Versailles Tigers, Camdenton Lakers, Osage Indians, Eldon Mustangs

Versailles hits the road for regular season finale up north at Southern Boone

Versailles took a trip up north to face Hallsville in Tri-County Conference action Friday night and it was a tough road trip for the Tigers as the Indians defended home turf with a 47-8 win.

The past couple of games between these two sides have been close with the last two being decided by single digits, but Hallsville jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead after the first quarter and never looked back as the Indians put up 382 total yards of offense on the night. Versailles was kept off the scoreboard until senior running back Taylor Dobbins broke the silence with a touchdown run in the third quarter.

Dobbins led the ground game with 43 of the team's 91 total rushing yards and junior running back Michael Trotter added 31 yards respectively. Sophomore quarterback Coby Williams connected on 12 of his 29 pass attempts for 121 yards and two interceptions with seven of those passes going to senior wideout Kooper for 42 yards. Senior tight end Jonathon Geier pulled down two receptions for 29 yards of his own as well.

Versailles (2-6) will take another trip up north to Southern Boone (5-3) Friday night for the regular season finale at 7 p.m. When these two sides met a season ago, Southern Boone shutout Versailles 49-0.

Trent Tracy’s Eagles are coming off a 47-12 pummeling over Warsaw and come into the contest on a two-game win streak. Southern Boone is currently putting up 29.3 points per contest with a defense allowing 24.5 points per outing respectively. By comparison, Versailles is averaging 19.7 points per game while the defense is giving up 38.6 points on average.

The numbers may not favor Versailles, but nothing is guaranteed on any given Friday night.

The Tiger ground game has proven effective when everyone is on the same page as Versailles is currently averaging 138.7 rushing yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry behind the legs of Dobbins, Williams and Trotter who have combined for 923 of the team’s 1,110 rushing yards and 11 of the team’s 12 rushing touchdowns. Williams has also thrown over 1,000 yards through the air with eight touchdowns and has connected with seven different receivers so far in 2017. The Tigers simply need to put it all together.

Defensively, Versailles has some hard-hitters as Trotter has put up 87 total tackles with 14.5 resulting in a loss and Wilson has put up 49 total tackles with four resulting in a loss. The Tigers are averaging 5.9 tackles for a loss per game and have forced six turnovers. If they can sharpen things up and make the Eagles earn every yard, it may very well produce a favorable outcome.

Southern Boone may field a larger team, but the bigger picture is the district playoffs where the Tigers will take on schools much closer to its own size. If Versailles can get everything clicking by the time the playoffs roll around, the Tigers may be poised to make a big run. Time will soon tell if they are ready to do just that.

Camdenton looking for strong finish on Senior Night against Glendale

It was a tough night for Camdenton.

The Lakers made the 152-mile trip to Joplin Friday night to take on the Eagles in a battle for the top of the Ozark Conference where the winner would be guaranteed at least a share of the Ozark Conference crown. Joplin made sure it was that team and handed Camdenton a lopsided 49-7 defeat.

Camdenton’s first half drives resulted in four punts and an interception. Meanwhile, Joplin scored touchdowns on it’s first three drives, punted just once and put up two field goals to take a 27-0 lead into halftime.

Despite a steep hill to climb, Camdenton came out swinging in the second half and delivered a punch right off the bat. On the first play from scrimmage, senior quarterback Isaiah Lumley hit senior wideout Jacob Hill on a quick strike near the middle of the field and the speedy Hill went across the field and up the left side using his All-State track speed to outrun Eagle defenders for an 80-yard touchdown to make it 27-7.

Then the Lakers continued that momentum with back-to-back tackles in the backfield by senior defensive linemen Bo Shore and Chazz Sawyers to make it 3rd-and-20 for Joplin. Unfortunately for Camdenton, Joplin was able to convert and answered right back with a 20-yard touchdown run to go up 34-7 and never looked back.

Camdenton, which is used to steamrolling opponents in the running game, was held to just 41 rushing yards as Hill led the way with 18 yards on the ground. He also led the Lakers in the passing game with three catches for 98 yards while fellow senior wideout Jackson Ezard also pulled down three catches for 37 yards of his own. Meanwhile, Lumley finished the night completing seven of his 17 pass attempts for 146 yards with a score and two interceptions.

Friday night’s contest was the first time this season that Camdenton suffered a lopsided loss with the team’s only other defeat being a tough 1-point loss to West Plains in week two. However, Camdenton responded to that loss by winning five straight games and will look to quickly bounce back once more. Shore has confidence that his club will be able to do just that.

“Our kids are strong and they’ll bounce back. Sometimes it is easier to bounce back from one like this than it is a heartbreaker,” the coach noted. “We just have to scratch it and get ready for next week… Even the fantastic teams have bad nights so we just have to bury it, try to learn from it obviously and get better, but bury it and move on.”

The good news is that there is still plenty of football to be played and the Lakers (6-2) still have a chance to gain at least a share of the conference title when they return home for Senior Night Friday night against Glendale (5-3) at 7 p.m. After that, it will be district playoff time.

“It will be the last time our seniors play at home officially. I hope we’ll have a home playoff game, but it is going to be real special,” Shore said of this week’s contest. “They (seniors) are a great group of kids and all our guys from the sophomores to the seniors want to win that ballgame Friday night.”

The high-powered Glendale offense is averaging 45 points per game behind the arm and legs of senior quarterback Alex Huston who has thrown for 3,907 yards, 48 touchdowns and nine interceptions while rushing for a team-leading 386 yards respectively. The biggest receiving threats are senior Max Nichols (1,197 yards and 13 touchdowns and fellow senior Corbin Lukes (961 yards and 15 touchdowns). However, the Falcons are also giving up 44.6 points per game.

