Eldon Mustangs, Versailles Tigers, Camdenton Lakers and Osage Indians
Keys to the Game for Eldon and Versailles
Highway 52 bragging rights will be on the line Friday night.
Versailles and Eldon will get together for their annual meeting on the gridiron as the Tigers look to claim a Lake area sweep after knocking off Osage last week while Eldon looks to get back on track after last week’s loss at Boonville and defend home territory. After exercising a demon by beating Osage for the first time since 2010, Versailles (4-3, 3-2 Tri-County Conference) will look to do the same against the Mustangs and end another seven-year drought. Eldon (4-3, 2-3 Tri-County Conference) would love nothing more than to continue that drought and head to the regular season finale against rival Osage with some momentum. Last season, the Mustangs had little trouble with their neighbors as they topped Versailles 69-20. Time will soon tell what this chapter has in store.
ELDON KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Have Fun At Home
After two straight road gamess , Eldon will be playing in front of the home crowd at Victor Field for the final time in the regular season and there are no guarantees the Mustangs will get to host a playoff game in week 10. To do so, Eldon needs to stay in the top four of the eight-team district and the Mustangs are currently in fourth place with 32.71 points while fifth place Salem has 27.84. That should serve as plenty of motivation going into a battle with Versailles and it is also an opportunity to get back on track after last week’s lopsided loss. Playing at home in the playoffs is always preferable to the alternative and the home crowd will be sure to make the support felt. Eldon needs to feed off it and give the crowd a reason to cheer on both sides of the ball. The Mustangs certainly have the personnel to make the most of it and end the regular season with only one home defeat.
2. Dominate Up Front
It is clear that Eldon is always at its best if the offensive line is pushing people around in the trenches and giving ball carriers plenty of room to work with. Versailles is currently allowing 29 points per game including an average of 226.3 rushing yards per game or six yards per carry so this should excite the Mustang ground attack. Senior tailback Isaiah Parsons (710 rushing yards, 5.1 yards per carry and eight touchdowns) is always a threat to get loose and the same can be said of junior tailback Logan Hall who is the team’s second-leading rusher with 467 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. If Brandt is back as the field general, Eldon becomes even more dangerous as he has 467 yards and four touchdowns of his own, averaging 7.2 yards per carry, to go with an arm that has tossed for 158 yards and a touchdown respectively. As long as the quarterback has time to make the right reads, thanks to the line up front, Hall can be dangerous as a receiver as well with 12 catches for 236 yards and a touchdown. So, the task is fairly simple- win in the trenches and it will likely lead to a win on the scoreboard.
3. Eyes On The Quarterback
The primary objective for Eldon’s defense will be stopping the dangerous dual-threat quarterback of Versailles. The elusive Williams is also the team’s leading rusher by nearly 400 yards and he has almost accumulated just as many yards with his legs as he has with his arm, accounting for 20 total touchdowns and about 76 percent of the Tiger offense. Williams has weapons at his disposal, including two receivers with over 24 catches and 200 receiving yards each, but Williams is the motor that makes it all work for an offense averaging 25.1 points per contest. If Eldon can contain Williams by applying pressure and not allowing him to break loose and escape the pocket, it may very well be the team ahead on the scoreboard at the end of the night. Updated Eldon defensive stats were not available at the time of press, but after six weeks Parsons has shown an ability to disrupt plays in the backfield with 43 total tackles including seven that have resulted in a loss to go with three forced fumbles. Brandt, who has 42 total tackles to go with three interceptions and two forced fumbles, and junior linebacker Kaden Dillon (41 tackles) will also need to make their presence felt Friday night.
VERSAILLES KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Finish Strong
This season has already come with a few milestone wins over larger Class 3 schools like Buffalo, Southern Boone and Osage and Eldon would be a nice team for the program to add to the list. Not only would it guarantee a winning record for the first time since 2010, but a winning conference record as well. Versailles has already guaranteed a winning record against Class 3 programs. When Coach Broc Silvers first arrived at Versailles in 2013, the team went winless finishing the season at 0-10 and since 2015 the team has not won fewer than three games. This win would be a significant step forward for the program as it looks to cement itself among the top of the district standings. Currently, Versailles is third with 38.76 points trailing only Lamar and El Dorado Springs and a win over the Mustangs will have the team feeling good heading into its regular season finale against Hallsville.
2. Spread The Love
Eldon is likely already aware of what Versailles junior quarterback Coby Williams did to Osage last week after rushing for 200 yards and three touchdowns. Williams will likely be a point of interest on Eldon’s scouting report so if he starts to feel some pressure, it may be a good idea to utilize some other weapons to keep the Mustangs guessing. Williams has already displayed he is capable of distributing the pigskin as nine different Tigers have logged at least one reception and senior wideout Wyatt Espinosa and junior running back Dallas Waller have proven to be the most dangerous among them. The duo have a combined 54 receptions for 594 of Williams’ 976 passing yards and six of his eight touchdown passes. Senior running back Michael Trotter can also keep the ground attack fresh with 348 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Eldon’s defense is currently giving up 27 points per outing so the Tigers should have the ability to move the chains.
