By Jordan Burton (Ozarks Sports Zone)
You can even call it just another game.
But no matter how you slice it, Lockwood is 5-0 for the third time in the last four seasons after beating host Diamond 49-24 on Friday. This coming nearly a year to the date after the Wildcats beat Lockwood last year for the first time in more than a decade, using that win to claim an outright SRVC title for the first time in school history.
“Coming into the week at practice Papa Rader told us that we owe them one for what happened last year,” said Senior receiver Logan Sparkman. “That kind of sparked our energy and motivation for this game.”
Lockwood wasted little time getting started.
The Tigers marched down the field on their opening drive of the game, but a fumble would stall that drive. That would be the only thing that stopped Lockwood early.
Paxton Masterson scored from four yards out on the Tigers second drive. The third drive was much of the same, just happened a little quicker, with Masterson taking the first snap of the drive 91 yards to paydirt.
The junior, who continues to settle in at quarterback, rushed for 249 yards and four touchdowns on just 14 carries. He also tossed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Sparkman.
“I think he’s gotten better with his reads each week and we’ve got a lot of talented skill kids so none of them have really put up huge numbers because we’ve spread the ball around so much,” said Lockwood coach Luke Rader. “Last week it was the pitch back that had the big runs and tonight they took the pitch away so he was able to have some huge runs. It’s nice to have those options and he’s been getting better and better each week.”
Seniors Justin Nentrup and Josh Osterdyk finished with 80 and 69 yards respectively on 21 combined rushes.
Diamond did make a late push with senior Hunter Renfro and sophomore Colbin Brown both adding late scores, but the Cats couldn’t overcome a 40-point deficit to start the quarter.
The Wildcats are now 0-5 and will visit an undefeated Sarcoxie team that hasn’t allowed more than 12 points in a game this season.
For Lockwood, the push for yet another SRVC championship starts with a homecoming visit from rival Pierce City. PC hasn’t won a game in Lockwood since 2009.
With both teams, as well as Sarcoxie, undefeated and jockeying for position in the conference, Friday’s game will be critical in the hunt for a conference championship.
“It’ll be a huge game obviously, but it’s another one where we just need to focus on getting better,” said Rader. “We’ve been able to improve and get better each week. Coming into the season we had five new starting linemen and they’ve continued to improve and they’ll have to keep doing that to get ready for Pierce City. I know they’re going to be tough so we’ll have to play well.”