Chillicothe (Mo.) Football Hornets Flex Backfield Depth, Dispatch Dragons 48-7

Pair of backup fullbacks each top 100 yards rushing playing a half apiece Sept. 17; Kille strikes tw

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News
Sophomore Javon Kille gets past another Cameron defender along the sideline on his way to a 42-yards touchdown return in the second quarter of the Chillicothe (Mo.) HS FB Hornets' 48-7 victory over the host Cameron Dragons Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

CAMERON, Mo. — Even with three senior starters in street clothes at game’s start, Chillicothe HS’ football Hornets figured to have enough depth to returning to their generally-dominant ways against their closest Midland Empire Conference brother, the Cameron Dragons.

Although for a brief time in the third quarter of the weather-delayed game on Dave Goodwin Field that premise seemed potentially shaky, Chillicothe’s defense provided the opportunity for the Hornets to reestablish command and the running back-rich offense did just that as the visitors posted a 48-7 triumph.

Even with 2020 all-MEC first-team fullback Damarcus Kelow not playing, Chillicothe got a combined 280 rushing yards from his three replacements, two of which – Cayden Potter and Silas Midgyett – each surpassed 100 yards despite carrying the ball only in one half apiece (Potter the first before injuring his ankle on 3-yards TD run 16 seconds before intermission and Midgyett the second).

Chillicothe (3-1, 1-1 conf.) scored the game’s last 27 points over the final 15 minutes after a second Cameron punt-play failure of the evening – Hornets sophomore Javon Kille had dashed 42 yards to the end zone with a second-period Dragons punt – in the form of a high snap which prompted the would-be kicker to run unsuccessfully.

Given the ball at the hosts’ 35-yard line, Chillicothe scored five snaps later on Braxten Johnson’s 14-yards dash around right end to reclaim a 21-points lead with a tick under three minutes left in the third stanza. Prior to that series, the Hornets had looked a shade shaky following Cameron’s Hornets-like 12 plays, 54-yards touchdown drive to begin the second half and, on the next Chillicothe possession, what was ruled a failed fourth-and-1 play that handed the pigskin back to Cameron at the Hornets’ 44.

Had Cameron cashed in on what proved to be a missed call on the fourth-down play – particularly given that game video examined after the game clearly showed Chillicothe quarterback Gage Leamer had squirmed up to the 46, a yard more than needed, on his fourth-down sneak, who knows how the final 15 minutes of the contest might have played out.

However, a third-down sack by replacment starting end Isaiah Sprong forced the fateful punting situation on which it appeared sophomore defensive tackle Dilyn Ulmer got the first contact when the Cameron punter pulled the ball down in fear of a blocked kick. While trying to escape Ulmer, the punter lost the ball, which it appeared was recovered by junior cornerback Bryce Dominique just as the ball went out of bounds.

Following the ensuing Chillicothe touchdown, freshman Midgyett scored on a 17-yards run 2-1/2 minutes into the fourth period, Corbin Rodenberg found paydirt fom 13 yards away with 7:27 left to ignite the “running clock,” and, just before time expired, Kille went outside to the right side, then made a strong cutback to find a seam to the Cameron end on an 11-yards run. The remaining time expired before Chillicothe attempted a conversion.

After the game, Chillicothe head coach Chad Smith stated he fully anticipates having Kelow available for both offensive and defensive use next week. Indications are linebacker/end Brock Ward and lineman Christian Peniston will be out longer.

Statistically, Chillicothe out-gained Cameron more than three to one (409-130), paced by Midgyett’s 115 yards on nine carries and Potter’s 106 on nine tries.

As a team, the Livingston countians out-gained Cameron 361-89 on the ground even with the Dragons’ explosive first offensive play of the evening.

On it, running back Dominic Hurst accelerated as he hit the second level on an off-guard carry and wasn’t caught until Johnson pulled him to the artificial turf after a 58-yards gallop. Remove those from the Dragons’ eventual game total and they netted only 31 other ground yards and 41 passing yards the rest of the evening.

Kille’s final-play touchdown carry was his second visit to the end zone, following his first-half punt return. That was Chillicothe’s second punt runback to score already this season after the team returned only one punt – for zero yards  – all of last season.

With a Cameron defensive end (right) pushed well up the field out of the way, Chillicothe (Mo.) HS FB Hornets senior quarterback Gage Leamer dashes for the left front corner of the end zone on a scramble that began the scoing in Chillicothe's 48-7 Midland Empire Conference  victory over the host Cameron Dragons Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.

The other CHS TDs came from five separate players, beginning with Ga. Leamer’s 16-yards scramble to the left front corner of the end zone on fourth-and-8 to cap the Hornets’ 14-plays, 80-yards initial march.

Cameron’s Hurst did manage to reach triple digits carrying the ball, mostly thanks to his initial jaunt. He gained a respectable 61 yards on 15 subsequent attempts.

If Chillicothe’s Dominique did recover the third-quarter fumble on the botched punt attempt, it means he had both Hornets takeaways. In the fourth quarter, he snared an off-target psss and returned it 15 yards, his now-team-high second pickoff of the season.

Chillicothe will host defending MEC chmpion and current co-leader Kansas City: St. Pius X next Friday. SPX edged Maryville 14-13 at Maryville Friday to move to 2-0 in the league, the same as St. Joseph: Lafayette.