3. Stop The Run
It is unclear whether Eldon senior quarterback Dawson Brandt will be back under center after an injury that has kept him sidelined for a few weeks. He made an appearance last week against Boonville but regardless of who is taking the snaps, it is no secret that the Mustangs will simply choose to beat opponents on the ground if defenses will let them. Eldon is currently averaging 23.1 points per game with the rushing attack accounting for over 80 percent of its offense, churning for 5.1 yards per carry. Eldon has three players with over 500 rushing yards and a combined 13 touchdowns, but the passing game can be effective as well as the team also has four passing touchdowns. Trotter has led the way at linebacker with an eye-opening 92.5 tackles and 14 tackles for a loss with three sacks. He will have to be on his game once again and others like junior linebacker Brycen Reynolds, junior defensive lineman Quinn Randall and junior defensive lineman Riley Rademann have also shown a knack for making stops in the backfield with over four tackles resulting in a loss each.
Camdenton seeking fifth straight win in trip to Rolla
The Camdenton Lakers made sure to make the most out of their homecoming game by putting up big numbers in their dominant victory over the Glendale Falcons. With a good balance on all fronts, the Lakers were able to control each quarter and come out on top, 68-34.
Camdenton opened the game by forcing the Falcons to punt on a three-and-out. This would lead to the start of a big game for junior quarterback Paxton DeLaurent, as he would dive over the red zone pile to put up the team’s first score and move it to 7-0. Not long after, the Lakers soon found themselves up 21-0 before Glendale responded with its first touchdown of the night.
Camdenton would not be slowed down, though, taking a 47-22 lead into halftime of a game that featured a high-flying passing attack on both sides. By the end of the third quarter, it was 61-28 before the final margin was created.
Camdenton’s rushing attack did see a resurgence in the contest, putting up 166 yards total and accounting for five total touchdowns. DeLaurent would end his big night with 456 passing yards, 42 rushing yards, four passing touchdowns, one interception and one rushing score.
Kurtz led all receivers with six catches for 165 yards and a punt return touchdown to go with a touchdown reception and three other Lakers were on the receiving end of a touchdown as well. Senior receiver Cash Calton caught five passes for 55 yards, senior tailback Andrew Butts pulled in three catches for 41 yards and senior tailback Lathan Wise added two catches for 107 yards. On the ground, sophomore running back Eli Griffin ended with eight rushing attempts for 39 yards and two touchdowns. The team put together 31 first downs over the course of the night.
The Lakers will have to rely on depth looking into the remainder of the season, as the game saw a number of major injuries plague the victory. On top of the broken leg that junior Jase Nicklas endured at practice during the week, fellow junior Connor Thomas received a broken collarbone going into halftime and senior Andrew Butts also received an ankle injury in the second half.
Overall, Coach Jeff Shore thought the defense was able to adapt to Glendale’s high firing offense well. He says that assistants Tim McDuffy and Nick Bruck worked hard with their squads to prepare and bring out a great effort.
“They are a dangerous offensive team, I think we ignited tonight,” Shore said.
Shore says that the team is fortunate to have such great depth in all positions and knows with the injuries taken that the team will have to rely on this depth looking forward. He says the fresh legs on the field were able to keep the team balanced with the heavy amount of snaps being taken. He commended Thomas for his great efforts in his first half before his injury and Butts as well, though recognized the depth behind those players who did their jobs well.
Camdenton (6-1, 6-1 Ozark Conference) will finish the regular season on the road and it starts with a trip to Rolla on Friday night at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs are 5-2 on the year and will be hungry to bounce back after a tough 43-8 loss at the hands of Lebanon. Rolla is currently averaging 27.8 points and giving up 28 points per outing. Comparatively, Camdenton is putting up 47.9 points and allowing 17.9 points per contest.
Rolla junior quarterback Jack Hounsom has 465 passing yards for five touchdowns and three interceptions to go with six rushing touchdowns on the season, but the primary threat will be senior tailback Trey Quick who has totaled 1,345 yards (7.4 yards per carry) and 12 touchdowns. Through the air, senior receiver Roderick Alfred II is the biggest target with 11 receptions for 161 yards and three scores. Camdenton has forced 16 total turnovers with eight interceptions and eight fumble recoveries and a few more would not hurt in the team’s ability to halt the Bulldogs in their tracks.
Rolla will have plenty to worry about as well.
