Lockwood, MO – Patience.
It’s something everyone can have but few of us can accept.
For Lockwood’s Logan Sparkman, patience was instrumental for him to help his Tigers into the Class 1 state semifinals.
Lockwood runs the split back veer offense – which means they run the ball a lot. And for a wide receiver like Sparkman, it can mean long games with little-to-no action.
“I always thought my time will come.”
“He’s a kid who could have pouted in the corner because we haven’t been throwing the ball a lot this year,” head coach Luke Rader said. “He hasn’t gotten the stats that, as a great receiver he probably deserves.”
Trailing in the state quarterfinals, the Tigers were down by a couple of scores and needed some quick points. Quarterback Paxton Masterson changed from handing the ball off, to slinging it.
After connecting with Jack Purinton just before halftime, Sparkman was his go-to guy down the stretch.
“Just like in practice, put it where Logan can get it,” Rader said.
The 6’3″ receiver scored a 52-yard touchdown to tie the game at 33 near the end of the 3rd quarter. Then to start the 4th, once again it was Sparkman, and his gold shoes getting the call.
“I gotta catch this, it’s my time. I gotta do what I can, if I don’t it’s a big play and it could cost us.”
But a 64-yard score ended up being the difference sending Lockwood to its first state semifinal since 2001.
And as for those golden shoes – it’s not because Logan is an individual, or a showboat.
“We play for Ben,” Sparkman said.
Ben Friend would have turned 13 this week. In September, the middle schooler died from injuries in tragic accident.
“When you’re in a small community like this everyone was close to him,” Rader said, “a brother to a lot of kids.”
“He’s our little Guardian Angel,” Sparkman said, “every time we get a good call, that’s Ben that’s Ben for us.”
Sparkman finished with three receptions in the quarterfinals for 122 yards and also scored on a kickoff return to start the second half.
“You gotta find something from in your heart and do something for the team,” Sparkman said, “and gotta capitalize and do what you can.”
Saturday Lockwood plays at Valle Catholic in the Class 1 state semifinals.