Camdenton Lakers, Versailles Tigers, Osage Indians and Eldon Mustangs

Camdenton looking to extend win streak in battle with Rolla

Camdenton put on an offensive clinic Friday night at Parkview.

Whether it was on the ground or through the air, the Lakers found the end zone early and often in a scoring frenzy totaling 776 total yards of offense and the end result was a 70-34 win over the Vikings. It was the most points Camdenton has put up since hanging 58 at Rolla in 2014 and the most the team has put up since at least the beginning of the decade with the data that is available.

The Lakers scored on their first five possessions and never looked back as they took a 57-20 lead to halftime and went into cruise control.

The “Hogs” up front among the offensive line lit the green light for Camdenton running backs and opened up running lanes throughout the night as the Lakers put up 598 rushing yards. Senior fullback Todd SImpson led the assault with 228 yards on just four carries to go with two touchdowns that came on runs of 95 yards and 90 yards respectively. Sophomore running back Jeremy Bernabe and senior wide receiver Jake Hill also found pay dirt on runs of four yards and 14 yards. Last but not least, senior running back Jay Griffin- Camdenton’s leading rusher from 2016 who missed the first four games due to a knee injury in the jamboree- got a warm welcome back as he punched in a 5-yard score.

The passing game proved to be just as deadly behind the arms of senior gunslinger Isaiah Lumley and the young sophomore Paxton DeLaurent. The former quarterback was sharp completing 10 of his 11 passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns while the latter’s only completion was a 17-yard touchdown pass. Hill led the receivers with 51 yards and a touchdown reception while senior tight end Luke Rasmussen made his only catch of the night count on a 3-yard touchdown reception of his own. Junior wideout Jaben Shockley was also reliable in the red zone with two catches for 19 yards and two touchdowns.

Camdenton (4-1) will host a Rolla team (3-2) for Homecoming next week that is coming off a 41-34 win against Waynesville. With West Plains losing 28-26 to Joplin on Friday, the Ozark Conference title is still in play for the Lakers with four conference games left to go.

Rolla has been in a shootout for most of the 2017 season averaging 35.6 points per game while giving up 31.2 points per game respectively. Senior quarterback Josh Pritchett has done it all for the Bulldogs with 1,239 passing yards and another 824 yards yards on the ground. He also has a trio of reliable receivers in Blaize Klossner, Jake Grooms and Davis Buhr who have each hauled in over 200 receiving yards and six of the team’s eight passing touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Camdenton is putting up 38.4 points per contest and the “Purple Haze” defense has been sharp allowing just 19.8 points per game respectively. If the Lakers even remotely resemble the dominating performance against Parkview, it should be a fun Homecoming night for the host team.

Camdenton has not lost to Rolla this decade with an average margin of victory of 30 points. However, the Lakers will not take anything for granted and look to take care of business on the field.

Camdenton and Rolla will clash at 7 p.m.

Versailles and Osage Keys to the Game

TALE OF THE TAPE:

-Versailles: 24.4 points per game and 29 points allowed

-Osage: 31.8 points per game and 22.8 points allowed

The battle for lake area bragging rights begins Friday night when Versailles welcomes School of the Osage for Homecoming at 7 p.m.

Both teams are coming off tough weeks and will be hungry to get back in the win column after victories narrowly eluded both sides. The Tigers (2-3) fell to Warsaw 28-21 and the Indians (3-2) fell to Southern Boone 55-51 in games where both teams had the opportunity to put together potentially game-winning drives. Osage has recently had the upper hand against Versailles, winning every game in the annual matchup since 2011, but each year is different and nothing is decided until the playing is done on the field. Without further ado, here are the keys to the game for Versailles and Osage.

VERSAILLES

1. Keep Grinding

This is a message that was often spouted by former Kansas City Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer, but it especially rings true for Versailles. The Tigers may have trailed in a few games this year, but the one thing they never seemed to lack was fight. Earlier this season, Versailles coach Broc Silvers pointed out that his players have played better in their first few games than they did a season ago and that certainly seems to be the case. After getting down quickly to Blair Oaks, the Class 2 Tigers fought back and only lost by three scores to the No. 3 Class 3 team in the state. Last week, the Tigers made a goal line stand backed up on the 1-yard line to give the offense a chance to get back in it. If Versailles can keep that competitive mindset Friday night, anything is possible.

2. Offensive Harmony

Versailles has been fairly balanced offensively in its method of operation and the Tigers are at their best when all their weapons get involved on the ground and in the air. The ground game features a dynamic duo of running backs in senior Taylor Dobbins (447 yards, 5 touchdowns, 7.9 yards per carry) and junior Grant Hutchison (104 yards, 1 touchdown, 5.4 yards per carry). The passing attack has also featured reliable wideouts in senior Kooper Wilson (438 yards, 3 touchdowns) and junior Wyatt Espinosa (97 yards) along with Dobbins out of the backfield with 90 yards and a touchdown. Making it all click is sophomore gunslinger Coby Williams who has been effective with both his arms and legs, throwing for 741 yards and six touchdowns while rushing for 209 yards and another five touchdowns. If the Tigers can keep the Indian defense guessing, the night could bode well offensively.

3. Win The Turnover Battle

Turnovers cannot only give a team great field position, but also swing the momentum of the game. Osage’s offense can be tough to stop as it features “Four Horsemen” with two productive running backs and receivers that can do a lot of damage in a hurry. However, Osage has also proven to be turnover prone with nine interceptions and six fumbles. Versailles’ Michael Trotter, Williams, Espinosa and Wilson all have an interception on the season and Chase Hyman has scooped up a fumble. Stopping the Osage offense is easier said than done, but if the Tigers can seize on the turnovers and turn those opportunities into points on the scoreboard, it may be a fun night for Versailles.

