A week of film study, scouting and conversations with fellow coaches led Liberty North football boss Ken Clemens to a simple conclusion heading into Saturday’s Missouri Class 4 state semifinals.
A matchup between the Eagles and Jefferson City Helias, he determined, was the high school equivalent of a pick ’em.
“We thought it would be two dead-evenly matched teams,” Clemens said. “When that happens, the team to catch the breaks wins the game.”
In that case, it’s no wonder Helias is the team moving on.
Helias took advantage of three key plays Saturday and escaped with a 26-14 home win.
Trailing 20-14 in the fourth quarter, Liberty North running back Marvin Shumate ran a 20-yard toss play to the 1-yard line, but it was called back for a penalty. The Eagles, 9-5, didn’t score on the drive.
That was simply the end of a frustrating day for Liberty North. On the opening play of the second half, it attempted a wide receiver reverse pass, but Paul Silvio’s throw was picked off by Trent Dudenhoeffer and returned 73 yards for a touchdown.
Dudenhoeffer caught a 22-yard touchdown pass that put Helias on the board in the second quarter. The pass was tipped by two different Liberty North defenders before finding Dudenhoeffer’s hands.
“It was a tough way to end, but I’m proud of the way we finished off the season,” Clemens said. “We went through a tough stretch in the middle of the season where I think these kids could’ve packed it in. But instead they fought through it, and the last four or five games, they were the determined team we expected them to be.”Class 2: Lawson 28, Blair Oaks 12
For the first time in six years, Lawson is headed to the Edward Jones Dome.
The Cardinals defeated Blair Oaks on Saturday to reach the Missouri Class 2 state championship game. They will face defending championship Lamar at 4:15 p.m. Friday.
Lawson, 12-2, led 6-0 at halftime before Preston Smidt and Garrett Titus ran for third-quarter touchdowns, expanding the advantage to 21-0. Titus passed a touchdown to Smidt to finish off the scoring in the fourth quarter.