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Southwest Livingston survives grid shootout, gets top district seeding

Brookfield finishes regular season 4-4. Marceline outright league king

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News

Although there remains no guarantee the scheduled postseason will follow suit, Missouri’s 2020 high school football regular season has been completed successfully over the objections and obstructions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The regular season wrapped up this past weekend with two C-T-area squads – Southwest Livingston and Marceline – reigning as champions of their respective conferences and with half of the 10 (not including Chillicothe) area teams playing .500 ball or better.

Southwest Livingston, 2019 state 8-man runnerup and realistically hoping to capture its first-ever state championship even right in its home county late next month, got a huge test at King City in its regular-season finale, but survived, 84-66 behind senior quarterback Wes Hughes’ school-records-breaking performance, to enter the postseason 8-1.

It already had clinched at least a share of the Highway 275 Conference before its non-league outing against the Wildkats. When South Holt/Nodaway-Holt and East Atchison both won their 275 games last Friday and, like Southwest, ended the year with 1-loss marks in the league, they received recognition as co-champs with the Ludlow-based SLHS team, even though they had fewer wins. Both lost to Southwest and their head-to-head game was canceled by virus problems. 

Marceline officially repeated as undisputed as Lewis and Clark Conference kingpin with its 56-8 blowout of visiting Harrisburg Friday. The Tigers (8-1) were undefeated in L&C play again.

Perhaps the most-satisfying week nine outcome for an area outfit was Brookfield’s 54-14 home thrashing of South Shelby. Having had one regular-season game nixed by COVID-19, BHS’ Bulldogs balanced their books at 4-4 heading to the Class 2 District 8 playoffs, where they’ll host their first-round game. They’ll need a win then to have at least a break-even year.

Hamilton came up just short in its bid to overtake Princeton for third place in its district standings even with its surprisingly-decisive 40-12 win over Lawson Friday, but the Hornets did assure themselves a winning final record by improving to 6-3.

The fifth area team to finish the regular season above water is Norborne/Hardin-Central’s 8-man club. The Aggies assured that by dominating Keytesville/Mendon: Northwestern 50-14 to move to 5-3.

The other week nine games for area squads saw Braymer/Breckenridge fall to North Shelby 64-6, South Harrison squash Trenton 49-16, Carrollton lose to Higginsville 49-10, and Polo drop a 40-8 decision to Putnam County.

Southwest Livingston 84, King City 66

KING CITY — Southwest Livingston quarterback Wes Hughes threw for a SLHS single-game record 394 yards, surpassing the mark he’d set earlier this season, while also establishing new Wildcats records for season touchdown passes (with five more) and yards as the co-op club that includes contributors from Hale and Tina-Avalon fought back from an early 22-6 deficit.

Within 30-22 by the time the wild opening period ended, Southwest dominated the second stanza 32-14 to lead 54-44 at the half. A 64-yards scoring hookup between We. Hughes and Parker Keeney and a successful 2-points conversion tied it at 30 early in the second and the Wildcats never trailed again.

Statistically, Keeney, Patrick Warren, and Jaeden Sears joined We. Hughes in posting huge numbers.

On offense, Keeney snared 11 passes for 212 yards and three scores, while getting in on 17 tackles, including one for a loss, on defense.

Lineman Sears led the SLHS “D” with 18 stops and also recovered a fumble for a touchdown, while – getting some time off from his centering chores on offense – catching a pair of passes for 64 yards. One of those receptions went for a touchdown, coach Oren Magruder reports.

Running back/linebacker Warren was over the century mark again carrying the ball, netting 129 yards and three scores from 14 carries. He caught four passes for an additional 44 yards. On defense, he was part of a team-high 21 tackles, two for losses.

For his part, We. Hughes’ 19-of-33 passing not only gained nearly 400 yards – significantly surpassing the record 344 he’s tossed for in the early-season win over South Holt/Nodaway-Holt, but had a handful of TD throws with only one interception.

