SPRINGFIELD, MO - The list of Southwest Missouri unbeaten teams shrunk by a few in week 4. Class 2 2nd ranked MV-BT/Liberty was the most surprising team to pick up its first loss. Ava knocked off the Eagles at home 27-26.
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The South Central Association is proving to be one of the most interesting conference races. MV-BT/Liberty's loss opens the door for Mountain Grove and Salem, who both remained perfect Friday night. MG bounced Willow Springs 43-13. Salem dropped Thayer to 1-3 overall 21-6. Houston picked up its 2nd straight win, 27-6 over Cabool.
Cassville and Carl Junction remain the only unbeaten teams in Big 8 action. Cassville eked out its 32nd straight regular season win 18-14 at Seneca. CJ blasted class 3 7th ranked Aurora 45-22. Cassvile and Carl Junction meet next week in Cassville. Monett kept it rolling with a 42-14 win over East Newton. Lamar bounced back to hand Mt Vernon its first loss, 28-6.
A trio of Ozark Conference teams remain perfect; Hillcrest, Parkview and Lebanon. The Hornets blanked West Plains 20-0, while Lebanon made quick work of Glendale 49-0; 3 more touchdowns for Brock West on just 6 carries. Meanwhile, break up the Parkview Vikings! The Green and Gold moved to 4-0 for the first time since 1980 with a 55-21 romp of Waynesville. Camdenton bounced back with a 25-6 win at Kickapoo. Senior running back Murphy Ward put up 191 yards and 3 touchdowns. Joplin greeted Rolla from its 3 hour bus ride with a 29-25 defeat. The 5th Springfield Public School, Central, fell 42-8 to visiting Excelsior Springs.
The COC Large is also currently a 3-horse race. Webb City handled Republic 48-7. Ozark lit up Carthage 65-26. Nixa shutout Willard 28-0. Branson picked up its first conference win 40-32 over Neosho.
In the COC Small, Bolivar got back on track, 38-0 at Hollister. Rogersville got on the board with a 42-34 shootout win at Marshfield. And Reeds Spring brushed off last week's last second loss with a 47-0 win over Buffalo. Catholic went out of conference, beating Fair Grove 41-7. Cameron Skornia racking up 176 yards on 22 carries.
The Mid Lakes Conference is stacking up as a good one as well. Strafford figures to be the favorite after a 63-0 homecoming win over Stockton (4 rushing TDs and 2 passing TDs for Jacob Wade), but don't count out Skyline and surprising Ash Grove. Skyline improved to 4-0 with a 57-14 win over Pleasant Hope. Ash Grove stayed perfect with a 46-15 win over Marionville. Pirates QB Sean Mulkey threw for 206 yards on 13 of 21 passing.
Miller and Sarcoxie are the lone 4-0 squads in the Spring River Valley. Coach Baldwin and the Cardinals downed Diamond 39-6. Sarcoxie handed Pierce City its first loss 54-44. Lockwood kept pace with a 30-13 win over Jasper.
Next week marks the midway point of the season as we fight toward the inaugural MSHSAA bracket style playoff format week 10.