Monday Rewind: Conference races coming into focus

Week 5 was marred by rain and storms, but after three days all of the games got in.

Let's take a look back at Week 5 before focusing on Week 6 and conference races at the bottom of this article.

See the top plays of Week 5 above.

Team of the Week: Glendale

Glendale is for real and anybody who doubted it prior to last Thursday is a believer now. In Mike Mauk’s third season, the Falcons are the prohibitive favorite to win the Ozark Conference and claim a top seed in a winnable district.

The Falcons were firing on all cylinders on Thursday in a 40-20 win over Kickapoo. Alex Huston continued his aerial assault with 47 completions on 70 attempts for 581 yards and five touchdowns. Three receivers had 13 catches with more than 140 yards in Von Oeser (166 yards), Luke Montgomery (153 yards) and Jeremy Almeida (148 yards).

Defensively, Nick Austin was a difference maker with two fumble recoveries and an interception as the Falcons snapped their rival’s 13-game conference winning streak.
Glendale finishes with Parkview, Rolla, Waynesville and Camdenton.

Five others that stood out:
The Bears took back-to-back tough losses to SCA foes Mountain Grove and Liberty. Salem felt the brunt of those frustrations on Saturday as the Bears rolled up a 38-0 win on their SCA rivals.

Ava did most of its offensive damage on the ground with 244 total yards led by Kelly McDonald’s 25 carries for 126 yards and three touchdowns.

On the defensive side, Ava lived in the backfield with eight total tackles for a loss.

East Newton
The Patriot defense stepped up in a big way in a 14-0 win over Seneca. It was the first Big 8 win since 2009 and first win of any kind since Sept. 5, 2-15 (742 days). It also was new head coach Jamie LaSalle’s first win.

El Dorado Springs
The Bulldogs played an overmatched Slater team in a 76-0 win, but it was still an impressive output for a team that scored just 32 points combined in its first four games. As a team, the Bulldogs rushed for 408 yards to go with 74 through the air. El Dorado Springs will hope to use this as a springboard to the second half of its season.

No John Berry, no problem. Eight different players logged a carry for the Yellowjackets in a 42-6 win over Hillcrest. Lebanon totaled 263 yards and three touchdowns on the ground with no player gaining more than 80 yards.

The Yellowjackets were dangerous through the air as well with Cole Breeden hitting Jack Ehrhardt six times for 64 yards and three touchdowns.

Lebanon now sits tied with Kickapoo for second place in the Ozark Conference with games against West Plains, Joplin, Kickapoo and Parkview remaining.

Ozark’s run defense has been its calling card all season long. This week Republic put its strength (run offense) against Ozark’s strength and came up with a 32-29 win to get a win on the board in the COC Large.

The Tigers rushed for 227 yards as a team and converted 11 of 15 third downs. Quarterback Riley Watkins was at the center of all of the action with 26 carries for 157 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 89 yards and two touchdowns against one interception through the air.

After running through teams with a combined 12-3 record in the first three conference games, Republic looks poised to make a move in the second half of the schedule with two of the four games remaining coming against winless Branson and one-win Willard.


Player of the Week: Lane Loomer – Bolivar

Bolivar needed a big game against upstart Catholic and they got that from Lane Loomer on the way to a convincing 35-7 victory. Loomer carried the ball 33 times for 275 yards and two touchdowns. The touchdowns came for 61 and 58 yards out to swing momentum for the Liberators.

You can see those game-breaking runs at the 2:28 and 2:53 marks of the video by click here.

10 others who stood out:
Chance Barbe – Mountain Grove
Mountain Grove had no trouble in a 53-14 win over Cabool. Chance Barbe had an extremely efficient performance with six carries for 118 yards and three touchdowns which comes out to an average of 19.7 yards per carry. Defensively, he had a tackle and a sack.

Jackson Bekemeier – Hollister
Hollister has a three-win season for the first time since 2010 and Jackson Bekemeier is a big reason why. He led the way at quarterback in a 34-20 win over Buffalo with 205 yards and a touchdown through the air to go with a rushing touchdown.

Trey Collins – Carthage
Trey Collins does a little bit of everything for a Carthage team that held off Willard to move to 4-1 on the season. He had 90 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries to lead Carthage.

He iced the game with a 46-yard touchdown run you can find at the 1:55 mark of this video.

