The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 4, 2012

McAuley, Lockwood jockey for district position

By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer

— One game will not break the logjam, but the outcome of tonight’s matchup between Lockwood and McAuley Catholic will have an impact on the seedings for postseason play in Class 1, District 2.

McAuley, No. 2 in the most recent district rankings behind unbeaten Miller, faces the Tigers at 7 p.m. today on the artificial turf at Fred G. Hughes Stadium.

McAuley is part of a tightly packed field of contenders all the way to No. 6 Greenfield (3-3), which has the same record as the Warriors.

In between is No. 4 Lockwood, also 3-3, which is coming off a 49-19 victory last week against Liberal.

“We’ve been talking about that this week,” said Lockwood head coach Clay Lasater. “We could be as high as No. 2 or we could move all the way down to No. 6 or 7. We want to put ourselves in the best possible position for that Week 10 game.”

Lockwood has won its three home games this season, defeating Rich Hill, Jasper and Liberal. The Tigers lost to Greenfield, Sarcoxie and Miller on the road.

Sarcoxie and Miller are unbeaten. Sarcoxie is rated No. 2 in its Class 2 district, while Miller — ranked No. 5 statewide in Class 1 — scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a 42-36 come-from-behind victory against Lockwood two weeks ago.

“We’ve lost some tough games that were close,” Lasater said. “We knew it would be a tough road early.”

Lockwood’s offense is led by senior quarterback Isaac Lasater, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior who was the offensive player of the year in the Spring River Valley Conference last season. He has been named to the all-conference team since his freshman season.

Lasater has completed 21 of 43 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns and has rushed for 556 yards and six touchdowns. His favorite target is Elijah Pitts, an all-conference receiver and linebacker last season as a junior who has 12 receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown.

“Lasater is a good quarterback,” said McAuley head coach Brenden Gubera. “We’re going to have to wrap him up. He’s smart. He makes good decisions on the option and throws well.”

Tailback Brent Chambers, a 170-pound junior who was an all-conference selection last year, leads the Tigers with 826 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is averaging nearly 10 yards per carry.

“We have been committed to the run,” coach Lasater said. “We’ve had some years where we’ve thrown the ball around, but we definitely try to establish the run.”

Joseph Eggerman, a 195-pound tackle who was all-SRVC last season, is one of three seniors on Lockwood’s offensive line. The others are Garrison Hamilton, a 245-pound tackle, and Lucas Longnecker, a 195-pound guard.

McAuley’s offensive line, because of injuries, has been overhauled since last week’s 36-18 loss to Diamond, Gubera said.

“It was pretty frustrating that we could not get anything going with our rushing game,” Gubera said. “We’re actually going to move Martin Graham, our tailback, into the offensive line. We’re trying to put our best 11 on the field so we can be successful as a team.”

Graham is the Warriors’ second-leading rusher with 260 yards on 55 carries. Cole Lowry has 370 yards on 24 carries, and Andrew Castillo has 167 yards on 16 carries.

An ankle injury has slowed senior quarterback Mitch Wear for the last two weeks, but he is the likely starter against Lockwood, Gubera said.

“His ankle is better than it was last week, so we’re going to suit him up and see what he can do,” Gubera said.

Wear has completed 84 of 151 passes for 1,611 yards and 20 touchdowns. Greg Carney has 29 receptions and Lowry has 23 receptions, both for 609 yards, and Shaw Robertson has 39 catches for 500 yards.

“We’ve watched film on them and they have great athletes, probably the best wide receivers in our conference if they were in our conference,” Lasater said. “Their quarterback can throw the ball 30 yards and hit a dime.”