By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
LAMAR, Mo. —
The Lamar Tigers keep marching. To be more accurate, the Lamar Tigers keep running.
Lamar ran for 275 yards in the first half, as the Tigers took a 55-0 halftime lead and an eventual 62-0 win over Butler in the Class 2 District 4 championship Monday night in Lamar.
The win means Lamar will advance to play at Liberty (Mountain View-Birch Tree) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Liberty beat Mountain Grove 21-7 on Monday.
The victory also gave the Tigers their fifth consecutive district title.
“It’s personal for me, because growing up here in Lamar and going to school here and coming from a large football family and having my older brothers play here, I know where the program has been,” Lamar coach Scott Bailey said. “In the past, we struggled to win football games. We’re getting to the point now where we’re winning football games and winning championships. For me, it’s very personal and very special. I will never take it for granted.”
The Tigers scored on their eight possessions to build the huge lead. And they did it by running the football.
Lamar (10-2), the defending the Class 2 state champions, didn’t attempt a pass in the game. Junior running back Jared Beshore led the rushing attack with 101 yards and two touchdowns on three carries. Beshore added an 87-yard punt return for his third touchdown.
Beshore gave a lot of the credit to the blockers in front of him.
“It was just open holes all night,” Beshore said. “I got to see lanes and was able to get through the lanes and score a bunch of points.”
Lamar junior quarterback Levi Petersen added 70 yards and a touchdown on three carries. Sophomore Brett McDonald carried the ball twice, rushing for 58 yards and two touchdowns.
The Tigers’ defense was equally strong. Lamar forced the Bears to punt on Butler’s first three possessions. The Bears didn’t obtain a first down until their third possession. Lamar’s defense held Butler’s 1,200-yard rusher Tanner McGuire to 16 yards on nine carries. Butler quarterback Kolton Kauffman, who passed for 215 yards last week against Sarcoxie, threw two interceptions and was kept to 6-of-12 passing for 40 yards.
Bailey said the defense deserves much of the team’s credit.
“People don’t realize how good our defense is, especially against the run,” he said. “Our varsity defense has given up less than a touchdown per game over the last eight or nine games. The biggest part of that is playing very good run defense. Our offense goes out and puts up a lot of points on the scoreboard, but what people don’t realize is how many possessions we’re getting because our defense is getting three-and-outs. It doesn’t get past me. It doesn’t get past our coaches and it doesn’t get past our players.”
After forcing Butler (8-4) to punt on the opening possession, McDonald ran in a 25-yard touchdown on Lamar’s third play from scrimmage to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead at the 9:54 mark of the first quarter.
Following Butler’s next two punts, Petersen and Beshore scored on runs of 47 and 65 yards, respectively, to give Lamar a 21-0 lead at the 4:21 mark of the first quarter.