Versailles Tigers, Eldon Mustangs, Camdenton Lakers and Osage Indians

Versailles hoping to bounce back at Buffalo

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 a newly-scheduled opponent in Buffalo who finished 3-7 in 2017. The Class 3 Bison enjoyed a 20-16 win over Ava in week one and will look to remain unbeaten on home turf when the Tigers come to town.

Versailles showed some fight trimming a 24-point gap to 10 and Williams has shown what he is capable of if he and his targets are all on the same page. However, stopping the run has to be the first key if Versailles wishes to put the breaks on Buffalo and turn its fortunes around.

Nothing can be done about week one, but the Tigers will have an opportunity to make a statement in week two. Time will soon tell if they are up to the task.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Eldon looking for third straight win over Owensville

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 in Coach Chad Hult’s debut.

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 in the form of a 67-yard touchdown pass to 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 Bolivar chopping the deficit to 20-12 on a 20-yard touchdown pass. 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 with a 36-yard scramble to the end zone. 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.

Bolivar added one more score with a 10-yard touchdown pass, 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.

The two programs have put together some interesting battles over the past two seasons meeting each other in the regular season and the district championship game. Owensville claimed victory and enjoyed all the spoils in 2016, but the Mustangs claimed revenge in 2017 and won both contests in a pair of high-scoring shootouts that combined for a total of 264 points. Eldon’s last win over the Dutchmen sent the Mustangs to the Class 3 quarterfinals and the program will be looking to take another step closer to that goal and remain unbeaten heading into week three.

Eldon will no longer have to worry about the elusive dual-threat quarterback Wyatt Ellis who put up 2,416 passing yards and 23 touchdowns to go with another 1,892 yards and 29 touchdowns on the ground as a senior. Nor will they have to worry about running back Tanner Rector (1,612 rushing yards, 17 touchdowns) or receiver Sean Irwin (753 receiving yards, 7 touchdowns), but the Mustangs will certainly not take anything for granted. The Dutchmen (0-1) dropped their season opener 55-14 in a road trip to Potosi and will look to get back on track and not disappoint in front of the home crowd as the program celebrates its 50th season.

Time will soon tell what the next chapter of this matchup has in store.

Camdenton searching for sixth straight win against Parkview

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 six Tiger turnovers and a blocked punt combined with an efficient Laker offense spelled a 49-0 shutout for the visitors.

Camdenton’s Paxton DeLaurent threw for five touchdowns and 281 yards and senior receiver Cooper Ezard was on the receiving end of three touchdowns respectively as he completed a touchdown hat trick. Senior running back Lathan Wise, junior running back Jase Nicklas and senior wideout Dylan Tufts all hooked up with DeLaurent and sophomore quarterback Mason Draper found Ezard for the final strike of the night. Senior running back Gabe Kurtz led the receiving corps with 69 yards on five receptions and Ezard put up 56 yards on six catches of his own. Meanwhile, sophomore running back Eli Griffin also joined the touchdown party as he punched in a 2-yard touchdown run with his feet.

The defensive back Kurtz, senior defensive lineman Riley Stidham, senior defensive end Kylan Draper and senior linebacker Jackson Rideout were all members of the fumble recovery crew that gave Camdenton good field position all night and Wise helped to preserve the shutout with an interception near the goal line before halftime. Jaben Shockley led the “Purple Haze” defense with six tackles respectively.

Camdenton (1-0) will look to remain unbeaten in the home opener against Parkview on Friday.

Precedent has been kind to the Lakers in this matchup as they have been able to topple the Vikings in five straight games and have won seven of the past eight dating back to 2010 with the lone loss being a 35-28 defeat in 2012. Last season, Camdenton comfortably took care of business with a 70-34 win on the road that produced the team’s biggest offensive outing in 2017.

However, it is a brand new season and Parkview will be looking to erase the past after starting the season with a dominant 56-20 outing over Ozark Conference newcomer Springfield Central in week one.

If the Lakers can continue the trend of taking advantage of turnovers and keeping the offense versatile with multiple weapons getting involved behind the arm of DeLaurent and the “Hogs” up front in the trenches, Camdenton may very well keep its record unblemished heading into week three. The Lakers will get a chance to find out when they meet the Vikings for kickoff at 7 p.m.

Osage looking to maintain momentum at Moberly

School of the Osage set the tone early Friday night in its first test of the season against Fulton.

The Hornets lost a fumble on the second play of the game while the Indians scored a touchdown on their second offensive play and eventually went on to comfortably topple the visitors 42-27.

Naturally, the first game of the season can always generate some excitement and Osage did not disappoint in front of the home crowd. The Indians found the end zone on three of their first four drives before the Hornets could find a way to respond.

After Fulton coughed up a fumble for the first of three turnovers on the evening, Osage wasted little time taking advantage as senior quarterback Dalton Depeé hit junior running back Matt Hans for a 40-yard touchdown pass to put the Indians up 6-0 early. Hans was more than happy to add to the excitement with a 6-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 12-0 before the end of the first quarter.

Osage sophomore running back Kenan Webb kept the good vibes going midway through the second quarter on a 15-yard run up the middle to give the Indians an 18-0 cushion. Then, the Hornets finally crossed midfield and cut the deficit to 18-7 on a 7-yard run with 6:31 remaining before halftime. However, it was the closest the visitors would get to erasing the deficit the rest of the way.

The Indians responded with a methodical drive that soaked up the clock and culminated in a 14-yard quarterback keeper from Depeé to extend the advantage to 26-7 with 38.2 seconds left before halftime after he found junior running back Jack Dulle for a 2-point conversion pass.

Osage kept the momentum going in the second half. When Hans took a solid pop from a Hornet defender and lost a fumble on the second play of the third quarter, Depeé had his back as a defensive back where he returned a 62-yard interception to the house on the ensuing play. A 2-point conversion run from Webb put the Indians up 34-7.

Things did not get much better for Fulton as a botched snap on its next drive was recovered by Osage senior defensive lineman Mason Etter. Then, the Indians went on to deliver their final blow of the night with just under 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter on a 2-yard quarterback draw over the top of the pile at the goal line from junior Drew Edwards, who briefly replaced Depeé at the position. Depeé made it 42-7 when he found Edwards on the ensuing 2-point conversion pass as he switched back to tight end.

Fulton reached the end zone two more times, but the damage had already been done.

Osage coach Devin Johnson said his club is not at its best yet as there are still some things to clean up on both sides of the ball, but Osage (1-0) comes out of week one healthy and will have a chance to remain undefeated with a trip to Moberly next Friday at 7 p.m. The final offensive drive of the second half that wore down the Fulton defense is a prime example of what the coach wants the rest of the season to look like.

“For us this next week, it is going to be about that consistency every play,” he stated. “Just keep going and going and wait for something big to happen because eventually those three and four-yard gains turn into eight-yard gains or 18-yard gains so we just have to keep plugging away.”

Moberly (0-1) came up just short in a 21-14 loss at Sedalia Smith-Cotton in week one. However, coming off a 10-3 season that culminated in a district championship in 2017, the Spartans will be eager to get back on track for their home opener.

This will be the first meeting between the two sides since Osage shut down Moberly 14-0 on its home turf back in 2015. The Indians have won four of the past six meetings with the Spartans dating back to 2010 and time will soon tell if they have what it takes to maintain the momentum and add another tally in the win column.