If Camdenton can dominate with the run, as the Lakers usually have all season, and control the clock, they can keep that high-powered offense off the field. They certainly have the weapons to do so as the “Hogs” up front have allowed Camdenton ball carriers to average 294 rushing yards per game. The Lakers can also move the chains through the air as well with Lumley’s arm passing for 791 yards and seven touchdowns with just four interceptions so far.

Time will soon tell if Camdenton is up to the task and can deliver a win for the seniors.

Osage looking to bounce back in regular season finale with California

Osage (4-4) visited rival Eldon (7-1) Friday night and it was a tough one for the Indians as they fell 49-13 and were dealt their second straight loss after last week’s 56-26 defeat at the hands of Tri-County Conference champion Blair Oaks.

The Indians received the opening kickoff and senior quarterback Zach Wheeler quickly connected with fellow senior Drake Gaines, the lanky wideout, for a big gain down the sideline. The Eldon defense bent, but would not break. After Wheeler converted a 4th-and-2 from the Eldon 23, the Indians attempted some trickery.

Wheeler took the shotgun snap and tossed a pitch to a wideout in motion who then tossed the football back to Wheeler on the opposite side of the field. As Eldon defenders closed in Wheeler pump-faked, and ran for a first down, but a fumbled snap would lead to a 4th-and-6 in which the Mustangs defense stood tall and knocked away a pass in the end zone intended for Gaines.

Eldon responded with two straight scores to go up 12-0, but Osage found a way to chop the deficit in half as junior defensive back Dalton Depeé pounced on a fumbled snap at the Eldon 6-yard line and junior fullback Traygen Whittle took the next play straight up the middle untouched for an easy score to make it 12-7.

Eldon responded, once a gain, to go up 20-7, but Osage answered back with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Wheeler to Depeé to cut it to 20-13. Unfortunately, it was the final time the Indians would score the rest of the night as the second half was all Eldon.

Wheeler completed five of his 19 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions, Depeé had three catches for 50 yards and Gaines had two for the remaining 30 yards. On the ground, senior running back Nick Riley led all ball carriers with 53 yards while Wheeler put up 46 respectively.

Osage now turns its attention to a California team (1-7) for the regular season finale Friday night. The Pinto offense has struggled, averaging just nine points per game, while the defense has allowed 31.75 points at the same time. By comparison, Osage is currently putting up 30.7 points per outing and allowing 27.8 points per contest. When these two sides met last year, Osage cruised to a 40-19 win and the Indians should be poised for a strong finish once again before the district playoffs arrive.

The conference gridiron battle will commence at 7 p.m.

Eldon looks to extend its win streak in road trip to Hallsville

In an inspirational moment that went beyond the game of football, Hunter Bushnell, the Eldon Mustang junior who suffered a serious neck injury just weeks ago, returned to Victor Field prior to the rivalry matchup between the Mustangs and School of the Osage Indians.

Bushnell, flanked by parents and relatives, received a standing ovation from a full house of both Indian and Mustang fans as he rode down the track high-fiving his teammates one by one.

Fans, and those on the field, clapped and cried as others ran up for hugs and selfies. Osage students were dressed in green, displaying a sign that read “2 Rivals Brought Together.”

“Thank you,” he told the crowd. “Thank you.”

And then it was time for football. The Mustangs (7-1), who were coming off a 69-20 win over Versailles and were ranked as the No. 7 Class 3 team in the state, scored first on Friday night and never surrendered the lead to the Osage Indians in a 49-13 win over their Highway 54 rival.

After the Eldon defensive unit halted Osage from scoring with a stop deep in its own territory, the Mustang offense responded with a 94-yard drive as junior fullback Isaiah Parsons punched in the first score of the night. Soon after, senior running back Isaiah Merida reached the end zone on a short carry to make it 12-0.

Osage chopped down the deficit with a touchdown drive of its own, but junior quarterback Dawson Brandt struck back with a 52-yard run and scurried to the end zone to make it 20-7 Mustangs. Osage put together one more scoring drive, but it was the final time the Indians would score the rest of the night as Eldon’s defense sharpened things up. Eldon came right back with another touchdown run from Merida to extend the lead to 28-13 and the second half was all Eldon as the Mustangs broke away with a dominating performance in the final 24 minutes.

All of Eldon’s offense came from the ground, and that was all the Mustangs needed as they rushed for 473 total yards on the night and seven scores. Merida led the way with 194 yards and two scores, Brandt put up 120 yards and two scores, Parsons finished with 116 yards and two scores and senior running back Jordan Metz put up the other touchdown with his 40 rushing yards on the night.

The Eldon defense held a high-powered Osage offense to just 205 total yards on the night. Senior linebacker Cole Walker led the way with six total tackles while fellow senior linebackers Trenton Dillon and Jesse Dummermuth put up five tackles each. At defensive back, Merida pulled down an interception and sophomore defensive back Logan Hall also picked off a pass to give Osage fits.

Up next for the Mustangs is a 5-3 Hallsville team that is averaging 29 points per contest and giving up 18.6 points per contest respectively. Meanwhile, Eldon’s offense has been a machine averaging 49.7 points per game while the defense is giving up 27.25 points per outing. When these two sides met a year ago, Eldon dispatched the Indians 35 to 8 and will look to do so again to close out the regular season on a four-game winning streak.

Eldon will look to carry its momentum into the district playoffs when the Mustangs visit Hallsville Friday night for a conference clash at 7 p.m.