Visiting Hornets raise 2017 mark to 4-0 overall, 2-0 in Midland Empire Conference behind suffocating defense, opportunistic offense Friday, Sept. 8.
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
CAMERON, Mo. — A trio of 1-play touchdown-producing possessions and a 2-plays “drive” highlighted the Chillicothe (Mo.) High School football Hornets’ 60-0 Midland Empire Conference victory over the host Cameron Dragons Friday, Sept. 8, 2017.
As anticipated, the visiting Hornets dominated their winless opponent without having as much intensity and crispness as in their shutout win over Maryville the week before, but the defense nevertheless posted its third shutout in four outings this fall. The only eight points Chillicothe has yielded thus far in 2017 were by its defensive reserves late in the week 2 triumph over Kirksville.
The Hornets will reach the mid-point of their regular season next Friday when they celebrate Homecoming with a game against St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond, a 52-0 loser to Maryville Friday night.
Chilllicothe’s game at Cameron – attended by an admirably-large number of Dragons fans, considering Cameron has gone more than two calendar years between pigskin victories – turned the visitors’ way almost immediately.
The Dragons, with the first possession, went 3-and-out, neither netting nor losing any yardage on the three snaps. However, when they attempted to punt, the deep snap was not handled cleanly and the punter was tackled for a 10-yards loss at the Dragons’ 10.
On the first Chillicothe offensive play, senior fullback Josh Kille went through a good hole off right guard to the end zone and the Hornets let 6-0 only 1:28 into the contest.
Later in the first stanza, consecutive 13-yards runs by Dylan Munson and J. Kille capped a 5-plays, 39-yards drive and J. Kille’s inside blast on the conversion put the margin at 14-0 after one quarter. Making matters worse for the home team, it already had lost starting quarterback Tristen Michaelis to an apparent leg injury when tackled in the open field on a bootleg carry on the Dragons’ last offensive play of the period.
Early in the second, senior quarterback Jack Willard sneaked across from a yard out to complete an 8-plays, 41-yards series and the Chillicothe lead grew to 21-0.
Following the Dragons’ fifth futile possession in a row, the Hornets got the ball back at their 45 and, six plays later, Munson’s second effort allowed him to fall across the goal line for a 9-yards scoring run and 27-0 Chillicothe lead.
Cameron’s sixth series of the game saw it finally generate a first down – on a pass-interference penalty on third-and-long. It followed that by moving the sticks a couple more times as it advanced from its own 31 to the Chillicothe 22. However, the Dragons backed up from there, the march ending with back-to-back sacks by Cade Koehly and Trace Staton to give the ball back to Chillicothe at its 37 with less than a minute to go in the half.
A false start backed the Hornets up to the 32, but that was of no consequence as, on the subsequent first-down play, Brett Shaffer, aligned as a left wing, took a wingback-reverse handoff going left to right, and turned upfield into an alley that, with one slight jog to his left about 15 yards downfield, turned into a 68-yards touchdown dash he completed with 26 ticks on the clock. Trying to boost its lead to 35 points at halftime, so that the “running clock” timekeeping provisions would be in effect immediately at the start of the seocnd half, Chillicothe converted with a run by J. Kille to tote a 35-0 cushion to the locker room.
Even with Cameron executing an onside kick to virtual perfection to begin the second half, the hosts’ offense failed to jump-start. In fact, it slipped back into reverse, Chillicothe sophomore defensive end Isiah Kille getting his team’s third sack of the game with a drop of Michaelis’ replacement – starting running back Nathan Nelson – for a 10-yards loss on fourth-and-6.
In two pass plays, Chillicothe found paydirt again. After connecting with 6’7” end Jon Burk for 13 yards, J. Willard fired to an uncovered Shaffer on a post pattern from the right wing and a 43-yards touchdown connection. The point-after kick made it 42-0.
After Cameron fumbled a would-be handoff and Hornet Adler Marshall dove on it at the Dragons’ 14 on the following series, Chillicothe produced its third single-play scoring possession. J. Kille followed the blocking of an overshifted line off right guard to bump the advantage to 48-0 after three quarters.
Inserting its backups with a couple of minutes left in the third, Chillicothe capitalized on a Koehly fumble recovery at the Dragons’ 28 to produce an eighth touchdown with them against the Cameron starting defense. Sophomore Dawson Wheeler went in standing up from the 7 with 6:28 left to push the Hornets over 50 points.
They then reached 60 on the game’s last play when he popped free off left guard on a fourth-and-1 play from the Cameron 29 and scored easily with eight ticks showing on the game clock. Before an extra-point attempt was possible – not that either side wanted one, the last eight seconds ran off and the game was over.
Statistically, Chillicothe unofficially had an approximately 350-50 advantage in total offense, close to 300 of its yards on the ground again.
Despite having only six carries, Shaffer had a third-consecutive 100-yards game with 127. For the season, he’s now at 411 yards in only 36 rushes, an average pickup of 11.4 yards.
With 71 yards on only 11 runs, J. Kille added to his team-high touchdowns and points totals with his three scores and two conversions. He now had 10 TDs and 64 points.
Even though he only was in during the last 14 “running clock” minutes of the game, Wheeler wound up approaching the century mark in rushing yardage, his final-play jaunt leaving him with 82 yards and two scores on nine carries.