Ozark went into Lee’s Summit West a heavy underdog to the host Titans as the Tigers gave up size all across the line and Lee’s Summit was has been notoriously tough at home.
“Other coaches in the Kansas City area told us about these guys. They just said to make sure we watched our backs and be careful and just understand at their home field they are usually pretty tough to beat,” Bliss said. “Our kids didn’t pay any attention to that and came out and did a nice job.”
The Tigers showed they didn’t care about the rankings by taking an early 6-0 lead off of a botched snap on a punt that Ian Reese scooped up and took to the house for a 6-0 lead.
Austin Roberts then went off the edge for another Ozark touchdown and made the score 12-0 at the end of the third quarter.
Ozark tacked on another score to get the lead all the way to 19-0 midway through the third quarter.
Then the Titans responded.
Off the ensuing Ozark kickoff, Lee’s Summit West would take it all the way back for its first score of the game. Then the Titans would get on a roll that culminated with a touchdown and a field goal late to get the score out to 23-19 with just 2:30 left in the game and 80 yards of turf between Ozark and the end zone.
The Tigers were reeling, but not ready to roll over yet as Ozark still had its eye on advancing to the semifinals despite the long odds.
“We came here to win. We didn’t come here just to play with them,” Bliss said. “We came here to win and our kids went out and did it.”
Ozark marched down the field in a drive that culminated in a David Salazar pitch to Cody Lindsay for a touchdown and the lead with 23 second left in the game.
The ensuing kickoff was recovered by Reese to ice the game and advance the Tigers.
“How do I feel? Speechless to be honest with you,” Bliss said. “Our kids, boy were the resilient today against a team that we gave up 40 to 50 pounds a man across the line on both sides of the ball. Our kids found a way. 90 percent of that was not coaching, it was kids.”
The win puts the rest of the State on notice that the Ozark Football program is back.
“It (this win) puts us back on the map in 5A,” Bliss said. “It is a huge win for our program and community. I am so proud of these kids and excited for our community and our school.
Ozark will have another long trip as it heads up to Fort Osage next Friday with a trip to the dome on the line.