OSAGE

1. Bounce Right Back

Losing a game where a win was literally just out of reach with a narrow incomplete pass in the end zone on the final play, is undoubtedly tough to swallow. However, the Indians can either let the loss linger and affect the next game or they can bounce right back and get back to the type of winning football they know they are capable of. Osage coach Devin Johnson and his staff will certainly choose the latter route as the team’s theme for the year has been “Winning the Day” where the team’s only focus is on the task ahead of them- one play and one game at a time. If that is where the focus resides Friday night, Osage should get back on track.

2. Keep It Clean

The Osage offense has shown its explosive capability each week with big plays and how quickly it can score, as long as the Indians don’t turn the ball over. Indeed, the team’s biggest opponent may be themselves as most defenses have had trouble slowing down the attack so far in 2017. The toughest night came against a loss to Seneca where the Indians coughed up four turnovers, but they have been sharp since then averaging 40 points in the last three games. Senior quarterback Zach Wheeler has completed 60 percent of its passes for 1,032 yards and 11 touchdowns while senior wide receiver Drake Gaines, junior wideout Dalton Depeé and senior running back Nick Riley have combined for 832 of those yards and 10 touchdowns. Meanwhile the rushing game has also been relentless with Riley (480 yards, 8 touchdowns, 7.1 yards per carry) and senior running back Austin Magnuson (297 yards, 3 touchdowns. 5 yards per carry) leading the charge. The arsenal is there- Osage just has to utilize it and move the chains.

3. Eyes on the Quarterback

Versailles features several weapons on offense, but the man that may pose the biggest threat is the dual-threat quarterback Williams who has already shown his mobility and the strength of his arm so far this season. The Osage defense has not allowed 50 or more points since a 52-49 loss to Eldon in 2015, so the unit will look to quickly regain its focus and tenacity after giving up 55 to Southern Boone last week. To do so, Williams will need to be contained inside the pocket and forced to make tough throws. The Indians are certainly capable of doing this, averaging 7.2 tackles for a loss while putting up eight sacks so far in 2017. Osage has also done well to force turnovers with three interceptions and six fumble recoveries to date. If Osage can shut down the opposing quarterback and minimize his effect on the game, the Indians may very well be looking at another road win.

Eldon looking to defend home turf for Homecoming against Warsaw

Eldon enforced its will Friday night.

The state-ranked Class 3 No. 10 Mustangs welcomed California for a Tri-County Conference clash and dictated the outcome early en route to a 55-14 win. Eldon could not ask for a much better start as the Mustangs found the end zone on their first six offensive drives and did not look back the rest of the way.

By the end of the night, Eldon totaled 456 yards of offense with 389 of those yards coming on the ground and another 67 coming through the air.

It began with a 53-yard drive on the opening possession of the night where Eldon needed just under five minutes to find the end zone. Facing a 4th-and-4, junior quarterback Dawson Brandt converted the first of three successful fourth down conversions with a 14-yard run and moments later junior fullback Isaiah Parsons punched in a 1-yard touchdown run. Brandt hit senior running back Trenton Dillon for the 2-point conversion and the Mustangs quickly went up 8-0.

Then Eldon lined up and did it again over the next five offensive series. Parsons scored on runs of two yards and nine yards to lead the Mustangs with three touchdowns on the night, senior running back Isaiah Merida ran for a 52-yard score and hauled in a 58-yard pass touchdown pass, Brandt dashed 51 yards down the sideline for a score and sophomore running back Clayton Moore scored on a 7-yard run.

Just like that, it was 48-0 Eldon midway through the third quarter and the Mustangs scored on all but one of the team’s nine offensive drives. Senior running back Jordan Metz put in the final score of the night on a 3-yard run.

Merida led the rushing attack with 105 yards, Brandt finished with 81 and Metz put up 63 yards of his own respectively to keep the running game fresh as Eldon used seven different ball carriers. Through the air, Merida also led the way with the 57-yard touchdown reception while senior tight end Cole Walker also pulled down a 10-yard pass as Brandt completed two of his six pass attempts for 67 yards.

As impressive as the offense was, the defense was just as imposing as California was held to just 154 total yards of offense on the night. Brandt at defensive back and Walker at linebacker led the charge with five total tackles each while Merida recorded four tackles of his own from the defensive back position. Dillon and fellow senior linebackers Tanner Myers and Thaddeus May also gave California fits as the trio combined for four total sacks.

Eldon (4-1) will take on a 3-2 Warsaw team for Homecoming that held on for a 28-21 win over Versailles Friday night. While there will be plenty of Homecoming festivities to be enjoyed throughout the course of the week, Jolley said the focus will be on taking care of business Friday night.

“I know they are much improved,” Jolley said of Warsaw. “Everybody is looking to get better and as you make improvements, it is just as tough to stay up near the top (conference) so our main goal is making sure we are doing what we need to do.”

Ryan Boyer’s Wildcats come into the contest averaging just 15.6 points per game and Eldon’s defense (allowing 27.4 points per game) has proven to be unforgiving with offenses struggling to put points on the board if the result against California is any indication. Meanwhile, the Warsaw defense has been allowing 21 points per game and will look to halt a Mustang offense that has had little trouble moving the ball averaging 39.6 points per game respectively. In last year’s matchup, Eldon secured a 49-17 win on the road.

If Eldon remains just as sound and dialed in on both sides of the ball as the Mustangs were against California, indeed throughout most of the season, the Homecoming festivities should not be spoiled. The action gets underway Friday night at 7 p.m.