SPRINGFIELD, MO - Week 8 is in the books. The rain held off for another Friday in the Ozarks. A handful of conference championships were decided, including perennial powers Webb City and Bolivar taking the COC Large and Small respectively.
OZARK CONFERENCE - Hillcrest, Lebanon and Parkview entered the night in a 3-way dead heat for the conference title. Hillcrest took care of business with a 34-7 win at winless Rolla. Lebanon scored 20 unanswered to beat a solid Kickapoo squad 20-6 on the road. Johnny Malone led the ferocious Yellow Jacket defensive line. Parkview easily dispatched West Plains 47-7 led by 3 rushing touchdowns from senior Cole Jenkins. Camdenton blasted Joplin 45-10 to keep pace with Lebanon in the district standings. Waynesville edged Glendale 13-9 in the other game. So, Parkview (8-1) visits Lebanon (8-1) next week. The winner of that game will likely share the title with defending OC champ Hillcrest, who hosts Waynesville.
COC LARGE - Webb City. Nuff said. The Cardinals brushed off previously unbeaten Ozark 28-7 to lock up another conference title and run their regular season win streak to 89. Ozark head coach Mark Bliss called it an eye opening loss for his team, saying it shows how much better they need to get. Carthage moved up into 3rd place, doubling up Nixa 42-21 led by Seth Beckner's 3 TDs. Willard picked up a satisfying 28-7 win over Branson, gaining some confidence heading into districts. Republic moved back to the .500 mark with a 33-15 win over Neosho.
COC SMALL - To anyone who thinks Bolivar is having a down year...think again. The Liberators crushed Catholic 53-0 in what was dubbed the showdown for the COC Small crown. The BHS defense stepped up big again, pitching its 4th shutout in 5 games. Marshfield got it going in a 41-0 home win over Buffalo. Rogersville outscored Hollister 54-34. Reeds Spring guaranteed its first winning season since 1999 with a 34-22 non-conference win at Central.
BIG 8 - Cassville is getting some players trickling back from the injury report and it's paying off on the scoreboard. Quarterback Gabe Kirk returned for the second straight week after suffering a neck injury earlier in the season. The sophomore led the Wildcats offense to a 43-7 win over Aurora. Cassville locks up the Big 8 title with that win. The bad news is senior Garrett Kirk left with a serious injury late in the Friday's victory. Lamar stayed in 2nd place with a 49-7 win over East Newton. Monett edged Seneca 34-26. Carl Junction downed Mt Vernon 21-17.
SOUTH CENTRAL ASSOCIATION - Mountain Grove officially clinched the SCA title with a 68-26 blasting of Houston. Ava lit up Cabool 47-7. MV-BT/Liberty handed Salem its 3rd straight loss 33-20. Thayer beat Willow Springs 7-3 in the baseball score of the night.
MID-LAKES CONFERENCE - Skyline made quick work of Marionville 38-7. Ash Grove doubled up Fair Grove 42-21 led by Austin Hurst's 4 touchdowns. Stockton got one in the win column with a 26-7 home win over Pleasant Hope. Conference champ Strafford plays Saturday out of conference against University Academy.
SPRING RIVER VALLEY - Miller improved to 8-0 with a 26-0 win over Highway 39 rival Greenfield, but that win actually did not secure a conference title. The Cardinals must beat fellow unbeaten Sarcoxie next week. The Bears fell 22-20 to non-conference El Dorado Springs. Lockwood overpowered Diamond 42-14. Jasper handled LIberal 28-12.
So we are down to the final week of the regular season. The magnificent 5 undefeated teams stand on top of the Ozarks football world; Miller, Mountain Grove, Strafford, Cassville and Webb City. Of course the true top dog will raise its collective hand at the Jones Dome after Thanksgiving.
In honor of giving spring its fair due, we take time out like we did in basketball season to highlight the spring's most improved/surprise/overachieving/under-the-radar/whatever-you-wanna-call-it teams.
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