By Hunter Meine (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The Lebanon Yellowjackets defeated the Glendale Falcons 52-18 to claim the Class 5, District 5 football title on Friday night.
The two teams last faced off on Sept. 25th, resulting in an almost equal score of 52-20. Lebanon also came out on top of this matchup. With the win tonight, Lebanon has now won five consecutive against Glendale.
Lebanon entered the district championship favorites thanks to their first meeting, but Glendale took the field as defending district champions. The Falcons hoisted the district title in 2019, with a chance to go back-to-back in 2020.
Glendale won the coin toss and elected to kick the ball to start the game. Lebanon’s opening drive started at their own 39-yard line, where senior Drew McBride’s successful 3rd down conversion helped the Yellowjackets to a strong start. Fellow Senior Isaac Ledbetter ripped a hole in the defense in the following play to move the ball into the Falcon’s red zone.
Glendale’s goal line defense proved to be more formidable, holding Lebanon from scoring for several plays. Eventually McBride cracked his way through, giving the Yellowjackets an early 6-0 lead. McBride’s two-point conversion was unsuccessful.
The Falcons had a lot of ground to cover after receiving the ball on their own 16-yard line. Glendale’s offense featured the first pass attempt of the game, a seven-yard reception by Senior Jack Clinkenbeard.
Glendale made steady progress to the Lebanon 30-yard line before a holding call put them in a deficit they couldn’t recover from. On 3rd and 24 the Falcons attempted a Hail Mary pass that was picked off by sophomore Nathan Bartell, ending their opening drive.
Lebanon capitalized immediately, with Drew McBride splitting the defense to the four-yard line and a subsequent touchdown. He went virtually untouched in the two quick plays.
McBride successfully converted the two-point try this time around, bringing the Lebanon lead up to 14-0.
Lebanon would recover the ensuing kickoff to get the ball right back. While their running game had excelled for them so far, a passing play was drawn up for senior Cordell Zebel who hauled in a 30-yard touchdown reception.
Lebanon ended Glendale’s final drive of the first quarter with a fumble recovery and held a 20-0 lead after one quarter.
The Yellowjackets had what looked to be a rough start to the second quarter until Zebel bailed them out of a 4th and 8 situation with another great catch. The reception put Lebanon right near the goal line once again, this time run in by senior Antonio Rodgers. Zebel caught the two-point conversion, increasing the lead to 28-0.
Glendale finally got on the board halfway into the second quarter. The Falcons once again steadily made their way into the red zone. Their first touchdown was caught by Jack Clinkenbeard. A failed conversion put the score at 28-6.
Lebanon would score once more before the half to take a commanding 36-6 lead into the break.
Trying to get back in the game, Glendale opened the second half with a 4 minute drive, eventually making their way into the end zone for the second time. Sophomore Cole Feurbacher took it across the line, cutting the Lebanon lead down to 36-12.
It took half the time for the Yellowjackets to strike back. McBride scored and converted once again, putting Lebanon up 44-12. The following drive carried over into the 4th quarter, where sophomore Nathan Bartell increased the score yet again to 52 after the conversion by McBride.
Lebanon would finish the game off with a 52-18 win.
Lebanon has been here before. The Yellowjackets won district titles in 2017 and 2018. They now have a total of seven district titles in their program’s history, and three in the past four years.
“Winning district championships aren’t easy. They’re hard to do, so we’re very appreciative,” said head coach Will Christian. “I thought our offense played really well. I thought our defense played really well tonight. Glendale’s very dangerous, but I thought we had a good plan and we executed. I’m super proud of our kids and our coaches.”
Star of the show Drew McBride enjoyed the victory but had nothing but praise for his teammates.
“It feels good. We played really well as a team. Our offensive line played great, they opened up a lot of big holes and that’s the reason we won.”
Lebanon will travel to Webb City next Friday in a state quarterfinal matchup.