakness. The coach was also glad to see his guys stay healthy Friday night as they get ready for the challenges ahead.

“We have to get used to playing well on the road and I’ve always believed that if you are going to get where you want to get at the end of the season, you have to play a tough team on the road and win,” he said. “I think it is an important attribute to be able to play your best ball wherever it is and whatever the situation is, so our guys did a good job of coming out here, executing and doing what they had to do. We are pleased with that.”

Now, Osage (3-1) turns its attention to a Southern Boone team (2-2) that Johnson says cannot be underestimated. The Eagles are currently averaging 19.2 points per game and giving up 24.2 points per contest respectively. At the same time, the Indians are putting up 27 points per game and allowing 14.7 points.

“Our conference is tremendous and it is really an impressive conference,” the coach said. “Every week there is going to be a good team that we play and Southern Boone has a lot of good athletes and a lot of good weapons. They are big up front and their quarterback has been hurt the last couple of weeks, but I’m sure he’ll be healthy and ready to go. They just have a lot of weapons we are going to have to contain and we are going to have to play disciplined football to win the game.”

However, the Indians can take a little comfort in the fact that they have won their last two games by a combined score of 69 to 6.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.