For good measure, he also ran 10 times for 98 yards and two more touchdowns, while getting in on 16 tackles on defense. He forced a fumble on one of his stops.

Ethan Hoerr had a score among his two catches for 64 yards, while making an interception and fumble recovery on defense, where he participated in 10 tackles.

Wildcats defensive linemen Glen Holt, Morgan Anderson, and Owen Oesch also made their presences known. Holt was credited with eight tackles – one for a loss, Anderson with seven, and Oesch six, also having one behind the line of scrimmage.

By winning and finishing first in its district standings, Southwest Livingston will have this coming week off from game play before facing the Concordia-Alma: Santa Fe quarterfinal winner on Nov. 6.

Hamilton 40, Lawson 14

HAMILTON — The visiting Cardinals scored first in the KCI Conference contest, but Hornets junior quarterback Tucker Ross then took charge.

He tied it with a 76-yards dash later in the opening period and Sawyer Morrow’s extra-point kick gave Hamilton: Penney (6-3, 5-2 conf.) the lead for good.

Ross hit Andrew Rich for a 23-yards score and Morrow bolted 47 yards to paydirt in the second stanza as the hosts seized a 20-6 intermission advantage. Hamilton then put it out of reach with two Ross 4-yards TD runs and Jared Potts’ 1-yarder in the third period. After the Hornets put up 40 unanswered markers, Lawson scored again on an 83-yards run late in the third, the game’s last points.

Statistically, Ross was virtually unstoppable.

On offense, he gained 234 rushing yards on 22 attempts and had the three scores, while hitting on three of his four passes for 65 yards and the TD to Rich. On defense, he made nine unassisted tackles, including a sack and another tackle for loss.

Morrow was a big pain in Lawson’s side himself, netting 180 yards on 18 carries as the Hornets obliterated Lawson’s defense for 460 rushing yards and more than 520 total yards.

Also standing out for Hamilton was sophomore defensive lineman Fisher Nixdorf, who had four tackles for loss among his five solos and one assist.

Marceline 56, Harrisburg 8

MARCELINE — As expected, the host Tigers wrapped up their latest Lewis and Clark crown without significant trouble.

Junior running back Hunter Nelson moved past the 1,000-yards rushing mark for the season with 151 yards and four scores on 15 carries, while quarterback Jacob Stallo, now over 1,100 yards on the year, threw for 99 yards on 6-of-9 accuracy. He connected with Wyatt Molloy for a pair of scores.

With Sam Gillman, who ran for two short scores, connecting on three of four passes for 82 yards, Molloy caught a total of seven balls for 154 yards in the tussle of Tigers.

On defense, Nelson and Brendon Catron shared the team lead with seven tackles each with Catron having six solos, one for loss.

Jace Bixenman and Gillman filched a pass apiece, while Jaxon Schmitt and Nathan Cupp each fell on a pair of Harrisburg fumbles. Mason Barnett also had a recovery, as well as a sack.

Brookfield 54, South Shelby 14

BROOKFIELD — Staying consistently ahead of the yardsticks paid off big for Brookfield’s Bulldogs, who converted eight of 10 third-down situations to pull far ahead of the visiting South Shelby Cardinals and eventually post a 54-14 blowout last Friday.

In sharp relief to their own offense’s success at sustaining possessions, the BHS defense held South Shelby each of the eight times the Cardinals reached third down.

“We started fast and ended well,” Bulldogs head coach Scott Stevens assessed. “We were up 38-0 and allowed only six yards the entire first half defensively.”

Statistically, BHS’ offensive yardage was spread around. Derek Liebhart led the ballcarriers with 75 yards and two scores on nine carries and Trace Alexander had 55 yards and two TDs on 11 tries. Gabe Rodriguez and Colton Parn also reached the end zone for BHS. In the air, Liebhart was four of five for 71 yards.

Norborne/Hardin-Central 50, Keytesville/Mendon: Northwestern 14

NORBORNE — The host N/H-C Aggies scored the Central River Conference game’s first 44 points as they clinched a winning year.

