In a matchup that seemed evenly contested by both sides, the Camdenton Lakers proved their might in a mostly dominating district championship game against the St. Francis Borgia Knights.

 In a match-up that seemed evenly contested by both sides, the Camdenton Lakers proved their might in a mostly dominating district championship game against the St. Francis Borgia Knights.

From the start, the night was cold and greeted with small sprinklings of snow. It was clear that both teams would have to stay warm to stay competitive. With Camdenton boasting an all-out air attack throughout much of the season, this chilling factor was sure to play a part, for better or for worse.

The Knights opened the contest with the kickoff and on their opening drive were met with a solid defensive effort by the Lakers that would be present all night. Camdenton would also find little success in their opening offensive drive. However, before the first quarter would come to a close, the Lakers would get a few passes and rushing attempts to go their way before opening the scoring with a rushing touchdown by Senior Gabe Kurtz. This would be the only score in the first quarter.

It was clear that coach Jeff Shore was leaning on his rushing attack to keep the team competitive, as Junior quarterback Paxton DeLaurent would hand the ball off much more often than in previous efforts. Even so, DeLaurent was able to find a number of big passes throughout the game that seem to have been the difference between the two teams. The Knights found little success in the air throughout the entirety of the match, going only 5/16.

The second quarter would see little change in the score until the later portion, when Camdenton would add onto their lead with another rushing touchdown by Kurtz. This time, it would push the score to 14-0. Before the half would end, Camdenton would put a kick through the uprights and secure a 17-0 lead going into the locker rooms. The defense played one of their best halves of football for the entire season, and it could not have come at a better time for the Lakers.

Camdenton was given numerous chances to score in the third quarter after recovering two fumbles early on. It wasn’t until the second recovery that they would make a drive work and make a DeLaurent to Senior Dylan Tufts connection in the endzone to push their lead even further to 24-0. Again, the defense would hold strong and keep the shut out in tact, ending the third quarter without giving up a score.

It looked to be all but over moving into the final quarter, as the Knights had found almost no success in their offense efforts. This would be erased, however, with back to back scores by St. Francis Borgia. The first would come on a scoop and score fumble recovery just two minutes into the quarter. Following this, the Lakers would give the ball back again and allow their first offensive touchdown on just two plays. The Knights would move the score closer to 24-13.

With just three minutes left, the Knights had the ball yet again and were looking to score. However, the defense would come up big on this drive and turnover the ball on downs after a big 4th down sack by Senior Kylan Draper. From this point forward, the Lakers only had to push the clock down and close it out to become district champions for the 27th time with a final score of 24-13.

The game was not a statistical highlight game for the offense, though there was enough done to secure the win. DeLaurent would end the night with 177 passing yards, 21 rushing yards, one passing touchdown and an interception. Tufts closed it out with 87 receiving yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Eli Griffin would end with 34 rushing yards and Senior Lathan Wise with 33 rushing yards.Draper ended his night with five tackles and 3.5 sacks. The team as a whole had 5 sacks on the nights and seven tackles for a loss.

Shore was ecstatic for the team and commended them on a great and exciting season after being handed the district championship plaque. He says the team’s defensive effort was one of the best of the season and proved that they are one of the more underrated aspects of the successful team overall. Though the team had to adjust to the weather and go back into a more traditional Camdenton running offense, Shore says that they will need to fire on all cylinders in their air attack to move any further. With better weather, he feels confident in their chances.

“Our best chance looking forward is to find that purple tide and bring it with,” Shore said. “We will see what happens but in my mind, that’s what we have to do next week.”

Camdenton will now go on to play in and against Webb City next Saturday at 1:00 p.m.