Osage Indians, Eldon Mustangs, Camdenton Lakers and Versailles Tigers

Osage looking for revenge against Moberly in home opener

Osage found a way to get the job done in a muddy 14-6 win in the season opener at Fulton.

Now, the Indians get to come home for their own home opener against a Moberly team that handed Osage a 34-0 shutout last season so the team would like nothing more than to exact some revenge and start a winning streak in 2019.

Thanks to an 11-yard touchdown run from senior running back James Hutchcraft and a 1-yard quarterback keeper from senior Drew Edwards, Osage did just enough in week one as the defense frustrated Fulton for most of the night.

Edwards completed just one of his four pass attempts for 16 yards that went to Hans, but the Indians did enough on the ground as the team piled up 182 rushing yards in total. Hutchcraft led the way with 104 of those yards on 20 attempts while senior running back Jack Dulle added 53, Edwards put up 13 and Hans finished with 12. On the defensive end, Hutchcraft led the unit with nine tackles at linebacker and senior defensive lineman Matt McCubbin added six including a sack.

It was certainly a great start for Hutchcraft who led the way on both sides of the ball in the season opener. Perhaps in some more favorable conditions without rain in the forecast, the Indians may be capable of even more as a whole.

Class 3 Moberly (1-0) presents a good challenge, though, after finishing 2018 with a record of 8-4 and starting off 2019 with a 35-28 win over Class 5 Sedalia Smith-Cotton.

Moberly got off to a hot start with 21 unanswered points and did just enough to hold off the Tigers as senior Ethan Vandall had a breakout game scoring four touchdowns for the Spartans while rushing eight times for 53 yards. Jarrett Kinder was also productive for Moberly, rushing for 128 yards on just 11 carries. Slowing down those two will certainly be key for the Osage defensive unit if a winning streak is to get started.

Osage and Moberly will go to battle Friday night at 7 p.m.

Eldon looking to defend home turf against Owensville in home opener

Eldon had a tough start to its 2019 campaign in the season opener at Bolivar Friday night.

The Mustangs were able to secure a 42-26 over the Liberators in last season’s opener, but it was not to be this time around as Bolivar quickly jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and that turned into a 54-8 win over Eldon.

But, there is plenty of football left to be played and the Mustangs will get to come home next week to take on Owensville (0-1) in the 2019 home opener at Victor Field Friday night at 7 p.m.

As rough as things may have been on either side of the ball for the Mustangs in week one, sophomore quarterback Dallas Hardy managed to lead his team to the end zone in his first game as a starter where he ran in a score and finished the night as the team’s leading rusher with 120 yards on 18 carries. Senior fullback Kaden Dillon added 56 yards on 16 carries and senior running back Nathaniel Wardenburg put up 14 yards of his own on six carries. Hardy also completed one of his six pass attempts on an 8-yard throw to Dillon.

Embarking on a new season after losing 13 seniors from last year’s team that finished 6-5 with a trip to the district semifinals, these early games are good opportunities for younger players to step up and get acclimated to the grind of Friday nights. The Mustangs will get their next opportunity against an Owensville team that is coming off a 44-28 loss to Potosi.

Owensville quarterback Brendan Decker had a few nice passing highlights in the debut that included passing touchdowns of 67 yards and 48 yards respectively as he finished with three passing touchdowns and a rushing score on the night. Keeping Decker in check will be a top priority come Friday evening.

Eldon and Owensville have had some fun high-scoring battles in recent years, including the district playoffs in 2017 when the Mustangs beat the Dutchmen 70-53 for a district title. Eldon is looking to defend its current three-game winning streak that includes a 34-6 win a season ago over a Dutchmen team that finished 2-8.

If Eldon can shore up on defense and find more of an offensive rhythm in week two, the Mustangs have a decent opportunity to grab the first win of 2019.

Camdenton looking to carry on momentum at Parkview

Camdenton may carry some attention this season.

After last season’s 11-2 run to the Class 4 state quarterfinals and a preseason No. 3 ranking in the first statewide media poll, opponents may have some extra incentive to knock the Lakers down a peg or two. Well, in a game that began with taunts from the visiting Waynesville Tigers, the Lakers did their talking on the field with a 39-12 win to celebrate a rainy home and season opener.

Now, it is about carrying that momentum on as Camdenton prepares for a week two road trip in Springfield at Ozark Conference foe Parkview Friday night at 7 p.m.

Camdenton certainly got off to a good start in that task as Waynesville opened the game with the ball and- as would become a pattern throughout the game- the Laker defense was able to stop the opponent in their tracks and hand the ball back to a high-flying offense that was one of the state’s best a season ago averaging 46.3 points per game.

Camdenton wasted little time, as the senior Paxton DeLaurent-led squad marched down the field and ended up with a DeLaurent to senior Jase Nicklas passing touchdown less than five minutes into the game. The Laker offense stayed in rhythm and found the end zone again as junior Jadin Faulconer would take the ball on a 1-yard rush to make it 14-0 heading into quarter two.

Waynesville managed to answer back with a touchdown to cut the gap to 14-6, but Camdenton continued to take advantage of its possessions. Junior running back Eli Griffin reached the end zone twice for the Lakers on a 1-yard and 24-yard run and quickly jumped up to a more comfortable 28-6 advantage.

