Most of the Week 4 slate went as planned, but there were several scares for teams that came in as favorites. Hillcrest and Thayer were the two teams the entire staff missed on.
WEEK 4 PICKS RECAP
It was actually a very good week of picking for the O-Zone Staff with Mike Scott missing just three of 32 games.
Mike Scott (29-3): Hillcrest, Stockton, Thayer
Justin Sampson (28-4): Hillcrest, Houston, Thayer, Jasper
Kai Raymer (28-4): Hillcrest, Stockton, Thayer, Jasper
Chad Plein (27-5): Lamar, Hillcrest, Houston, Thayer, Jasper
Bobby Oler (26-6): Hillcrest, Stockton, Mountain Grove, Thayer, Jasper, Drexel
Matt Turer(25-7): Lamar, Carl Junction, Hillcrest, Ozark, Strafford, Thayer, Lockwood
Riley Bean (25-7): Nixa. Glendale, Hillcrest, Strafford, Houston, Thayer, Jasper
Chris Parker (25-7): Glendale, Hillcrest, Ash Grove, Houston, Thayer, Jasper, Cass-Midway
Overall Standings after four weeks:
1. Kai Raymer (110-23)
2. Mike Scott (109-24)
3. Bobby Oler (103-30)
T-4. Justin Sampson (102-31)
T-4. Chris Parker (102-31)
6. Riley Bean (98-35)
7. Chad Plein (97-36)
8. Matt Turer (95-38)
Team of the Week: Lamar
Friday was circled on everyone’s calendars as the defacto Big 8 title game, and it did not disappoint. Lamar came in without the services of two-way stud Luke Hardman who was out with a shoulder injury, and early on it might have affected the Tigers. The team stepped up and outscored Monett 22-7 in the final quarter to run its win streak to 25 games.
The depth of the Tigers is what is stunning. For most teams at the Class 2 level, losing a two-way cog like Hardman would be insurmountable against a top 5 Class 3 team like Monett. For Lamar, it took about a half and the Tigers rolled.
This was likely the last big test for Lamar until the playoffs (yes, I am aware Valle Catholic is on the schedule) when back-to-back dates with Fair Grove and MV-BT/Liberty or Mountain Grove await.
Other teams that stood out
This is a team you don’t hear a lot about because of the lack of 8-man football teams in Southwest Missouri, but the Wildcats are off to a 4-0 start with one forfeit in there. Last Friday, Greenfield beat Pleasanton (Kan.) 54-6 with the game ending at halftime due to a Kansas rule that ends the game after one team is up by 45 points in the second half.
The Wildcats have only played 10 total quarters this season, but have gotten great production out of Jerrett Esposito and Jalen Roby in those quarters. Esposito has rushed for 312 yards and five touchdowns on offense. He has lived in the opponent’s backfield defensively with six sacks and five tackles for a loss.
Roby has caught four passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns to go with two carries for 60 yards in a touchdown. That is 32 yards per touch and a touchdown for every other touch. It is hard to get more efficient than that. He leads the team on defense with 23 total tackles including three sacks.
Hillcrest made it two wins in a row by taking down West Plains 42-28 on the road.
The Panthers welcomed in a 3-0 Willow Springs squad and sent them home at 3-1 with a dominating 53-0 win. Mountain Grove’s defense did not yield a single first down to the Bears and have now allowed six points in the last three games.
Offensively, things continue to hum along with 386 yards on the ground to go with 122 through the air in the win. Carter Otwell got those 122 passing yards on just four completions. He also accounted for 133 of the rushing yards on eight carries for a 16.6 yards-per-carry average. Trystan Short carried 11 times for 161 yards and two touchdowns.
The Eagles won easily again. This time they beat Republic 24-6 in a game that didn’t start until well after 8 p.m. Nixa was a little sluggish in the first half, but dominated the second half by holding Republic to just 76 yards in the second half. The Eagles scored 24 points unanswered to take the game.
The Eagles have moved to 4-0 and are the final remaining unbeaten COC Large team, but have wins over teams with a combined 2-14 record. Things get tougher starting this week with Neosho.
The Bobcats created two turnovers to give Class 3 Salem its first loss. Thayer created two turnovers in the narrow 14-7 win. The win moved Thayer to 2-2 on the season with its two losses coming to a pair of 4-0 teams in Hayti and MV-BT/Liberty.
Sept. 12 O-Zone Podcast
Player of the Week: Luke Montgomery – Glendale
Generally it is tough for a receiver to stand out over his quarterback, but Montgomery is an exception. The senior receiver had 303 yards and four touchdowns on 12 catches in the Falcons’ 48-28 win over Lebanon to remain unbeaten
Outside of the 50-yard catch at 1:30 and a two-point conversion, Montgomery got every single one of the yards after the catch.
10 Others that stood out
Ethan Bates/Josh Osterdyk – Lockwood
Lockwood moved to 4-0 after holding off Archie 37-30. Ethan Bates and Josh Osterdyk buoyed the Tigers on offense with 217 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Osterdyk was right behind with 191 yards and two more touchdowns.
Bates is listed at 6’2, 260 pounds, but you can’t tell by the way he moves with the ball. Watch the cut back he makes on the run at the 45-second mark by clicking here. Players that big shouldn’t be able to move like that.
Shawn Bryan – Skyline
The Skyline senior has had himself a couple weeks. Two weeks ago, he went for 273 yards and five touchdowns on the ground with a sixth touchdown on a 59-yard punt return. This week against Pleasant Hope, Bryan carried the ball 16 times for 192 yards and five touchdowns. Three of those touchdowns came in the first four minutes of the game.
