By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
SPRINGFIELD — Lebanon’s only pass of the night resulted in an interception. The Yellow Jackets fared much better on their 68 rushing attempts.
Lebanon piled up 680 rushing yards amid a 56-32 win at Parkview on Friday night. The outcome locks up a first-round bye for the Yellow Jackets in the upcoming Class 5 District 4 tournament.
“(Running the ball) is our game plan every week,” Lebanon coach Will Christian said. “We’re a flex-bone team, an option team, a running team.
“We were able to do a lot of things, with sweep plays, our option game and our dive game. It was all good tonight.”
On his 18th birthday, Lebanon senior fullback John Berry led the way.
Berry had 286 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 33 carries. He had 225 rushing yards and four touchdowns by halftime.
“Our offensive line was pushing hard all night,” Berry said. “When they’re going hard like that, it makes me want to (run) hard for them.”
Berry, who’s about 20 yards shy of reaching 2,000 for the season, projects to become Lebanon’s single-season and career rushing leader in the Yellow Jackets next game. Both records are held by Brock West (LHS Class of ’13).
“I just try to keep pounding,” Berry said. “As the fullback, I know (big runs) aren’t going to be there every single time. I just have to keep grinding, grinding and grinding.”
Running backs Hunter Bray (147) and Joseph Boshe (123) also surpassed the century mark for Lebanon.
The Yellow Jackets (6-3 overall) were in control from start to finish, but a wild sequence late in the second quarter injected life and energy into the one-win Vikings.
The Yellow Jackets were on the verge of retaking a three-possession lead, but fumbled on the Parkview 1 yard-line. Vikings junior defensive back Kenyen Keiber scooped up the loose ball and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown, bringing Parkview with 28-19.
The play was eerily similar to a Parkview turnover earlier in the quarter, when the Vikings fumbled away a potential 22-yard touchdown catch near the goal-line.
“It’s Friday the 13th, so we knew there had to be some craziness,” Christian said.
After the long fumble return for a touchdown, Lebanon answered with Berry’s fourth touchdown run of the night.
But Parkview put up the final score of the first half as quarterback Trevor Boice found Jevin Huddleston for a 56-yard touchdown catch to make it a 35-25 game.
Huddleston caught five passes for 98 yards and a touchdown.
Lebanon’s defense improved in the second half, allowing just seven points.
“I was proud of our defense in the second half,” Christian said. “We came up with some stops that allowed us to get some space between us and Parkview and put the game away.”
Vikings junior running back Blake Delacruz had 209 yards on 29 carries. He’s less than 50 rushing yards away from reaching the 2,000 mark for the season.
Boice finished 17-for-26 for 248 yards and two touchdowns. He added two rushing touchdowns. Only a sophomore, Boice has over 2,100 yards from scrimmage this season.
Lebanon hosts the winner of Branson-Springfield Central on Oct. 27. Branson (3-6) jumped into the No. 3 spot ahead of Ozark due to its regular-season win over the Tigers (5-4).
Parkview (1-8) is the No. 6 seed in the Class 5 District 5 tournament. The Vikings travel to No. 3 seed Willard next Friday.
Lebanon 56, Parkview 32
Lebanon 21 14 14 7 — 56
Parkview 7 18 0 7 — 32
Lebanon – Berry 5 run (Mills kick)
Lebanon – Berry 17 run (Mills kick)
Parkview – Boice 5 run (Carlson kick)
Lebanon – Boshe 3 run (Mills kick)
Lebanon – Berry 13 run (Mills kick)
Parkview – Clark 11 catch from Boice (run failed)
Parkview – Keiber 99 fumble return (run failed)
Lebanon – Berry 33 run (Mills kick)
Parkview – Huddleston 56 catch from Boice (run failed)
Lebanon – Bray 5 run (Mills kick)
Lebanon – Boshe 38 run (Mills kick)
Lebanon – Berry 1 run (Mills kick)
Parkview – Boice 5 run (Carlson kick)
STAT LEADERS (Unofficial)
Rushing: Berry 33 carries for 286 yards, 5 TDs; Boshe 11 carries for 127 yards, 2 TDs; Hunter Bray 11 carries for 143 yards, 1 TD; Breeden 5 carries for 61 yards
Passing: Boice 17-for-28 for 248 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing: Delacruz 29 carries for 209 yards; Boice 5 carries for 15 yards, 2 TDs
Receiving: J. Huddleston 5 catches for 98 yards, 1 TD; Clark 5 catches for 74 yards, 1 TD; Buckley 3 catches for 47 yards; Rayburn 4 catches for 29 yards
TURNOVERS: Parkview 3, Lebanon 2