Springfield, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- For his inaugural game as Republic’s head coach, Wes Beachler couldn’t find much to be critical about his Tigers Friday night, as they dominated in all phases sailing past the Central Bulldogs, 40-0.
“I’ve been at this for 22 years, so I don’t think I get too many butterflies anymore,” said Beachler. “I knew we didn’t perform very well at our Jamboree in Camdenton. I had concerns about our blocking up front on offense, and about matching up with Central on defense. They have so much speed and talent, you always worry about that. So I didn’t have butterflies. I Possibly had a little anxiety.”
But those anxieties were put to rest fairly early, as the Republic defense held Central to just eight first downs in the shutout victory. The Tiger offense racked up 320 yards on the ground behind a front that opened holes for eight different ball carriers.
“I have lost my first game of the season more than once, but you figure half the teams in Missouri after tonight have a loss,” said Beachler. “I wanted to see the kids get better every day in practice, and then get better tonight, and they did that. Winning the game was just icing on the cake.”
The Tigers scored on their first two possessions with a 9-yard run by James Desjardins with 7:43 left in the first quarter, and a 31-yard carry by Jace Duvall just two minutes later. Both two-point conversion attempts failed leaving Republic ahead 12-0 heading into the second quarter.
Central had its best shot to get back into the game with 6:48 left before halftime. Trailing 12-0, the Bulldog defense forced a fumble and it was picked up by linebacker Kendall Thompson who rumbled five yards into Republic territory before being tackled. A personal foul was called on the play moving the Bulldogs back 15 yards, and then a holding penalty was assessed on their first play from scrimmage, sending Central deeper into its own end and negating the field position advantage.
The Bulldogs did move the ball to the Republic 35 on the drive, but an interception by Tiger linebacker Darion Hall stopped the Bulldog drive at Republic’s 37 with 4:26 left before halftime, and Central had few scoring opportunities the rest of the way.
Republic added another touchdown before halftime, a 10-yard run by Duvall with 1:36 left. Jake Smith ran in the conversion for a 20-0 halftime lead.
The Tigers took the second half momentum on their first play from scrimmage on a 76-yard carry by Zach Dickens down to the Central 1. Dickens ran the next play in for a touchdown, and Colton Peltz ran the 2-point conversion for a 28-0 lead just 40 seconds into the half.
“The blocking was amazing,” said Dickens about his 76-yard carry to open the half. “I didn’t get touched until I almost got there. I was having a horrible game up to that point. I was missing blocks and just playing terrible. I was happy Coach Beachler believed in me and game me a chance right there.”
The Tigers tacked on two more touchdowns in the game, a pick-6 interception returned 50 yards by Desjardins, and a 54-yard touchdown run by Tryston Ellison with 18 seconds remaining to play.
Dickens led the Tiger rushing attack with one touchdown and 105 yards on seven attempts. Peltz added 71 yards on the ground with seven carries.
Republic 12 8 14 6 - 40
Central 0 0 0 0 - 0
Republic – James Desjardins 9 run (run failed).
Republic – Jace Duvall 31 run (run failed).
Republic – Duvall 10 run (Jake Smith run).
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