For the second consecutive season, the Camdenton Lakers are ending their season in fine fashion.
On Monday, Camdenton avenged an earlier loss to rival Lebanon as they won at Yellowjacket Stadium, 42-21, capturing the Missouri Class 5, District 4 championship and the Highway 5 traveling trophy all in one fell swoop.
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The win by the Lakers comes after they opened the season by losing two of their first three and three of their first five, including a 46-21 loss at home to Lebanon in a contest that saw LHS running back Brock West run for 323 and five touchdowns.
On Monday, Camdenton slowed West enough, holding the 2,000 yard rusher to 144 yards and a touchdown. Camdenton forced three Lebanon turnovers, including two in the early going that helped set the momentum of the contest.
"It was a tough night and you have to tip your cap to Camdenton," Lebanon head coach Will Christian said. "They were the better football team (Monday) — in all facets."
Camdenton (8-3) will host Parkway Central (10-1) in a Missouri Class 5 quarterfinal at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday in Camdenton. Parkway Central posted a 29-6 win over Holt to capture the District 3 title on Monday.
A year ago, the Lakers started the season slow under then first-year head coach Jeff Shore, losing four of their first five games. But Camdenton caught fire late, winning three of its final four regular season games. Once in the playoffs, Camdenton defeated Vianney and Ft. Zumwalt East and advanced to the quarterfinals where they fell to eventual state runner-up Kirkwood.
On Monday, Camdenton took a 14-7 lead to the half, then dominated the second half as they scored on every possession. They took a 21-7 lead after opening the third quarter with a four-play drive that was capped by consecutive pass plays from Cory Simpson to Kullen Carlock — the second of which went for a 37-yard touchdown.
The 'Jackets' Aren Martin followed the Laker score by taking a screen pass from Hayden Brackett 68 yards to cut the Laker lead to 21-14 with 9:09 remaining in the third quarter.
It was as close as Lebanon would get. The Lakers followed Martin's scor by putting together a 62-yard, 14-play drive that was capped by an eight-yard run by running back Murphy Ward with 2:32 remaining. The drive chewed up nearly seven minutes of the third quarter. Trailing 28-14, LHS failed to convert on a key fourth down on its following possession and turned the ball over on downs in Laker territory.
Camdenton followed with another long drive, but appeared to stall inside the 20 as Ward had two 16-yard touchdowns called back on penalties. Facing a third-and-long from the Lebanon 16, Ward scored again and this time the score stood, giving the Lakers a 35-14 lead with 6:23 remaining.
Ward finished Monday's game with 168 yards rushing on 30 carries and three touchdowns. Camdenton had 337 yards of total offense, and qaurterback Cory Simpson was 9-for-13 passing for 137 yards and a score. Kullen Carlock, who has returned to the Laker line-up after an early-season injury, had several big plays, both on offense and defense.
He had a 15-yard touchdown run on third-and-long with 4:41 remaining in the first half, and had a touchdown catch to open the third. Carlock also had an interception in the 'Jackets opening play of the game. He finished the game with five catches for 92 yards and ran the ball four times for 43 yards. Justin Barnabe finished the contest with 119 yards and a score, much of which came on the Lakers' final drive.
"I thought he (Carlock) played extremely well and made several pivotal play," Christian said. "I thought Simpson had a big scramble on third down early in the ball game which I thought was important for them, and Ward ran extremely well and they won the battle up front.
"For us, we had some critical possessions that we didn't capitalize on in the first half that put us in a position we didn't want to be in."
The win for Camdenton snaps a five-game losing streak to Lebanon, and returns the Highway 5 Trophy to Camdenton. The trophy is in its first year of existence and resided in Lebanon after the earlier 'Jacket win over Camdenton.