Osage Indians, Eldon, Mustangs, Camdenton Lakers and Versailles Tigers

Osage preparing for district playoff battle at Springfield Catholic

Osage wrapped up the regular season against California Friday night and the Indians quickly went to work against the visitors with a 47-14 win over the Pintos.

It began with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Osage senior quarterback Zach Wheeler to junior running back Hunter Neiman not even two minutes into the game. Then Wheeler ran in a 4-yard touchdown and senior running back Austin Magnuson punched in a 1-yard score to quickly extend the lead to 18-0 by the end of the first quarter.

Magnuson repeated the feat early in the second quarter with another 1-yard touchdown run and did so again after halftime with a 3-yard run to total three touchdowns on the night. Then Osage went back to the air as Wheeler found the tall senior wideout Drake Gaines for a 3-yard touchdown pass to make it 40-7 midway through the third. The final score of the night came on a “pick-six” from junior defensive back Dalton Depeé as he returned an interception 38-yards to the house.

Wheeler finished the night hitting on 13 of his 23 pass attempts for 180 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Depeé was the top receiver with 114 yards on six catches and Gaines was a big red zone threat with four catches for 43 yards including both touchdowns. On the ground, sophomore quarterback Drew Edwards put up a team-leading 54 yards and Magnuson finished with 33 yards and three scores.

On the defensive side of the ball, Magnuson had 12 tackles to lead the Indians at linebacker while junior linebacker Traygen Whittle and the defensive back Edwards had 10 tackles each. Senior defensive back Ian Riley also pulled down an interception along with Depeé.

Osage finishes the regular season at 5-4 and the sixth-seeded Indians will kickoff district playoff action with a trip to No. 3 Springfield Catholic (7-2) on Friday night at 7 p.m.

These two sides are familiar with each other as the last time these two teams met was in the first round of districts in 2015 where Osage cruised to a 35-0 shutout at home. The Indians also won the 2014 playoff game by a score of 55-14, but the present Fighting Irish team has put together a solid year averaging 28.7 points per contest while giving up just 10.8 points per contest respectively. By comparison, Osage is averaging 32.5 points per contest while giving up 26.3 points of its own.

The Fighting Irish defense may not be easy to attack, but Osage is at its best when the passing and running game is fairly balanced in perfect harmony. Wheeler has put up 1,689 yards and 21 touchdowns through the air and Gaines has pulled in most of those yards (619 yards, nine touchdowns) while Depeé has put up 566 receiving yards and six touchdowns of his own. On the ground, senior running backs Nick Riley (592 rushing yards, 8 touchdowns) and Magnuson (382 yards, 6 touchdowns) have been an effective combo and also compliment the passing game with a combined 456 receiving yards and six touchdowns between them. They will all need to be in harmony once again.

Defensively, the linebacker Magnuson has led the way with 131 total tackles while Whittle has put up 83. Depeé has recorded 75. The defensive unit has averaged seven tackles for a loss per game, including 19 total sacks on the year, and the unit has also pulled down nine interceptions and scooped up nine fumbles. Field position is always key in any game and the defense will have to continue to remain on its toes in order to walk away the winner Friday night.

Osage will look to be the team on top when the clock hits zero and advance to the district semifinals for the third straight year in pursuit of the program’s first district title since 2014.

Eldon looks to carry momentum into district playoffs

It was yet another good night for Eldon.

The Mustangs visited Hallsville for the regular season finale and had little trouble dispatching the Indians with a 35-14 win. It was a fairly close contest at the half with Eldon holding a narrow 16-14 lead, but the visitors dominated the second half with 19 unanswered points.

Junior fullback Isaiah Parsons had a big night for the Mustangs as he led all ball carriers with 185 rushing yards and a touchdown on 27 attempts while senior running back Isaiah Merida put up 67 yards on the ground and a touchdown and junior quarterback Dawson Brandt added 22 yards and a rushing touchdown of his own.

Brandt also had a solid night through the air as the junior gunslinger completed four of his six pass attempts for 89 yards and two touchdowns. Senior tight end Cole Walker hauled in three of those passes for 74 yards and a touchdown while Merida’s 15-yard catch resulted in the other touchdown.

Defensively, Brandt helped to keep Hallsville at bay with nine total tackles at defensive back while Walker put up eight tackles from his position at linebacker. Senior defensive backs Austin Pipes and Merida also made things tough for Hallsville with an interception each.

Eldon closed out the regular season with five straight wins to finish 8-1 for the fifth time in school history. Now. the Mustangs will look to extend the winning streak by six more games to bring home a state title. Eldon is the No. 2 seed in the Class 3 District 13 playoffs and will host No. 7 Buffalo (3-6) on Friday night at 7 p.m.

The Mustangs have been on a hot streak, but Buffao has not as the Bison come into the playoffs with four straight losses. Buffalo averages 26.3 points per game and gives up 27.4 per game while Eldon is scoring 48.1 points per game and giving up 25.7 points per game respectively.

The numbers may favor Eldon, but the Mustangs have to continue to play at a high level when the season is on the line. The good news is that there are plenty of options to go.

On the offensive side of the ball, the rushing attack has continued to stay relentless averaging 7.1 yards per carry with Merida (1,262 yards, 18 touchdowns), Parsons (869 yards, 16 touchdowns) and a quick quarterback in Brandt (509 yards, 9 touchdowns). The passing game has not been too bad either with Brandt’s 533 yards and 10 touchdowns and four receivers that have put up at least 100 receiving yards (Pipes, Merida, Walker and junior running back Trenton Dillon). Defensively, Eldon is also fortunate to have some hard-hitters and have often been in the right place at the right time if the two interceptions against Hallsville are any indication.

