For the third time in a row, the Lakers’ seniors found themselves playing in the state quarter final, in what would become their last game as a Laker, as Camdenton fell to Parkway Central in a 7-0 loss.
After an emotional win over their rival, the Lebanon Yellowjackets, on Monday night, the Lakers advanced to the state quarter final on Saturday. The weather was perfect for a game, with a breeze blowing in and the sun shining. The stands were nearly full on Camdenton’s side.
But despite all of this, it wasn’t enough for the Lakers to manage a win as they faced the Colts, a team with a tremendous size advantage over Camdenton, as the Colts’ running backs weighed in at 270 lb. and 220 lb.
Whereas the game against Lebanon featured a lot of scoring, the match against Parkway Central had just one score, as both defenses did an excellent job of stopping the other team.
With 56 offensive plays, the Lakers accumulated just 166 yards of total offense, while holding the Colts’ offense to just 170 yards on 43 plays.
The Lakers started the game with the ball, and despite some nice work on the ground early on, the Lakers could not get beyond their own 44 on the opening drive, and were forced to punt.
The Colts fared no better on their first offensive series, as the Purple Haze stuffed their run attempts near the line of scrimmage each time, forcing a quick three-and-out.
After a great punt return by Ryan Elliot, the Lakers took over at their own 48 yard line, but once again, failed to find their way to the end-zone, and ended up punting.
The game’s only score came early on in the second quarter, as the Colts used their running backs to drive 80 yards down the field before scoring on a QB sneak from 1 yard out.
The remainder of the first half featured defensive stops and punting.
The second half looked to be more promising, as both teams came out ready and fired up, but despite multiple turnovers, neither team could take advantage of the opportunities, as both defenses stood their ground.
On the first play, the Colts fumbled the ball, but recovered it. The Lakers made a stand, forcing them to punt, but once again, the offense floundered and was forced to punt, despite a nice pass from Cory Simpson to Kullen Carlock for a 13 yard gain.
The Purple Haze continued to make plays, forcing a fumble in the next series, and recovering it.
After the turnover, the Lakers tried to get started offensively, but failed to convert on a 4th and 1 at Parkway's 36 yard line.
Page 2 of 3 - But the Purple Haze wasn't done yet, as they forced another fumble, with Alex Wilsman jumping on the ball to give the Lakers another chance.
But, as luck would have it, on the next play, after making a nice catch, Carlock was hit hard and the ball popped out, scooped up by Parkway Central.
The Purple Haze would find one more turnover in the game, with a beautiful interception by Aric Osborn, but the Lakers' woes on offense continued, as after a nice drive with solid passing, Simpson threw his second interception of the year.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Lakers found a rhythm on offense, working their way down the field through the air, as QB Cory Simpson completed some great passes to Kullen Carlock and Chase Nugent, driving to the 35 yard line of the Colts.
But once again, the Lakers were foiled once again by the Colts’ defense, turning over the ball on downs. The Colts took a knee, and the Lakers’ playoff run suddenly ended.
Camdenton’s boys shook hands with their opponents, fighting back tears until they made their way to the end-zone, where they comforted each other after a disappointing and tough loss after a great season.
After Coach Jeff Shore addressed his team, saying how proud he was, the team lined up to say a tearful goodbye to their senior players, who, after this game, became only third team in Camdenton history to have made it to the quarterfinals three years in a row.
The players finally returned to the locker room to change, but along the way, they were greeted by cheers and applause from loyal fans, family and friends.
“It’s a great season, and it’s been a great ride,” Shore said. “It hurts to end it, but I’m proud of them. And now our seniors move on, and we just hope they take some of the lessons they learned from football and apply it in their lives. They’re great to work with, and even better people.”
The Lakers finished their season with an 8-4 record, playing smash mouth football, and putting it all on the line every game. They played some of the finest games Camdenton had ever seen, with some of the finest players to wear the purple jerseys.
“It was an honor to be part of this team, and this legacy,” senior Chase Nugent said after the game. “There is no other team I would rather be with. They’re a great bunch of guys. We had a great run. Laker nation is something special, and we will remember it for the rest of our lives.
Nugent will miss playing with his team, but his efforts and leadership will not be forgotten by the Lakers, along with the rest of his senior teammates. Their leadership this season will have a lasting effect on the next generation, and though they have played their last game at Bob Shore Stadium, their own legacy has just begun.
Page 3 of 3 - They played Laker football, and the Laker nation will not forget them.