Jokiem Crawford – Joplin
Crawford makes this space for the second time in as many weeks, but the Joplin quarterback is highly deserving after carrying the ball 24 times for 150 yards and five touchdowns to go with 170 yards and two touchdowns through the air in a 48-34 win over West Plains.

You can see full highlights of the game by clicking here.

Garrett Hadlock – Mount Vernon
Another week, another staggering stat line from Garrett Hadlock. He was 21-for-28 passing for 335 yards and six touchdowns in a win over McDonald County.

You can see five of those six touchdown passes by clicking here.

Keegan Hoopes – West Plains
West Plains has sputtered to a 1-4 start, but none of that falls at the feet of Keegan Hoopes who has been a stud virtually every week. The Zizzers caught the loss against Joplin, but Hoopes still got his with 30 carries for 186 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. A reception pushed his yards from scrimmage just above 200. So far this season, West Plains is fourth in the Ozark Conference in points scored with 172, but is third to last in points given up with 192.

Austin Fodge – Fair Grove
Fodge was a one-man wrecking crew in a 39-7 win over Stockton. The Eagles rushed for 362 yards as a team with Fodge accounting for 251 of those yards and three touchdowns on just 13 carries.

River Phelps – Cassville
Phelps did a little bit of everything for Cassville in a 21-12 win over St. James. He carried the ball 31 times for 211 yards and a touchdown. In close game, things often come down to field position. The senior back also had his foot all over that action averaging 39.8 yards per punt and 57.5 yards per kickoff. He was also three-for-three on extra point attempts.

Josh Pruett – MV-BT/Liberty
Liberty rolled Willow Springs 55-6 and Josh Pruett did Josh Pruett things. He was 19-for-25 passing for 318 yards and three touchdowns. On the ground, he carried 11 times for 134 yards and two more touchdowns. Defensively, Pruett added in eight tackles and a sack.

Pruett has just more than 1,500 yards from scrimmage and 23 touchdowns from scrimmage this season.

Triston Shepherd – Diamond
Diamond made a statement against a Kyle Bouldin-less Lockwood in a 47-22 win. Shepherd only played the first half of the game before leaving with injury, but he made his limited time count. The senior carried the ball 14 times for 213 yards and three touchdowns and completed his only pass for 16 yards.

On the season, Shepherd has 874 yards rushing on 87 carries with 12 touchdowns and 969 yards of total option. He should be good to go this week despite leaving with an injury in the Lockwood game.

You can see him doing his damage against Lockwood by clicking here

Conference Reset
With the season halfway done, let’s reset the conference championship races.

This is Glendale’s conference to lose with an undefeated record and wins already in the bank over the two one-loss teams (Kickapoo and Lebanon).

Oct. 7 – Lebanon at Kickapoo
Both teams will likely come into this game with one loss each, so the winner remains alive for a share of the conference title if Glendale were to slip up in the next game on this list.

Oct. 14 – Camdenton at Glendale
Glendale’s next three opponents (Parkview, Rolla and Waynesville) have a combined three wins. It would require a major upset for the Falcons to come into this game with anything less than an unblemished record.

This is the most wide open conference in Southwest Missouri and maybe the state. I could easily be talked into a three or four-way tie for first place at the end of the year. Until then, Nixa is the favorite as the Eagles sport the unbeaten record.

Key Games
Sept. 23 – Webb City at Nixa
(See Week 6 key games below)

Sept. 23 – Carl Junction at Carthage
(See Week 6 key games below)

Oct. 7 – Neosho at Webb City
If two losses are going to earn a share of the conference, then this will be an elimination game.

Oct. 14 – Carl Junction at Nixa
If things break right for these teams over the next three weeks, there won’t be a bigger game in Week 9 than this one with the winner having a good shot at being the first team not named Webb City to win a COC Large football title. But in this conference this year, things never seem to break easy.

Reeds Spring is the favorite after taking down the champ in Bolivar head-to-head.

Oct. 14 – Reeds Spring at Springfield Catholic
Barring any upsets until this game, Reeds Spring will come in with a chance to run through the conference unbeaten and win a COC Small title. On the other side, an upstart Catholic team will look to forge a three-way tie for the title between these two teams and Bolivar.

Fair Grove has stormed out of the gate to an undefeated start.

Sept. 23 – Ash Grove at Skyline
Ash Grove is the only unbeaten team besides Fair Grove in the conference. This is a big test against a Skyline team that has run hot and cold this season with losses by 35, 46 and 47 and wins by 40 and 49

Oct. 7 – Fair Grove at Ash Grove
A win this week for Ash Grove will likely send Ash Grove and Fair Grove into this game with matching unbeaten records and the Mid-Lakes Conference title on the line.