Time will soon tell if Eldon can continue to put it all together when the Mustangs take the field Friday night.

Camdenton preparing for rematch with Hillcrest in district opener

The challenge for Camdenton Friday night was not an easy one.

The Lakers welcomed the Glendale Falcons for Senior Night at Bob Shore Stadium and were faced with the task of slowing down Glendale’s Alex Hutson, who is the best statistical quarterback in the United States. Thankfully, Camdenton was up to the challenge and pulled away with a 63-36 win.

Glendale threw the first punch needing just under 30 seconds to hit pay dirt on a 38-yard touchdown pass to go up 8-0, but Camdenton instantly responded with a 90-yard kickoff return from senior speedster Jake Hill as the wideout outran Falcon defenders and took the ball up the left sideline. Then, senior fullback Seth Harris ran in for the 2-point conversion to tie it.

After a 22-yard Glendale touchdown pass to make it 16-8, Camdenton’s offense was stuffed on the ensuing drive, but an interception from senior defensive back Jackson Ezard on the next defensive series put the Lakers back in business. A few plays later, senior quarterback Isaiah Lumley found a streaking Hill across the middle for a 61-yard touchdown pass to chop the deficit to 16-14.

Then it was junior defensive back Jaben Shockley’s turn to pull down an interception. The Falcons would regain the lead again on a 9-yard touchdown pass to go up 22-14, and had a chance to extend the lead after another empty Laker offensive drive, but Shockley scooped up a dropped pass just before it hit the ground to set his team up at the Glendale 40-yard line. Then the offense complimented him with a 24-yard touchdown run from Harris on the final play of the first quarter. A Lumley pass to Ezard added another two points on the board to tie the game up at 22.

Glendale was not done just yet though as a 29-yard strike found the end zone to put the Falcons back on top 28-22. It seemed another offensive drive would come up empty for the Lakers after punting the ball away on the following drive, but the ball touched the foot of the Glendale punt returner and senior Gabe Kurtz pounced on the pigskin to give his team the ball back at the Glendale 44-yard line. Moments later, Camdenton captured its first lead of the night on a 2-yard touchdown dive from Harris who flew over the top of the pile to make it 29-28.

Once Camdenton had the lead, it had no intention of giving it up and the Lakers did not even have to attempt a single pass on any of it drives in the second half. The Lakers marched back out of the locker room and the “Hogs” went to work as Camenton ran the ball straight through the Falcon defense. Harris found the end zone on a 1-yard run, a 60-yard fake reverse and another 15-yard run that saw Camdenton put up 20 unanswered points. Senior running back Jay Griffin and senior fullback Bo Shore put up the final scores of the night on touchdown runs of 10 yards and seven yards respectively.

With the line taking care of things up front, the Laker running backs wore down the Falcon defense time and time again. Griffin led all ball carriers with 129 yards, Harris put up 107 and Shore put up 41 yards respectively. Overall, Camdenton rushed for 290 yards on the night.

On the defensive side, Camdenton added one more turnover when Maasen, who blocked an extra point earlier, forced a fumble by punching the ball out of the hands of a Glendale receiver for junior defensive back Andrew Butts to scoop up. Numerous penalties put Glendale’s offense in a funk and sacks from seniors Cory Eskridge, Mason Bowles and Kurtz did not help things either.

Camdenton wraps up the regular season at 7-2 and the fourth-seeded Lakers will host a familiar Ozark Conference foe in fifth-seeded Hillcrest in the district opener Friday night at 7 p.m. The Lakers knocked off the Hornets 35-13 in the home and season opener, however Shore said this is not exactly the same Hillcrest team.

“They have improved immensely from the first game this season,” Shore said of a team that finished the regular season at 5-4. “We were really ready to play that game and played a really good ballgame to beat them so we are going to have to play another really good ballgame to beat them again.”

Versailles looking to make some playoff noise with trip to El Dorado Springs

Versailles took a trip to Southern Boone Friday night and it was a tough night for the Tigers as they were shutout 47-0.

It was just a 6-0 game after one quarter of play, but the Eagles were able to extend the lead to 27-0 by halftime and never looked back.

It was simply just tough for the Versailles offense to gain any momentum as the Eagles did not yield very many yards on the evening.

The Tigers put up just 41 rushing yards with senior running back Taylor Dobbins leading all ball carriers with 18 yards while sophomore quarterback Coby Williams added another 13 yards of his own. The passing game was just as tough as Williams completed 10 of his 17 pass attempts for 63 yards and two interceptions. Senior wideout Kooper Wilson hauled in six of those passes for a team-leading 33 receiving yards.

Meanwhile, Southern Boone dashed for 304 rushing yards and added another 80 yards through the air on its trips to the end zone. However, there was one highlight for the Tiger defensive unit as junior defensive back Wyatt Espinosa intercepted an errant Southern Boone throw.

It may have been a tough end to the season, but now Versailles will get to compete against schools closer to its own size.

The Tigers end the 2017 regular season at 2-7 and will meet El Dorado Springs (5-4) in the first round of the Class 2 District 4 Tournament on Friday night at 7 p.m.

The Bulldogs of El Dorado Springs are currently averaging 32.6 points per game and are allowing 19 points per game respectively. Meanwhile, Versailles is scoring 17.9 points per game and giving up 39.5 points per game.

Versailles will be looking to start fresh against a Class 2 school after ending the season with five straight losses, but will need to halt the momentum of an El Dorado Springs team that closed out the regular season winning four of their last five games.

Time will soon tell if the Tigers are up to the task.