Lamar beats Ava to advance to semi-final | Sports
AVA, Mo. – The turnovers were a blessing and a curse for the Lamar Tigers football team as they traveled two hours from home to defeat the Ava Bears 35-15 in the class quarterfinals 2 Saturday afternoon.
They were a curse when Ava senior Zach Richards intercepted a pass from Joel Beshore of Lamar near the midfielder with 29 seconds left in the first half and had him run to the line of. 6 meters from Lamar. A penalty put Ava 3 for Lamar and the Bears scored with 12 seconds left to make the halftime deficit a manageable 21-14.
“It just gave us some hope there at 21-14 as we walked into the locker room,” said Ava head coach Dan Swofford. “It was a major moment in the game and gave us some hope. Our quarterback and security Zach Richards really stood out for us. He made some big plays, and that big interception he had before half-time, which kept us in the game.
Lamar head coach Jared Beshore said the game has the potential to be a game-changer, but his players have responded well.
“We were in our two minute attack and kind of wanted to move the ball across the field and I told our quarterback Joel (Beshore) he had to work the limits,” Beshore said. “He just left it a little too wide for Mason (Gastel) and they had a good rebound and the kid had a good game. He made a good comeback. It was one of those deals where adversity was inflicted on us and we responded, and I’m very proud of the way they responded.
The turnovers were a blessing in the fourth quarter as Lamar junior Austin Wilkerson knocked out Richards from Ava near the Bears’ 20-yard line and brought the ball back to Ava’s 3 with less than five minutes left. to play. That set up the touchdown that sealed Lamar’s Logan Crocket game to bring the score to 35-14 with 4:17 to go.
“I think we put the ball on the ground three or four times and usually when you do that you’re in a close game or you lose the game,” Beshore said. “Our kids came out and no matter how many times they returned the ball, it didn’t matter how much adversity. They played in a way that we were going to win the game anyway. “
Lamar and Ava entered this week’s game with a perfect 11-0 record.
Lamar’s rushing did most of the damage against the Bears, racking up 329 yards versus Ava’s 155 yards.
Beshore led all rushers with 112 yards on 17 carries, while Crocket carried the ball seven times for 94 yards, including 56 yards in the first quarter and 2 yards in the fourth quarter.
“It starts with our guys up front. The guys up front have been the foundation of our program for a very long time, ”said Beshore. “We train them to make it so. So we were led by them today and the only people who stopped us today were ourselves with mental errors and breakaways. So I’m very happy with the way the offensive line played.
Beshore had a pretty good game in the air besides the interception before half-time. He finished the game with 99 yards on four completed passes on six attempts, including a 54-yard touchdown for Gastel with 7:01 left in the second quarter to make it 21-7.
Lamar jumped on the board first in the game, finishing a 97-yard rush on his first possession with a 20-yard touchdown from Wilkerson.
Lamar scored the second touchdown of the game on a 56-yard rush from Crockett with 4:01 left in the first quarter to go 14-0.
Ava scored her first touchdown of the game on a 30-yard run from Richards with 1:10 left in the first quarter to make it 14-7.
The victory means Lamar hosts the State Class 2 semi-final game against Richmond at 1 p.m. next Saturday. Richmond beat Maryville 49-23 to set up the clash to decide who will advance to the State Finals.