This race is over. Lamar will be your champion.

Sept. 23 – Cassville at Monett
(See Week 6 key games below)

Oct. 1 – Lamar at Valle Catholic
Lamar gets the Class 1 champs on the road and a team that boasts the nation’s longest active winning streak.

SCA – Click here for full standings
For all intents and purposes, this conference will be decided when Mountain Grove travels to Liberty for the KSPR Game of the Week this week.

Sept. 23 – Mountain Grove at MV-BT/Liberty
(See Week 6 key games below)

SRVC – Click here for full standings
After Lockwood’s Kyle Bouldin went down with a torn ACL, this conference became a two-horse race between Diamond and Sarcoxie with Pierce City and Lockwood still looming.

Sept. 23 – Sarcoxie at Diamond
(See Week 6 key games below)

Sept. 23 – Lockwood at Pierce City
Both teams have one conference loss and the loser is likely eliminated from any shot at a conference championship. Lockwood will be without Kyle Bouldin who is out with a torn ACL.

Week 6 Key Games
Mountain Grove at MV-BT/Liberty
It doesn’t get bigger than this game this week.

On the line in this game are:
1. A likely SCA title
2. A likely district top seed and the right to play at home throughout districts
3. Bragging rights over a rival

These teams rely on a lot of two-way players. Things for Liberty start with quarterback Josh Pruett and his 1,500 yards from scrimmage and 23 total touchdowns. He is also a key cog on defense.

Brenton Bush has been his top target with 39 catches for 616 yards and nine touchdowns.

Liberty has owned this series of late with five consecutive wins and wins in seven of the last eight including two in playoff games.

If Mountain Grove is to turn the tide, this team is equipped to do it with stars all over the field.

Mountain Grove is going to run the ball and run it often in any game they play. The Panthers have run the ball 227 times this year versus just 29 total passing attempts. Both Trystan Short (592 yards) and Carter Otwell (556 yards) have cleared the 500-yard rushing barrier. Chance Barbe gives them a third threat with 367 total yards. All three of those players have at least seven touchdowns on the ground.

Lathem Melton-Farmer is the all-state lineman who makes things go opening up lanes for Grove ball carriers to run through. Melton-Farmer has four of the team’s 14 total sacks on the season and eight of 28 tackles for a loss.

Webb City at Nixa
Webb City has gotten things figured out at least defensively. After yielding 23 points in a Week 1 loss to Carl Junction and 34 points to Carthage in a Week 2 loss, the Cardinals have given up 21 total in three wins since.

The offense has gotten a strong rushing attack averaging 319 yards per game on the ground in the three wins. In the first two losses of the season, Webb City put up an average of 168.5 per game.

Fumbles do continue to be a problem, as the Cardinals are up to 24 total fumbles with 15 of them lost. They had no trouble with Pittsburg (Kan.) despite losing three fumbles last week. Those mistakes could sink the Cardinals against a quality Nixa team.

On the other side, Nixa survived its first real test of the season by beating Nesoho 31-28. This is the second game this year the Cardinals have needed strong fourth quarters to hold off a team.

Webb City and its veer present a much different look this week than Neosho and its aerial attack.

Carl Junction at Carthage
It is time to see if Carthage is for real.

Carthage fell to Ozark in the first week and then stunned Webb City in Week 2. Since then, the Tigers have outscored its three opponents by a combined 119-36. The combined record of those three opponents though is 1-14.

Carl Junction has had some games tighter than expected, but the defense has continued to be there. The Bulldogs forced four turnovers (three interceptions and a fumble) against Branson and held the Pirates to just 3-for-13 on third down conversions. On the season, the Bulldog defense has been especially stingy on third down holding its opponents to just 7-for-41 on those attempts.

Cassville at Monett
The Barry County Brawl features two one-loss teams with second place in the Big 8 on the line.
This also features a head-to-head battle between two of the conference’s best running backs in Cassville’s River Phelps and the bruising Michael Branch for Monett.
Monett has won the previous three match ups.

Sarcoxie at Diamond
This game is for control of the SRVC. Triston Shepherd had a scary looking leg injury against Lockwood, but should be good to go for this game according to his coach.
Sarcoxie has yet to lose to a Missouri school with its only loss coming to Commerce (Okla.). Chris Comerford is their leader at quarterback.