Williams and Waller lead Versailles past El Dorado Springs in districts, Eldon’s season ends with tough loss on the road at Buffalo and Osage unable to keep pace in season-ending loss at Salem
Williams and Waller lead Versailles past El Dorado Springs in districts
Coby Williams and Dallas Waller were a lethal combination at El Dorado Springs Friday night.
The Tigers entered the Class 2 District 4 playoffs as the fifth seed paired up with the fourth-seeded Bulldogs and the two sides are no strangers having met in the postseason each of the past two years. The senior tandem of Williams and Waller did their part to help make sure Versailles picked up a third straight win over the familiar foe as the Tigers jumped out to a 35-14 lead by halftime and went on to knock off the Bulldogs 49-22 to punch a ticket to the district semifinals.
“We played a really good game on both defense and offense,” Versailles coach Broc Silvers said of the game. “A ton of players got involved in big tackles, adjusted to the field conditions in the second quarter and exploded with 35 points.”
Williams, a returning All-State quarterback played a part in all seven of the team’s touchdowns. He competed 12 of his 21 passes for 211 yards and three scores, added 208 rushing yards and three more scores on the ground averaging 7.7 yards per carry and was even on the receiving end of a 43-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Adam Radcliff.
Meanwhile, Waller was on the receiving end of all three of Williams’ passing touchdowns as he caught eight passes for 183 yards while senior wideout Brayden Morrison hauled in three passes for 20 yards and sophomore receiver Kyle Bartlett added a catch for eight yards of his own. Senior running back Jordan King churned ahead for 35 rushing yards on 10 carries to keep the chains moving as well.
The postseason journey continues for a Versailles team that improved to 3-7 after starting the season 0-6, winning three of the past four games. Up next for the Tigers is a road trip to the top-seeded Fair Grove Eagles who remain unbeaten at 10-0 on the season.
The last time these two sides met was the district semifinals in 2017 where the Eagles beat the Tigers 57-26 and Silvers said this current unit may be just as good.
“They remind me of the same Fair Grove team we played two years ago. They are fast, big and athletic,” the coach said of the upcoming opponent. “They are like playing a version of Southern Boone, Hallsville and Boonville. We have played teams as talented as them but have not beat one yet. We will need to be sound in all phases this week.”
Kickoff is scheduled for Friday night at 7 p.m.
Eldon’s season ends with tough loss on the road at Buffalo
Eldon began its postseason journey at Buffalo Friday night and the Mustangs found it difficult to slow down the herd lined up across from them in a 41-6 defeat that concluded the 2019 season.
Eldon, seeded seventh in the Class 3 District 5 playoffs, trailed just 7-0 after the first quarter. However it soon became an uphill battle as No. 2 Buffalo was able to utilize a relentless rushing attack that produced 309 yards on the night and thundered ahead to a 28-6 lead by halftime.
“Our kids came out and fought hard, but the ball bounced their way a couple times early and allowed them to gain momentum,” Eldon coach Chad Hult said.
“They did a great job containing our run game, which forced us to go to the air more than normal, and we just weren’t able to convert when we needed to.”
The Mustangs were averaging 272.8 rushing yards per game entering the fateful week 10 game and the Bison held Eldon to 171. Junior running back Braydy Hill led the way with 16 carries for 67 yards while senior fullback Kaden Dillon added 54 yards on 16 touches of his own and sophomore quarterback Dallas hardy added 50 yards on eight carries.
Hardy completed six of his 16 pass attempts for 78 yards and senior wideout Nathaniel Wardenburg hauled in the majority of them with three catches for 50 yards. Hill added two receptions for 19 yards and senior receiver Gabe Marriott finished with a catch for nine yards.
Buffalo (9-2) moves on to the district semifinals while Eldon (1-9) will miss out on that round for the first time since the 2014 season. It has been a good stretch for the Mustangs as they went to two straight district championship games in 2016 and 2017 while also making a run to the Class 3 state quarterfinals in the 2017 season. This year may not have turned out how Eldon wanted, but Hult commended their fight and the seniors who played their final game.
“The wins and losses might not show it, but this team was very resilient and got better as the season went on,” he said. “I am proud of the entire team, but especially our seniors (Kaden Dillon, Jonathon Schoenfeld, Xander Strickland, Blake Smith, Nathaniel Wardenburg and Gabe Marriott). Those guys gave their all to this program and had the courage to stick it out until the end where others didn’t.”
Osage unable to keep pace in season-ending loss at Salem
The turnover bug bit School of the Osage Friday night at Salem.
A total of three turnovers proved costly in the team’s 30-20 loss at fourth-seeded Salem in the Class 3 District 5 opener and unfortunately for the fifth-seeded Indians it meant the end of the 2019 season.
“The season did not end the way we wanted it to. We could not overcome the turnovers we created and that was the difference in the ballgame Friday night,” Osage coach Devin Johnson said. “We moved the ball well, but we did not finish drives and some were short due to the turnovers.
“Salem changed up who they were offensively and had a good game plan, we just did not execute properly to win.”
Osage’s miscues were present at the start as the Indians fired an interception on their first two drives of the game. The Tigers were able to take advantage of one of those turnovers on a 16-yard touchdown run to go up 7-0 early in the first quarter. The Indians managed to respond early in the second quarter, though, as senior running back James Hutchcraft charged ahead for a 4-yard touchdown run to cut the gap to 7-6 after a missed extra point.
A 5-yard Salem touchdown run with about seven minutes to go before the half put the Tigers back on top 14-6. Just before halftime, a promising Osage drive was halted by a fumble the Tigers were able to recover on their own 15-yard line. The Indians were able to make up for it with an interception from senior Logan Havner and sophomore quarterback Brockton McLaughlin- in his first career start- found senior tight end Elijah Stark for a 65-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-12 after a failed 2-point conversion.
The third quarter got off to a rocky start for Osage as the Indians forced a turnover on downs, only to give up a safety on the first offensive possession. A 7-yard touchdown pass on the ensuing drive put the Tigers up 23-12.
With five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Stark managed to intercept a pass to give the Indians the ball back on their own 30. But a coughed up fumble allowed Salem to scoop and score for a touchdown to extend the lead to 30-12. McLaughlin found senior wideout Michael Lasater for the final score of the night on a 24-yard touchdown pass with a minute left.
McLaughlin went 12-22 for 227 yards, Hutchcraft added 97 yards on the ground and Stark led all receivers with 65 receiving yards.
Osage wraps up the season with a final record of 3-8.
“Overall on the season I believe we took steps forward. I’m proud of our seniors and the effort they gave,” Johnson said. “Most importantly, I am proud of our kids and hope they continue to develop and become great men.”