Savages score twice before offense takes field, setting tone for 49-7 Friday (Nov. 15) rout that ends strong CHS season with 9-3 mark

SAVANNAH, Mo. — After one quarter of Friday’s (Nov. 15, 2019) Class 3 District 8 championship game against favored Savannah, the Chillicothe (Mo.) HS football Hornets had some positive statistics that would have met some pre-game goals.
The Hornets, 49-14 victims of the Savages in a regular-season meeting at Savannah five weeks earlier, had produced 103 total yards – all on the ground – by the time the teams switched ends of the field, while Savannah had 125, also all from runs. Chillicothe also had a significant advantage in time of possession and only two less first downs than its host.
However, whereas the Hornets exited the opening stanza of their October contest with the Savages trailing only 21-14 before being left in the dust, the foe already was disappearing into the distance ahead of them this time.
Just as in the first meeting, led by senior Noah Bodenhausen, Savannah (10-2) slew Chillicothe with its big-play firepower. However, this time, the offense was only minimally involved in deciding the game SHS claimed 49-7.
Bodenhausen, who had two long scores from scrimmage in the prior clash with Chillicothe, returned a punt 61 yards for a touchdown only 1:17 in and, just before the first quarter reached its mid-point, cornerback Drew Duane picked up a CHS handoff-exchange fumble and dashed unfettered 55 yards to paydirt.
Before the Savannah center snapped the ball for the first time in the game, his team enjoyed a 14-0 lead that soared to 34-0 barely a minute into the second stanza.
With the eventual result, if not the final score, chiseled in granite at that early juncture, Chillicothe closed out a strong bounce-back season from their 4-7 campaign of 2018 – a first season under head coach Tim Rulo that began with three shutouts in a row and seven-straight losses – by notching a couple of bright flickers.
The first of those actually was achieved in the very first quarter when senior fullback Dawson Wheeler burst free on an inside carry to gain 37 yards. That raised his game total at the time to 62 yards, sending him well across the 1,000-yards threshold for the season (he began the game needing 39 yards to reach quadruple figures).
With another big gain before the first stanza ended, he had 83 of the team’s 103 opening-period yards and reached halftime with right at 130. With the game out of hand, while he continued to be utilized at his linebacker’s post on defense, he lugged the ball only a time or two post-intermission. According to preliminary, unofficial stats, Wheeler came up a few yards shy of 1,100 for the season.
The night’s other Chillicothe highlight was a bit diminished by coming against Savannah’s defensive reserves in the final frame of a 49-0 contest.
Continuing to use its offensive first-stringers for the large part, CHS took possession at the SHS 41-yard line after Savannah head coach Randy Schrader eschewed the routine punt call on a fourth-and-long with his backups on the field and the Chillicothe defense stopped the next play well short of the first-down marker.
On the fourth snap of the CHS series, senior reserve wingback Deon Reynolds, returning to action after a month-plus injury absence, took a toss on a sweep play around right end and, after getting several yards upfield, quickly angled back to his left toward the middle of the field, finding a seam that eventually put him all alone for the last 15-20 yards of a 31-yards touchdown run. After entering the season as a possible big-play threat on such plays with the speed he’d flashed late last season, he saw only limited carries behind the team’s starting wingbacks and didn’t find the end zone until that dash.
Savannah not only scored on a fumble recovery in the first quarter, it did so a second time early in the second frame.
Its 14-0 lead having doubled on Jadon Brady’s 10-yards jet sweep run around left end that capped the Savages’ first offensive series and Bodenhausen’s 30-yards sweep around right end on the second play of the second stanza, SHS’ defense had multiple players around the ball when a Hornets option pitchout fell to the grass well beyond the intended recipient’s grasp a few plays after Bodenhausen’s second score. Savages safety and standout quarterback Chase Spoonemore got his hands on the ball at the CHS 38, but couldn’t get a good grip on it. However, his attempt to do so sent the ball ahead of him toward the Hornets’ goal line and he quickly caught up to it at about the 30, where – slowing a bit more to get it securely – he made the recovery and ran it on to the end zone with a number of teammates as escorts.
The only misfire Savannah had the entire game came on the conversion kick attempt after that TD. With a chance to expand its margin to 35-0 and likely have the “running clock” timekeeping provisions in use from the outset of the second half, placekicker Jayden Arn hooked his boot wide left.
The slipup proved very superfluous when, after receiving the second-half kickoff and returning it to its own 36-yard line, Savannah covered the 64 yards it needed in one play – a Spoonemore run-pass option keeper off the right side. That made it 40-0, Savages, 19 seconds into the third quarter and the accelerated timekeeping procedures were in use for the rest of the night.