Chris Comerford – Sarcoxie
Sarcoxie has moved to 3-1 with its only loss coming to out-of-state Commerce (Okla.). The latest win was a 35-0 romp past Liberal. Comerford was at the center of the action on both sides of the ball. He rushed for 229 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries in the win. Defensively, he picked off a pass and had 12 tackles.
Jokiem Crawford – Joplin
The dual-threat quarterback for the Eagles was everything for Joplin’s offense in a 43-30 win over Rolla. He threw for 186 yards and two touchdowns while rushing 22 times for 172 yards and two more touchdowns. Crawford needs some polish passing with a 44% completion rate, but on the ground he is lethal with 614 yards and nine touchdowns through two games. That includes two games against the conference’s best squads in Glendale and Kickapoo.
The kid loves contact. Check out the long run at the 47-second mark here. At the end of the run, he looks to lay out some punishment of his own and try to run through a defender.
Jack Hulse – Ozark
Ozark moved to 3-1 with a 28-16 win over Branson. Hulse had a hand in three of the four touchdowns with 12 carries for 89 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He also threw for another touchdown for 46 yards.
Jabin Johnson – Kickapoo
Kickapoo is off to a great start and one of the reason’s is a freshman named Jabin Johnson. The 5’11, 150-pound freshman made a couple great plays in a 42-0 win over Camdenton.
On the first play, he is just playing centerfield and high-points a ball for a pick at the 50. The second play that stood out to me was at the 30-second mark of the video. Chris Lawson throws a beautiful ball to the back corner of the end zone and Johnson adjusts for a leaping touchdown kid. This kid has a chance to be very special.
Boone Kroenke – Lincoln
Kroenke is the quarterback for the area’s best Class 1 team and it showed again in a 62-8 rout of Windsor. The senior accounted for 300 total yards (220 passing and 80 rushing) with six total touchdowns in the win.
Josh Pruett – Liberty
Liberty had to grind a bit to remain unbeaten and defeat Ava 28-20. The senior signal callers had 195 yards and three touchdowns through the air to go with 11 tackles on the defensive side of the ball.
Chase White – Ash Grove
Ash Grove remained unbeaten in a 38-8 win over Marionville. White went for 170 yards and three touchdowns through the air. He tagged on another touchdown and 35 yards on the ground.
Zayshawn Weston – Carl Junction
Carl Junction responded very well to its first loss of the season by handing Neosho its first loss in a 35-20 win. The challenge the Bulldog defense faced against Neosho was much different than any of its first three games. Coleman Scott likes to throw it and has a strong receiving group to deliver the ball to.
Enter Zayshawn Weston.
He had two picks on the night. Go to the 45-second mark of this video to see both back-to-back.
On the first, he shows great concentration on the tipped pass to pick the ball off inside his own five yard line. On the second, he makes a great read on the ball to undercut the receiver and take the ball back at his CJ’s own 27.
Carl Junction has one of the best secondaries in the area and Weston is a key piece why.
What did Glendale do?
Glendale continued to roll. You read a little bit about Luke Montgomery above.
Alex Huston completed 39 of 59 passes for 631 yards and seven touchdowns against one interception. There were 10 total Falcons who caught a pass in the game.
Brandon Moon and Dylan May each had 12 tackles on defense. Kyle Doran and Max Penny were just behind with 11 each.
Best games of Week 5
Kickapoo vs. Glendale (Thurs.)
This is as big as it gets this week in the area and maybe the state. These are two teams who are going to score and score a lot.
Glendale has been much improved thanks to its defense, but Alex Huston doesn’t get enough credit in my opinion. Last year as a sophomore, Huston threw interceptions once every 33.2 attempts. He had a touchdown to interception ratio of 3.5 to 1. This year he is throwing interceptions once every 63 attempts and has a touchdown to interception ratio of 8.3 to 1.
Those numbers can’t be underscored enough as he is helping to keep the defense off the field and fresher by not making as many mistakes.
Kickapoo’s defense was up to the task in a 63-20 win over the Falcons last year. The Chiefs picked off four passes. Two of those were courtesy of Travis Vokolek. The 6’6, 215-pound senior will look to make it two more this year.
The Glendale defense will have its work cut out trying to get extra possessions by creating turnovers. Kickapoo has yet to turn the ball over to this point. Chris Lawson is completing 70% of his passes and has 698 yards passing to go with 10 touchdowns against no interceptions.
Get there early on Thursday; this one will be standing room only.
Neosho at Nixa
We are going to learn a lot about Nixa in this game. So far the Eagles have played teams with a combined 2-14 record. Three of those wins came against Republic, Willard and Branson who are the only COC Large teams yet to win a conference game.
Neosho offers something that no other COC Large team does in a pass-first mentality. For Nixa, this gives us a barometer as to what the Eagles’ ceiling is. For Neosho, it is a must win game to stay in the hunt for a COC Large title.
Springfield Catholic at Bolivar
Bolivar picked up its first win in a 55-13 decision over Hollister. Catholic, led by quarterback Tyson Riley, is off to a 2-2 start with narrow losses to Mount Vernon and Fair Grove their only blemishes.
The Liberators had their conference winning streak snapped by Reeds Spring in Week 3. Now the Irish will try to hand them a second loss and remain unbeaten in the conference.
Diamond at Lockwood
This one is going to go a long way to determining an SRVC Champion. Kyle Bouldin hasn’t played for Lockwood in a couple games, but it hasn’t mattered with Ethan Bates being a one-man wrecking crew on both sides of the ball.
Diamond is a one-point loss to Buffalo from being unbeaten heading into this game.
Buffalo at Hollister
The KSPR Game of the Week features two programs on the upswing. Both are 2-2 and looking for their third wins on the season, which is a big stepping stone for each squad. Hollister hasn’t had a three win season since2010. It has been even longer for Buffalo. This game will give one team great momentum heading into the latter half of the season and an extra leg up when it comes to district seeding time.