ASHLAND -- Southern Boone knew it couldn’t give Blair Oaks an inch.
The Eagles knew the highly ranked Falcons can take that small advantage and multiply it in size quickly and never look back.
Unfortunately for Southern Boone, that happened less than two minutes into Friday night’s game. Mixed signals between Eagles’ quarterback Sam Stichnote and the wide receiving corps led to disaster from the start, an interception that was returned for a touchdown.
The Class 2 No. 2 Falcons rode that momentum for 48 minutes to down the Eagles 56-17 at Southern Boone High School in a Week 7 matchup between two of Central Missouri’s ranked teams.
Blair Oaks (7-0) will likely stay as the second-ranked position as No. 1 Lamar defeated McDonald County 45-13.
Southern Boone is prone to dropping a few spots as Class 3’s No. 6 team after the defeat.
“We played a great team -- potentially a state-championship caliber team,” Southern Boone head coach Trent Tracy said about Blair Oaks. “We came out and we faced adversity right off the bat. We moved the ball a little bit, we throw a pick six. That’s not ideally how you want to start a game against a Blair Oaks team.”
Southern Boone (5-2) didn’t fall without a fight. Stichnote rushed for the first of his two touchdowns on the night less than three minutes into the game after breaking a few Falcons’ tackles to sprint over the goal line on the 22-yard score.
That would be the last time the Eagles found the end zone until the closing moments of the second half -- on a 2-yard Stichnote quarterback sneak where he found a hole in the Blair Oaks defensive line to dive for a touchdown.
In between those scores, Blair Oaks senior quarterback Nolan Hair consistently found open wide receivers to stretch the game vertically. Hair finished the game a perfect 10-for-10 passing for 281 yards.
Blair Oaks’ offense also controlled the line of scrimmage -- giving its running backs room to find gaps and steadily pick up solid yardage.
Even after Stichnote scored what ended up being Southern Boone’s final touchdown of the game, Blair Oaks answered back 24 seconds later on a 63-yard pass play from Hair to Ben Thomas which found the end zone.
“Defensively, their offense -- they put us on islands and then you got to tackle them and they’re good athletes,” Tracy said about the Falcons. “And they just fly around and break tackles and turn what should be maybe a 5-to-8-yard gain into touchdowns.”
That brought the Falcons within one score of triggering the 35-point running clock threshold -- which was started 93 seconds into the third quarter and never stopped.
“We’ve really started to come into our self,” Blair Oaks head coach Ted LePage said. “It was a new offense too at the beginning of the year. It’s a lot of similar things to last year but a lot of different things.
“It was impressive. I feel really good about where we’re at because we come to the state’s sixth-ranked team in Class 3 on a grass field -- we don’t play on grass very much. We didn’t talk about it, we just came in and worried about ourselves and I think that really got me got excited.”
Only two more scores took place in the second half -- a Braydan Pritchett 64-yard touchdown run to close Blair Oaks offensive onslaught for the night.
In the fourth quarter, Southern Boone’s Parker Boyce booted a 33-yard field goal through the uprights.
The Eagles attempted to get back within 35 in the final moments of the game, but their drive ended before they could get the 1st-and-goal snap off with the final whistle.
Tracy said after the game that his team will learn a lot from the defeat. He knows Blair Oaks is the caliber of team Southern Boone will have to beat in order to advance deep into the postseason.
“It’s not a thing to lose but it’s a good tool that we can use now that it’s happened and we can learn from our video and fix the mistakes,” Tracy added.
Blair Oaks will look to win its 37th straight regular-season next Friday when it hosts Osage. Southern Boone hosts California in Week 8.