Regardless of your description, the end result is the same.
Behind its motion heavy offense, the Lamar Tigers racked up 503 yards rushing, a Show-Me Bowl record, en route to a dominating 69-41 victory over Blair Oaks in the Class 2 state championship game Saturday at the Edward Jones Dome.
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“We started this offense back in 2008 to get around our problem of blocking. We figured if we could trick people it would be like getting two good blocks. I like to call it smoke and mirrors,” said Lamar head coach Scott Bailey.
That “nonsense” and “smoke and mirrors” seemingly put Lamar on pace for another blowout victory Saturday when Cole Speights 3-yard touchdown run at the end of the first quarter stretched Lamar’s lead to 14.
But the Falcons weren’t going to go away without putting up a fight.
After struggling to get anything going on the ground during the first quarter, Blair Oaks took to the air in the second stanza and got themselves back into the game thanks to connection of Daniel Castillo to Ashton Maasen for scoring plays of 40 and 53 yards.
Lamar went into the half clinging to a 27-21 lead, and not feeling very good about the type of football they played in the opening 24 minutes.
“At halftime there wasn’t yelling or screaming. It was a bunch of guys taking responsibility for their mistakes in the first half and how they were going to do their part in the second half. It started with me,” said Bailey.
However, things got worse in the third quarter.
After a Lamar turnover on downs, the Falcons responded with an eight play, 65-yard drive capped by an Eli Roberts seven yard touchdown run, giving Blair Oaks its first lead of the game at 28-27.
Not to be outdone, Lamar answered with a 14 play drive spanning 63 yards that ended with a Levi Petersen touchdown run, his second of the day, giving the Tigers the momentum and 33-28 lead.
However that lead would be short lived.
On Blair Oaks’ first play of the ensuing drive Derek Otto took a pitch up the near sideline 69 yards to put the Falcons back ahead 34-33.
Lamar would start the fourth quarter with a nine play, 86-yard drive capped by another Petersen TD run. After a Jared Beshore 2-point conversion, the Tigers regained the lead 41-34.
After more than three quarters of trading touchdowns the Tigers needed a stop.
They got more than they bargained for.
Blair Oaks quarterback Daniel Castillo’s screen pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage, setting up a Chad Rice interception. Lamar would turn that into points just three plays later on another Levi Petersen touchdown run, his fourth of the day.
Leading 48-34 with 8:21 remaining in the game, the Tigers defense had a noticeable pep in their step. Rather than getting complacent, Lamar got more aggressive.
On the second play of the ensuing drive Castillo’s pass would again find another Lamar defender, this time Cedric Gartman, who would take the interception 33 yards for the score, blowing the game wide open, 55-34.
Blair Oaks managed to respond with a solid drive of its own, advancing deep into Lamar territory before the Tigers would come up with another big play.
With Blair Oaks knocking on the door at the Lamar 9 on 3rd and 8, Castillo’s pass attempt again found Gartman, who took the interception back 95 yards for another Tiger score. The return gave Gartman 128 interception return yards, a new Show-Me Bowl record.
En route to winning back-to-back state championships, Lamar would go on to break more than 20 Show-Me Bowl Records including points in a game (69), points in a quarter (36), and total rushing yards (503).
Junior quarterback Levi Petersen finished the game with 254 yards on 31 carries and four touchdowns. The yards equaled the fourth best mark in Show-Me Bowl history and the four touchdowns were second best.
Despite such a historic individual game, Petersen couldn’t help but think about his teammates.
“I’ve been playing with some of these since the fourth grade. It means the world to play with and beside them. I love my teammates,” said Petersen.