The undefeated Lakers kicked off the Class 4 District 5 playoffs as the top seed Friday night hosting the eighth-seeded Pacific Indians and with the season on the line, the home team did not receive too much of a threat from the visitors in a 51-27 win.

Camdenton is signed up for another week of football. 

The undefeated Lakers kicked off the Class 4 District 5 playoffs as the top seed Friday night hosting the eighth-seeded Pacific Indians and with the season on the line, the home team did not receive too much of a threat from the visitors in a 51-27 win. Once again, Camdenton got off to a quick start displaying some things that showed how the Lakers earned the top spot as the home side went into halftime with a 45-0 lead. 

“It was a great start and frankly it was a good time to get some young guys in the ballgame this time of year,” Camdenton coach Jeff Shore said of the district opener. “Probably not going to have many games that is going to happen anymore in. It is going to be tough competition the rest of this road so it was nice to get those kids in one more time and keep everyone healthy and getting to play a little bit.”

After Pacific went three-and-out on the opening drive of the night, thanks in part to a sack from junior defensive lineman Mason Draper, Camdenton needed just over a minute to find the end zone as senior quarterback Paxton DeLaurent hit senior receiver Collin Thomas for a 10-yard screen pass. The two hooked up on another 10-yard touchdown pass at the start of the second quarter and Shore is glad to see that the senior wideout appears to be completely healthy. 

“Put him in that slot position and he gives us another real good weapon there with his speed and size,” the coach said of Thomas. “He has really had a great three ballgames here in a row, honestly. That has been a real positive on the offensive end and got a bunch of guys catching the football. Still could have caught it a little bit better tonight, but overall I thought we played a lot better. Routes were sharper.” 

Indeed, Thomas was far from alone in the high-flying passing attack that allowed DeLaurent to finish the night completing 16 of his 25 passes for 213 yards and four touchdowns. Senior receiver Antione Lockhart dashed by Pacific defenders for a 53-yard touchdown reception near the end of the first quarter and Draper was on the receiving end of a 13-yard screen pass that allowed him to waltz into the end zone untouched with just over six minutes to go before halftime.  

Thomas led all receivers with four receptions for 81 yards, Lockhart caught three passes for 68 yards and senior wideout Talon Randazzo added four receptions for 35 yards of his own. A total of nine different Lakers had the opportunity to register at least one catch before the night was through. 

“That is amazing because we have six, seven or eight guys that can always step in and catch the ball. Right now we got two of our receivers injured and I think we are going to get one back next week and one maybe in a couple weeks,” DeLaurent said of the versatility in the receiving game. “Antione stepped right in, scores a touchdown tonight and makes a couple of good catches last week so it is just great to have everyone be able to step in.” 

Meanwhile, senior running back Ryan Maasen punched in a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0 early in the first quarter, senior kicker Luke Galbreath hit a 19-yard field goal to extend the lead to 38-0 and sophomore running back Adrian Kline concluded the offensive highlights with a 22-yard touchdown run at the start of the fourth quarter. Kline also led the ground game with 61 total rushing yards on six carries.

But there were plenty of defensive highlights as well as Pacific’s offense did not really sniff Camdenton territory until the third quarter.

Senior defensive lineman Marcus Stephens was able to take advantage of a high snap that allowed him to recover the ball in the end zone for a defensive touchdown at the start of the second quarter and the “Purple Haze” defense was a force up front overall. Senior defensive lineman Cort Petty led the way with 2 1/2 sacks as the defense finished with six overall while also registering seven tackles for a loss. The defense forced five total turnovers that included fumble recoveries for Randazzo, fellow senior defensive back Ethan Harris and Stephens while sophomore linebacker Landon Thomas and senior defensive back Jase Nicklas each had an interception.

“That touchdown was well-deserved,” Shore said of Stephen’s play. “Mason Kinney and Cort, that’s a good front three and those guys play super hard and are tough to beat.”  

Shore also commended the play of junior Kaiden Davis up front on the defensive line along with Maasen at linebacker and Nicklas, Randazzo, Harris and Thomas in the secondary. 

“We’ve had some guys pitch and playing their part. I feel like the defense is playing very opportunistic right now and have been creating a lot of turnovers so we hope that keeps going,” the coach noted. 

Pacific was able to break through and add a few scores in the second half on the second-string defense, continuing to fight until the end. However, the game was well out of reach and now the Lakers shift focus to fourth-seeded Washington for the district semifinals Friday night at 7 p.m.

The Blue Jays were able to knock off No. 5 Marshfield 20-14 with a late touchdown in their district opener and improved to 9-1 on the season in doing so. Fortunately, anticipating a potential matchup with Washington, Camdenton (10-0) already began preparation for the next opponent before the Pacific game and Shore expects his club to see a run-heavy offense very similar to Lebanon’s.

“Hopefully that is a good thing for us. We’ll get to run against the same kind of offense for two weeks if we can get the win,” he said. “It is great to be at home and that is something we’ve earned during the regular season. Now we are getting the fruits of that labor a little bit… If we can keep winning we’ll keep being at home.” 

After reaching the state quarterfinals a season ago, Camdenton’s goal has never changed. The Lakers are now five wins away from the ultimate prize.

“We want to win state and have unfinished business,” DeLaurent said. “For us to get there it is week by week and you have to win each game. Washington, great season. I don’t know if they are typically this good, but this might be one of their best seasons so they are going to come in and try to win just like we are going to try to win. 

“Someone is going to end their season and our goal is to end theirs.”