When the first game of the high school football weekend schedule becomes the last game to be completed, that should be an indication of a wild weekend of action.
CNC League rivals St. Mary’s Colgan and Frontenac kicked off last Thursday night at Hutchinson Field in Pittsburg. However, the game was stopped by rain and lightning late in the second quarter with Frontenac holding a 20-0 lead.
And with Pittsburg High School having a home game on Friday night, the Panthers and Raiders had to wait until Saturday afternoon to finish their game, which Frontenac won 41-12.
While those two teams rested — and likely made a few gameplan adjustments — on Friday night, games around the area were headlined by two games just 10 miles apart that exceeded 100 total points but ultimately were decided by the defense.
Scoreboard operators remained busy as Joplin stopped a 2-point conversion in the final minute to hold off Carthage 56-55 at Junge Field. And at Bulldog Stadium in Carl Junction, the Bulldogs’ defense came up with two second-half turnovers and held off Republic 55-48.
Carthage, which owned 14-point leads three times during the game, pulled within a point on quarterback Patrick Carlton’s one-yard touchdown in the last minute. But Joplin linebacker Holden Ledford stopped Tyler Mueller short of the goal line on the 2-point conversion. It was Ledford’s 11th tackle of the game.
The Tigers and Eagles combined for 1,182 points and zero punts.
Joplin running back Isaiah Davis accumulated 241 yards and five touchdowns rushing, and quarterback Blake Tash hit 14-of-19 passes for 235 yards and two scores. Zach Westmoreland caught nine passes for 139 yards and two TDs.
Carthage had two backs exceed 200 yards on the ground — Carlton with 251 yards and five TDs on 33 carries and Mueller with 218 yards and three TDs on 28 attempts. Carlton also hit 6-of-8 passes for 111 yards.
The numbers weren’t quite as high — 103 points and 1,069 yards for — Carl Junction and Republic, but there were plenty of fireworks. In fact, on consecutive series in the second quarter, Republic’s Claye White returned an interception 72 yards for a touchdown before Carl Junction’s Brady Sims caught a 71-yard touchdown strike from Drew Patterson.
Patterson, making his first varsity start at quarterback, passed for 288 yards and five touchdowns on 14-of-20 accuracy. Sims, the tailback, had 17 carries for 183 yards — 123 in the second half — in addition to his touchdown reception.
Republic quarterback Lucas Hayes rolled up 461 yards total offense — 208 yards on 30 rushes and 253 yards on 14 completions — and accounted for six of the Tigers’ seven touchdowns.
For fans who prefer a defensive battle, Commerce High School filled that need. Kaleb Eulitt’s one-yard run and Salvador Martinez’s extra point with 2:17 remaining lifted the Tigers past Green Forest (Ark.) 7-0.
There were more nail-biting finishes.
At McDonald County, Cole Martin’s seven-yard touchdown pass to Levi Malone as time expired boosted the Mustangs past East Newton 25-22. That was the only time the Mustangs led in the game — when the clock showed all zeroes.
The Patriots fell to 0-3 with their second heartbreaking loss. Hollister beat East Newton on opening night 23-16 on a 31-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds remaining.
Another Big 8 Conference East game saw Cassville hold off Monett 21-14 as the Cubs threw four incomplete passes from the Wildcats’ 17 in the waning seconds.
Last Friday also was a milestone night as Pierce City blanked Sarcoxie 39-0, handing Eagles coach Brad Hocker career victory No. 100. Hocker’s record is 100-79 overall, 73-37 at Pierce City.
Speaking of Brad Hocker, a check of the National Federation High School football record book shows him as No. 6 nationally with 42 career 100-yard rushing games at Archie High School from 1988-91. NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith is third with 45 100-yard games at Pensacola (Fla.) Escambia HS from 1983-83, but Hocker is third all-time with 33 consecutive 100-yard games, five more than Smith.
Kansas’ two Big 12 Conference football teams also joined in the fun last weekend.
On Friday night Kansas whipped Boston College 48-24 for the Jayhawks’ first road victory over a power conference team since beating Iowa State in 2008, a span of 48 games.
Then on Saturday afternoon Kansas State prevailed 31-24 at Mississippi State. As a result, the Jayhawks and Wildcats both won on the road against Division I-A teams on the same weekend for the first time since Nov. 4, 2006, when Kansas beat Iowa State 41-10 and K-State decked Colorado 34-21.
One can only wonder what’s in store this week.
JIM HENRY is sports editor of The Globe and receives correspondence at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @Jim_Henry53.