ST. LOUIS — In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Edward Jones Dome was the home to the Greatest Show on Turf. The St. Louis Rams took the National Football League by storm with the likes of Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt.
By BILL HESTER
Special to The Star
On Friday, the dome featured the 2013 Missouri high school version of that dynasty as the juggernaut Lamar Tigers put on a show in the Class 2 championship game, defeating Lawson 42-0.
Those 42 points were the second-fewest that the Tigers had scored this season. Lamar entered the game averaging over 60 points per game, and they outscored their five playoff opponents by a combined score of 366-17.
They finished the season with 883 points, the third-most in high school football history. Albermarle, N.C., has the national record with 903 points set in 2001. Refugio, Texas scored 891 points in 2011.
“They were as good as advertised,” Lawson coach Todd Dunn said. “They are fun to watch but not when you are playing them. The two times we have been here, we ended up playing two of the best teams in Class 2 history.”
Lawson held the Tigers scoreless on their first two possessions of the game and had the better field position early on.
“They have a smaller, quicker group of defensive linemen and they gave us some trouble,” Lamar coach Scott Bailey said. “They have Todd Dunn as a head coach. His dad is a Hall of Fame coach and there will be a day when Todd will be a Hall of Fame coach. They had a good plan and executed well.”
But no coach has been able to slow the Tigers for 48 minutes.
Jared Beshore rushed for 212 yards and three touchdowns — all in the first half — as the Tigers had control at halftime 28-0.
Lawson had chances of its own with some big plays in the first half. Garrett Titus connected with Damien Sapp for a pair of long passes for 70 yards and Dylan Cordova had a 61-yard kickoff return.
“We had a couple of plays here and there early on that could have gotten us jump-started,” Dunn said. “We just couldn’t get points on the board.”
Lawson was in Lamar territory on four different occasions before intermission. Titus had a pass intercepted by Mark Bartlett at the Tiger 1-yard line with 12 seconds remaining in the half.
“We shot ourselves in the foot in the first half when we got in the red zone,” Titus said. “We should have put the ball in the end zone, but Lamar did a great job defensively. You have to give them credit.”
Beshore intercepted a Titus pass on the first series of the second half, and the Tigers converted that into a touchdown on an 8-yard run by Levi Petersen. It was Petersen’s 38th touchdown of the season.
For the 14th time in 15 Lamar games, a running clock was used in the second half. The Tigers scored their final touchdown on a 38-yard run by sophomore Danny Embry late in the third quarter.
Lamar, which finished the game with 531 yards rushing (and no yards passing), ended the season with a 14-1 record. Its lone loss was a last minute 50-46 defeat to Carl Junction.
Friday’s championship is the third state title in a row for the Tigers.
“It was nice to see the seniors go out with a title the last few years,” said Beshore, who started in the defensive backfield as a freshman. “Doing it as a senior means the world. We wanted to be remembered as the best.”
Lawson, which had not been shut out since the opening game of the season against Maryville, finished at 13-3.
“It was a tough way to end,” Dunn said. “But these guys have no reason to hang their heads. We only had a few returning starters, but they made up their mind at the beginning of the season to make this a special season. They proved a lot of people wrong, and I am proud of them.”