There may be a few injuries among the skill position group, but there is still plenty of depth. It begins with the arm of DeLaurent who is approaching some school passing records with 1,941 passing yards, 25 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Kurtz has emerge as the top target with 31 receptions for 480 yards and two scores while Calton (23 receptions, 229 yards and six touchdowns), senior Jaben Shockley (22 receptions, 358 yards and three touchdowns), Dylan Tufts (15 receptions, 177 yards and three touchdowns), senior Cooper Ezard (12 receptions, 101 yards and four touchdowns) and Wise (11 receptions, 279 yards and four touchdowns) all have the ability to break loose. On the ground, Griffin can still do plenty of damage of his own with 101 yards and seven touchdowns on just 27 carries.
Overall, it has been a lethal machine only one team has been able to stop this year and time will soon tell if Rolla has what it takes to slow it down.
Osage hoping to bounce back at Blair Oaks
School of the Osage had a tough time keeping up with Versailles junior quarterback Coby Williams Friday night.
The mobile dual-threat signal caller dashed for 200 rushing yards and three touchdowns, completed 10 of his 14 passes for another 74 yards and the Tigers came home with a 29-13 win over the Indians. It was the program’s first win over its Lake area neighbor since a 19-13 win on the road in 2010.
The night started off as a stalemate with no points after the first quarter, but Versailles soon broke the deadlock as senior running back Michael Trotter found the end zone after punching in a 1-yard run for the first play of the second quarter. Midway through the second quarter, Williams ran in for the first of his three touchdowns on a four-yard run and a two-point conversion from junior tailback Dallas Waller made it 14-0. Osage would not be kept quiet for long, though, as senior quarterback Dalton Depeé hit junior receiver Logan Havner for an 11-yard touchdown strike to cut the deficit in half before halftime.
In the second half, the Versailles offense continued to stay in rhythm. The Tigers marched down the field and Williams found an opening for a 40-yard dash to the end zone and a two-point conversion pass extended the advantage to 22-7. Depeé and company answered right back as the senior signal caller for the Indians ran in a 1-yard score, but the Tigers were not done yet as Williams broke free again with a 45-yard run in the fourth quarter to create the final margin.
Versailles finished with 299 total yards on the ground, averaging 7.1 yards per carry, and Trotter added 72 yards while junior running back Brycen Reynolds finished his night with 27 respectively. Senior receiver Wyatt Espinosa led the receiving corps with 31 yards on three catches while Waller put up 29 yards on five receptions. Defensively, Trotter led the unit with 14 total tackles while junior linebacker Gage Tessier finished with nine and junior defensive lineman Riley Rademann finished with seven. Williams also forced and recovered a fumble from his position at safety.
Osage totaled 142 yards on the ground with Depeé and sophomore running back Mason Clarke leading the way with 50 yards each. Depeé completed five of nine pass attempts for 44 yards and Havner pulled in four of those passes for 33 yards while senior tight end Garrett Sutherland pulled in one pass for 11 yards. Depeé also led the defense with 13 tackles at defensive back, Clarke had eight at linebacker including a sack and Depeé also forced a fumble that was recovered by junior defensive back Luke Funderburk.
Osage (2-5, 1-4 Tri-County Conference) will look to rebound at Blair Oaks on Friday at 7 p.m.
After four straight losses the Indians may be facing their toughest test of the season against an undefeated Falcons team that has posted three shutouts this year and has not scored less than 31 points in any game. Blair Oaks is currently averaging 46.9 points and allowing just 11.9 points per outing. By comparison, Osage is putting up 13.9 points and giving up 31.1 points per game.
Finding an answer for the high-powered Blair Oaks offense will be a challenge, but putting some pressure on Falcon quarterback Nolan Hair will be an absolute must if Osage wishes to disrupt the opponent’s ability to move the chains. In a win over state-ranked Southern Boone last week, he went perfect through the air completing all nine passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns and increased his season total to 23 touchdown passes without a single interception. Junior linebacker Drew Edwards has three sacks this season and senior linebacker Jacob Smith has two for a unit that is averaging a sack per game. Senior defensive lineman Mason Etter has a knack for getting in the backfield as well, leading the team with five tackles for a loss on the year. The linebacking corps, headlined by Depeé (79 tackles) and junior James Hutchcraft (59 tackles) will have to be on their toes as well.
As for the offense, the Indians will need to display some versatility to keep the Falcon defense guessing. Depeé is always a threat with is arm or legs (419 passing yards, 423 yards and eight total touchdowns) and he is not alone. It has not been easy for Osage to move the chains, but all it takes is a few playmakers being in sync on any given Friday night. On the ground, there are five other Indians (junior Jack Dulle, senior Hunter Neiman, Clarke, junior Matt Hans and Hutchcraft) who have triple digit rushing numbers. In the passing game, Sutherland can go vertical at anytime as the tight end leads all receivers with nine receptions for 159 yards and two touchdowns and Havner has 14 catches for 129 yards and a score.
Osage will look to put it all together on the gridiron Friday night.