Both sides went scoreless in the third quarter as rain continued to pour down over Bob Shore Stadium, but Camdenton broke the deadlock with a 70-yard bomb from DeLaurent to senior tight end Mason Kinney to make it 36-6. The visiting Tigers scored once more on a 42-yard pass and senior kicker Luke Galbreath put the final points on the board with a 36-yard field goal.

The All-State quarterback DeLaurent finished with 21 completions on 34 pass attempts for 253 yards, two touchdowns and just one interception. Nicklas had a big night leading the receiving corps with four receptions for 92 yards while Faulconer pulled in four receptions for 38 yards and Griffin added four catches for 10 yards with another 53 yards on the ground on 10 carries. Meanwhile, the All-State senior linebacker Ryan Maasen led the “Purple Haze” defense with 14 total tackles that included a sack, two tackles for a loss and a forced fumble as the unit allowed the Tigers just 262 total yards of offense.

Camdenton coach Jeff Shore was proud of his team’s effort in the less-than-favorable weather conditions and applauded his team’s resiliency. Despite some pre-game taunting, he was also glad to see his team stay calm as Waynesville racked up a few penalties. Overall, it was a great outcome for the first game of the season as fireworks filled the air over Bob Shore Stadium.

“It was a big test tonight,” the coach stated. “I thought our defense played great and the offense got going at times, but I’m supper happy with a 39-12 win at home in the opener.”

Up next is a Parkview team (1-0) that took care of Springfield Central 49-6 in the season opener to get off to a good start in the Ozark Conference. Viking quarterback Caden Burks and running back Xzameion Beal rushed for two touchdowns each and the team also scored three touchdowns on special teams in the rout. Stopping Burks and Beal will likely be a top priority for the Camdenton defense against a team that finished 6-5 in 2018.

Last season, the Lakers were able to take care of business against Parkview with a 44-6 win where DeLaurent threw for 350 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception. Nicklas also likely remembers that game well after pulling in six receptions for 91 yards and he will be eager to produce similar results once again, as well as the rest of the team.

Time will soon tell if that will be the case when Camdenton takes on its first road test of 2019.

Versailles looking to bounce back in battle with Buffalo

Versailles has been down this path before.

Just like last season, Knob Noster gave the Tigers a rough start in 2019 as six total turnovers led to a 50-20 defeat for the preseason 10th-ranked Class 2 team in the state.

“Everything that could have went wrong in the first half did from the opening kickoff,” Versailles coach Broc Silvers said. “Everything that could have went bad did and we had this happen last year. We’ve got to do a better job, be ready to go next week, respond and look at what we can do from here.”

Well, after that rough start in 2018, Versailles responded well by downing Buffalo on the road 35-21 and went on to do a lot of good things that led to a 7-5 finish and trip to a district championship. There is a lot of football left to be played as the story of this season unfolds, but the next chapter is one the Tigers would like to repeat when the Bison come to town Friday night at 7 p.m.

To make that happen, the Tigers will obviously have to address the turnovers and take care of the football after three interceptions, two miscues on kickoff return and a turnover on downs gave Knob Noster satisfying field position a majority of the night. Another pressing item on the agenda is rushing defense as the Panthers marched up and down the field and only had to attempt one pass, which was actually a jet sweep.

“They’ve got two really good backs and their quarterback did an adequate job. He did not have to be the ‘man’ tonight,” Silvers said of a Knob Noster team that rushed for 238 yards, averaging 6.8 yards per carry. “They were more physical than we were and that is a tough pill to swallow sometimes because you try to pride yourself on being physical on defense. We have some work to do.”

But there were some highlights for Versailles as well and flashes of the team’s potential present in the season opener.

Senior Dallas Waller took the team’s first kickoff return of 2019 81 yards to the opponent’s 3-yard line before senior quarterback Coby Williams ran the ball in for a touchdown on the team’s first play from scrimmage on the season and finished as the team’s leading rusher with 87 yards on 19 carries. Senior running back Jordan King also provided a couple of big runs that led to 33 yards on nine carries.

It was an uncharacteristic night for Williams who threw three interceptions after only throwing seven his entire All-State 2018 season that included 1,783 yards through the air and 20 touchdowns. The senior threw for 142 yards and two touchdowns Friday night that included a 65-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Adam Radcliff while Waller caught five passes for 30 yards and senior receiver Brayden Morrison pulled in four passes for 21 yards.

“He might have been trying to do too much by himself and sometimes that happens with a kid who had a good junior year,” Silvers said of his quarterback. “The kid has been there and done that and I think in the second half he kind of settled down there and made some better decisions.”

Versailles certainly had the ability to move the football- it just comes down to finishing drives free of turnovers or penalties that set the team back.

“We just shot ourselves in the foot a lot tonight and if we quit doing that and put together some decent drives we’ll be ok,” Silvers said. “We’ve got a long way to go and I know this is cliche, but you normally see the most improvement from week one to week two and hopefully the same thing for us.”

Buffalo (0-1) is coming off a loss at Ava where the Bison fell in a nail-biting 38-36 defeat. With last year’s film to study, another week of practice ahead and now having a full game behind them, Silvers said his team should be more prepared for that challenge than the season opener. Making history repeat itself will not be an easy task, though, against a team that finished 9-3 last season.

“Buffalo is a good ball club. They’ve got a lot of speed back so it will be pretty good,” Silvers said, looking ahead to the upcoming contest. “We’ll be back home, hopefully we’ll get some things fixed and have a good week of work.”