The Ozark Tigers beat Nixa 28-21 to claim the Class 5, District 5 championship, but it sure wasn't easy.
It was a rematch of a game played back in early October. Ozark beat Nixa that day 41-21. In the first half on Monday it looked like it was going to be a repeat performance. Thanks in part to two Nixa fumbles, Ozark grabbed a commanding 21-0 lead.
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Down three scores to begin the second half, Nixa opened up the offense and quarterback Austin Schweiss started bringing his team back. The senior got the Eagles on the board with a 1 yard touchdown run and then found Carney Wilmes on a deep strike to cut the Ozark lead to 21-14. "Our kids maybe thought us being up what we were we could sit back and relax," said Ozark head coach Mark Bliss. "They have to understand with Nixa no score is safe."
The Tigers had lost all momentum, but got it back on one play. David Salazar took the ensuing kickoff following Nixa's second touchdown and wouldn't stop until he reached the endzone. "When we had to have some big plays, we found a way to get it done," Bliss said. A 90 yard touchdown return for Salazar would prove to be the difference, as Ozark held on to win 28-21 to claim the district title.
Ozark will now get a crack at the top team in the state, Lee's Summit West. "They're just another team, it's just another game," said Ozark runningback Cody Lindsay. "We've got to show them how we play." The teams meet Saturday in the Class 5 state quarterfinals at 1:30