A 62-yards bolt by quarterback Brayden Schick started Norborne/Hardin-Central (5-3, 2-1 conf.) on its way to a 24-0 lead after one period. Mason Freece added a 4-yards run and a safety before sophomore Mason McCaulley added a 5-yards TD run.

The second period began with sophomore Ben Barnett cracking over from a yard out. Schick then found Keyton Laire for a 12-yards air score, followed by Kobe Gibson’s 8-yards run.

Late in the first half, K/N Thunder quarterback Hunter Stockwell got his team on the board with a 3-yards run, which he followed with a conversion run that made it 44-8, Aggies, at the half.

A 39-yards screen-pass touchdown from Schick to Laire in the third stanza closed the home team’s scoring. Keytesville/Northwestern had a 23-yards scoring pass in the final stanza.

Statistically for N/H-C, Schick gained 217 rushing yards on 10 carries and completed two passes for 51 more. Barnett, McCaulley, and Gibson each rushed for over 50 yards and Laire had 51 yards in receptions.

On defense, Laire led with 11 tackles, three of them sacks, and he also had a fumble recovery. J.W. Doyle, another 10th grader, had two sacks among his nine tackles. Schick had an interception.

While Norborne/Hardin-Central heads on to the postseason, Keytesville/Northwestern will visit equally-winless Braymer this Friday to make up their September COVID-19-caused postponement, then call it quits for its inaugural season.

South Harrison 48, Trenton 16

TRENTON — The battle of Bulldogs at C.F. Russell Stadium went about as expected, which meant host THS completing its regular season without tasting victory in seven tries and having the No. 7 seeding in the Class 2 District 8 playoffs.

South Harrison, securing its one-third share of the Grand River Conference-East Division title (with Milan and Princeton), scored the game’s first 40 points before Trenton’s Quincy Griffin darted about 55 yards to the end zone inside the final 15 seconds of the third period.

Other THS tallies came on freshman Gabe Novak’s 8-yards run and Payden McCullough’s conversion run in the fourth quarter.

Higginsville 49, Carrollton 10

CARROLLTON — The host Trojans needed a huge upset over the Huskers to both earn a postseason home game and no worse than a .500 season, but Higginsville wasn’t of a mind to cooperate, blowing Carrollton away.

CHS (4-5, 1-3 conf.) was able to rush for only 34 yards in the Missouri River Valley Conference-East finale.

Senior Carrollton quarterback Gavin Claud did hit on half of his 24 passes for 196 yards – five of them to Xavier Yoakum for 111 yards and the one Trojans touchdown. Treyton Bennett caught four balls for 69 yards. Claud was intercepted twice.

On defense, linebacker Darrik Diamond had a team-best nine tackles, while Bennett was in on six and four other Trojans – Chase Defibaugh, Cedar Metz, Noah Frank, and Nolan Johnson – on five apiece. Yoakum was part of four tackles, one of them a sack, according to statistics provided by Carrollton head coach Scott Finley Monday.

Putnam County 40, Polo 6

POLO — The host Panthers’ hopes of the familiar surroundings of PHS’ Bob Shearer Field sparking it to a third 2020 victory after winless 2018 and ’19 campaigns came a cropper last Friday.

Putnam County’s Midgets put the clamps on the Polo attack and stood tall on offense time and again to send the Panthers (2-7, 2-5 conf.) into the district playoffs on a losing note.

The defeat, for which no details were reported, was inconsequential on Polo’s postseason path. Win or lose, they were destined to be seeded fifth in the Class 1 District 8 playoffs.

North Shelby 64, Braymer/Breckenridge 6

BRAYMER — Braymer/Breckenridge managed to avoid being shut out by the strong Raiders, but little more.

Now, rather than participating in the 8-man postseason, the Bobcats will host Keytesville/Northwestern’s Thunder this Friday in a make-up of their pandemic-postponed September contest to close their 2020 campaign. The winner will get its first victory of 2020.