The 500th win in program history is still out there for Camdenton to capture.

The 500th win in program history is still out there for Camdenton to capture.

The Lakers have dropped two in a row facing two of the top teams in the Ozark Conference in West Plains (5-0) and Bolivar (4-1), but the team needs just one more win to reach the milestone victory and will have a chance to get it done Friday night when Camdenton visits winless Hillcrest (0-5) at 7 p.m.

Facing a winless team may sound like as good an opportunity as any for the Lakers to secure that win, but Coach Jeff Shore has never been one to underestimate any opponent in this conference. After all, the Hornets lost by just a single point to unbeaten West Plains and three of the team’s five games have been decided by five points or less so this team seems to know how to fight. The Hornets are coming off a 31-27 loss at Waynesville last week.

“They have to be the best 0-5 team in the state,” Shore said of Hillcrest. “Very athletic. We have at least five starters out with quarantine or injury so some of our young guys will need to step up.”

Well, Camdenton has already shown some resolve.

Trailing by as many as 25 points in the third quarter last week against Bolivar, Camdenton scored 19 unanswered points to pull within six points with just over seven minutes left in the game before the Liberators pulled away for a 38-26 win. This time, the team is certainly hoping that kind of effort won’t be necessary.

The Lakers are currently averaging 340.8 yards and 23.2 points per game with an average of 244.2 yards coming through the air and 96.6 coming on the ground. Up next is a Hillcrest defense that has given up an average of 33 points per game.

Camdenton’s passing game has been fairly consistent all season, but the Lakers have not been able to rush the ball so easily, combining for just 34 rushing yards the past two games against a pair of formidable defensive fronts. The passing attack is an emphasis in Camdenton’s style of offense, but a little more balance may take just a little of the pressure off the quarterbacks.

Senior signal caller Jacob Wormsley is currently 73-115 for 906 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions and sophomore Bear Shore is 44-69 for 91 yards and three interceptions. As is the case any week, they usually always have a few receivers to go to.

Their top target continues to be returning senior All-State receiver Cooper Ezard who has caught 44 passes for 584 yards and six touchdowns through five games while fellow senior Jadin Faulconer has totaled 35 receptions for 230 yards and three scores. With the statistics currently available, senior wideout Phillip Kurle has also been a consistent option with 11 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown through four games and senior Eli Griffin has shown some reliable hands with 12 catches for 81 yards after four games.

On the ground, Faulconer remains the top rusher with 259 yards and a touchdown, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Wormsley has also shown some mobility if he finds himself under pressure with 135 yards and a touchdown, averaging a respective 5.4 yards per rush.

The “Purple Haze” defense of Camdenton is giving up 28.6 points per game and will be facing a Hillcrest offense that is averaging 21.6 points of its own. The Hornets have a quarterback in junior Mike Floyd who has seen some mixed results so far in 2020, but one man the Lakers will certainly have to keep an eye on is senior receiver Gunnar Brooks who has put together a few highlights of his own as the top target for Floyd. On the ground, sophomore running back ZaQuan Henderson will also have to be contained and Camdenton will have to sharpen things up quickly after allowing 390 rushing yards to Bolivar last week.

Time to see if the Lakers have what it takes to keep Hillcrest winless in the Ozark Conference. 

BRAGGING RIGHTS

Camdenton won last season’s battle against Hillcrest at home, 57-7.

WHO’S HOT

Hauling in 10 receptions for over 100 yards each last week to go with a combined three touchdown catches, Ezard and Faulconer have been consistent leaders in Camdenton’s passing attack all season and certainly have no intention of slowing down any time soon.

WATCH OUT

Shore pointed out Hillcrest’s fast and athletic playmakers and Floyd, Brooks and Henderson seem to be a few of the Hornets at the top of the list. Being able to isolate that trio may determine the difference in this one.