Camdenton shuts down Waynesville in season opener

Camdenton could not have asked for a much better start to its 2018 season.

The Lakers opened up with a trip to Ozark Conference rival Waynesville and five Tiger turnovers and a blocked punt combined with an efficient Laker offense spelled a 49-0 shutout for the visitors.

It did not take long for Camdenton to take advantage as a forced fumble from senior defensive end Kylan Draper was recovered by senior defensive back Gabe Kurtz at the Tiger 23-yard line. Just two plays later, the first points of the night were on the board when junior quarterback Paxton DeLaurent found senior tailback Lathan Wise for a 7-yard touchdown pass.

Senior defensive lineman Riley Stidham was the next opportunist for the Lakers as his fumble recovery set Camdenton up with good field position that eventually led DeLaurent to find junior running back Jase Nicklas for a 20-yard strike to extend the advantage to 14-0. That same formula continued to bear fruit as Draper pounced on a loose ball at the Waynesville 20-yard line and DeLaurent managed to hit senior receiver Cooper Ezard for a touchdown pass on a 4th-and-10 scramble from the Tiger 19.

Not long after, sophomore Eli Griffin punched in a 2-yard touchdown run and DeLaurent hooked up with Ezard once again before halftime to create a comfortable 35-0 halftime lead. Waynesville was threatening just before intermission, but Wise had other plans in mind as the linebacker intercepted an errant throw near the end zone to preserve the shutout.

DeLaurent stayed sharp in the second half with a 27-yard touchdown toss to senior wideout Dylan Tufts to make it 42-0. Camdenton took advantage of the final Waynesville turnover of the night when senior linebacker Jackson Rideout joined the fumble recovery crew to set the Lakers up at the Tiger 14. Then, Ezard completed the touchdown hat trick just a few plays later as he gladly accepted a pass from sophomore quarterback Mason Draper to conclude the offensive attack.

Camdenton (1-0) will look to remain unbeaten when the Lakers take on Parkview in the home opener on Friday at 7 p.m.

Stats will be added to this story as soon as they become available

Eldon rushes past Bolivar in season opener

Eldon kept up the pace Friday night in the season opener against Bolivar.

Each time the visiting Liberators pulled within a touchdown, the hosts had an answer and went on to enjoy a 42-26 win in the first meeting between the two sides in 20 years. A solid run game helped make that possible as the Mustangs galloped for 403 yards on the ground.

After both sides came up empty on their opening series, a short punt set Eldon up at Bolivar’s 30-yard line and the Mustangs took advantage as senior running back Isaiah Parsons finished the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run for the first points of the year to put his team up 6-0. Following a 23-touchdown season as a junior, Parsons did not skip a beat in his first game as a senior as his trip to the end zone would be the first of three on the evening where he compiled a total of 65 rushing yards.

The Mustangs managed to extend their lead to 12-0 early in the second quarter by opting to go to the air as a 26-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Dawson Brandt found the hands of junior running back Logan Hall. Just like the first try, the ensuing two-point conversion attempt failed.

Bolivar decided to respond with a quick strike on its next drive as a 67-yard Hayden Burks pass to Cooper Hitchcock cut the deficit in half after a failed extra point attempt. However, the Eldon offensive line rewarded Parsons with his second score of the night on the next drive as he punched the football in from a yard out and Brandt added two more points with a short run. The back-and-forth continued, though, with Burks hitting Brock Pits to chop the deficit back to 20-12. The Liberators also had a chance to potentially to tie the game before halftime, but a fumble near the end zone was recovered by Eldon’s Trenton Phillips for a touchback to end the threat.

A quiet third quarter would not be repeated in the final frame. Brandt put the Mustangs back up by two scores with a 16-yard run while Hall tacked on the 2-point conversion with his own run. Bolivar continued to fight as Logan Hawk found pay dirt on the next drive with a 36-yard scramble and Seth Smith punched in the 2-point conversion. However, it was the closest the Liberators would get the rest of the way.

The Eldon offense continued to flow as a 7-yard touchdown run from Parsons and a 64-yard dash to the end zone by Brandt with two more successful 2-point conversions from the quarterback gave the Mustangs a comfortable 36-20 advantage with just a few minutes remaining. Brandt finished his night with 250 rushing yards and two scores on the ground to lead Eldon while completing four of his eight passes for 40 yards and another touchdown respectively.

Smith pulled in a 10-yard touchdown reception from Burks with 45 seconds left to create the final margin, but it was too little too late. Brandt, who earned All-State honors as a defensive back last season, led the defense with five tackles and Hall contributed four of his own.

Eldon (1-0) will hit the road to take on a familiar foe in Owensville Friday at 7 p.m. In 2017, the two sides combined for a total of 264 points in a pair of high-scoring shootouts.

Versailles unable to slow down Knob Noster in season opener

Versailles launched the 2018 season at Knob Noster Friday night and it was a tough start for the Tigers.

Winners of four straight meetings with the Panthers in the annual series that dates back to 2008, that trend would not continue in this episode of the gridiron battle as a staunch Knob Noster rushing attack led to a 68-30 defeat for the visitors.

Knob Noster accumulated 468 total rushing yards and scored the first 24 points of the night before the Tigers could respond. Despite the steep hill, Versailles managed to cut the deficit to 10 early in the third quarter before the Panthers eventually pulled away.

Versailles junior quarterback Coby Williams led the Tigers with both his arms and legs where he totaled 146 rushing yards and two scores on the ground and another 64 yards and a touchdown in the passing attack. Senior tailback Michael Trotter rushed for 48 yards, junior receiver Kaden McGinnis caught a pass for 39 yards and senior wideout Wyatt Espinosa hauled in a 23-yard touchdown pass for his only catch of the night.

The defense was led by Trotter who racked up 17.5 tackles at linebacker and Williams scooped up a fumble and took it 61 yards to the house for a score while playing safety, but the Panther offense was relentless as it averaged 9.3 yards per carry.

The Tigers (0-1) will try to rebound on Friday when they take a trip to Buffalo. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.