By Amanda Perkins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
West Plains rolled to 5-0 and handed Lebanon its first loss of the season Friday night, but it sounded a bit like business as usual for the Zizzers.
“Everybody titled it the Ozark Conference championship,” said Zizzer quarterback Connor Rackley of the match-up implications, “but we’ve got three, four more weeks we’ve got to get through.”
Head coach Steve Ary said his team would enjoy their win for a weekend, but “we can’t have a hiccup and stumble, and we’ve got to keep rolling. The key here for the rest of the thing is just focus.”
But while they take it week by week, the Zizzers are putting together an impressive game on both sides of the ball. West Plains scored on seven of seven drives and limited their opponent to two touchdowns.
The Zizzers first marched the ball down the field with Brayden Lidgard and Allen Marcak leading the charge, then scored with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Rackley to Marcak. Lebanon quarterback Ty Glendenning responded with the option to Joey Boshe, resulting in a 15-yard gain. His next pass, however, was met with a deflection from Weston Mitchell and recovered by Lane Jett for the Zizzers to regain possession.
Lidgard and Garrett Warren each collected a touchdown at the start of the second quarter to advance 21-0 before the Yellowjackets could answer.
But answer they did, as Glendenning once again utilized the option and pitched to Boshe for a 40-yard gain. Glendenning punched in the touchdown from 10 yards out on a midline keep, 21-7.
Rackley then connected with Daniel Cobb for 15 yards, Lidgard rushed for 21, and Marcak carried for 8 before Lidgard would score again from 5 yards out, 28-7.
In the second half, the Yellowjackets capitalized on a Zizzer penalty to advance the ball to midfield. Lebanon used some trickery to complete a reverse pass to Curtis Mobley for a gain of 30, putting them inside the red zone. Glendenning added the three yard touchdown, now trailing just 28-13.
But a pass interference call against Lebanon resulted in two more penalties and seemed to take the wind out of the team’s sails. The Zizzers were dominant for the remainder of the second half, winning 48-13.
“West Plains is an excellent team and super physical,” said Lebanon head coach Will Christian. “They were the better team tonight.”
Lidgard added three more touchdowns for a total of five on the night, picking up 234 yards on 35 carries. Rackley was 8 for 10 for 114 yards and two touchdowns on the night, and Marcak added 53 yards on 2 receptions and 19 yards on 2 carries.
The Yellowjackets completed 225 yards in 35 attempts and two touchdowns and were 4/14 for 75 yards and 1 INT. Quameire Wright added 77 rushing yards on 18 carries and Glendenning 51 yards on 6 carries. Boshe picked up 82 yards rushing on 7 carries.
The Zizzers travel to Parkview next week while the Yellowjackets road trip to Camdenton.