Last Wednesday night, Big 8 Conference teams made a tremendous appearance in the Missouri state playoffs. The conference qualified four teams (a record) to the high school post season.
Of those, two of the three possible teams advanced with Lamar and East Newton playing each other in the first round. Mt. Vernon defeated Ava 50-14, Lamar beat out East Newton 49-21 and Seneca fell to Harrisonville 7-45.
The Mountaineers had already accomplished a great deal this year, claiming conference and district championships and basically blowing out every opponent they faced and all while having just moved up to Class 3.
Mt. Vernon continued its dominance in the first round of the playoffs, entering with an undefeated 9-0 record. Ava came into the game with an 8-2 record and some offensive firepower.
The game was close at first with Mt. Vernon scoring first but Ava quickly answering. Then Mt. Vernon scored again, and despite getting some penetration, Mt. Vernon's defense would not break and gave it back to their offense. This type of play set the tone for the entire ball game as the Mountaineers continued to score while their defense stopped Ava's scoring chances. The Mountaineers went up 27-7 at half-time.
Ava attempted to get back in the game in the second half but only managed one more touchdown. Mt. Vernon pressed their advantage and set the final score at 50-14.
The Mountaineers had a strong game behind the leadership of senior quarterback Tomas Brock who tallied 195 yards passing, 78 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Junior do-it-all man Kellen Cox was also impressive with 89 yards rushing, 38 yards receiving, three interceptions, three extra points and a touchdown reception.
Other Big 8 Schools in action included Seneca who faced Harrisonville. Seneca did not fare quite as well as the Mountaineers. A couple of quick mistakes and turnovers on the Indians' part let the Wildcats take the lead and then ride the game out with the Indians falling 45-7. Seneca finished the season at 8-3 and second in the conference.
The final game involving a Big 8 school unfortunately included two of them. Both East Newton and Lamar won their districts, but then had to play each other in the first round. Both teams found themselves in familiar territory, for in week one, they had the same match up. Lamar won that contest 28-14.
East Newton had the advantage for most of the game, leading Lamar 21-14 going into the fourth quarter. The Lamar Tigers were able to rally and scored an unprecedented 35 points in the final stanza to come back and win 49-21.