Today's Edition Local News Missouri News National News World Opinion Obits Sports GoMidMo Events Classifieds Jobs Newsletters Contests Search
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
story.lead_photo.caption The Blair Oaks defense tackles Kaden Coffman of Salem during Friday night's game at the Falcon Athletic Complex in Wardsville. Photo by Sally Ince / News Tribune.

WARDSVILLE — It was the kind of playoff football Blair Oaks coach Ted LePage had been hoping to see.

"We went out there and we were vicious from the get-go," LePage said after the Falcons blanked the Salem Tigers 48-0 in the Class 3 District 5 semifinals Friday night at the Falcon Athletic Complex. "We were not going to let up and we were going to take control of the game."

The intensity LePage wanted to see wasn't always there after the Falcons built a 34-0 lead through the first 12 minutes. But then again, the damage had already been done.

"I felt like we relaxed a little bit," LePage said. "You could just tell there wasn't as much energy. I was a little more animated than what I usually am during a game, because I don't want to let up. If we let up, you're not getting better."

Blair Oaks scored on its first five possessions to start the game.

Dylan Hair had touchdown runs of 25 and 6 yards, and Jayden Purdy added a 75-yard touchdown run, the Falcons' longest run play of the season.

"It was a nice triple-option play," LePage said. "The D-lineman took the quarterback, (Dylan) made the read and Jayden just put it in overdrive and scored."

The touchdown runs were bookended by Hair's touchdown passes of 23 yards to Jake Closser and 9 yards to Carson Prenger. Both scores were fourth-down conversions.

Hair threw for 112 yards on just 6-of-11 passing, but the aerial game wasn't necessary. Blair Oaks ran the ball 21 times for 284 yards.

"We're stretching the field," LePage said. " It's a vertical running game along with a horizontal running game. That's what gets defenses out of kilter. The blocking on the edges tonight was awesome."

Closser finished the first half with a 23-yard touchdown run to give the Falcons a 41-0 lead going into halftime.

Riley Lentz started the second half with four straight carries for 70 yards. He broke loose for a 57-yard run and finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown.

"We were hoping he'd finish that one off," LePage said. "He made a tremendous run. If a guy runs that far, we need to try and score, and he did."

The Falcons had five players with at least 30 yards rushing. Lentz had a team-high 76 yards, one more than Purdy on his touchdown run.

"Between Riley and Purdy, you've got two really good backs that can take it the distance on any snap," LePage said.

The defense recorded its fourth shutout of the season, and ninth in 26 games since LePage returned to Blair Oaks.

"We felt like we really could control the line of scrimmage," LePage said. "We had one drive where we didn't. We'll go back and look at that on film."

Salem running back Caden Camden finished the game with 62 yards rushing. The Tigers, however, had just 18 net yards from the rest of the offense.

"What really worried us about them going under center is (Camden), because of his stature, because he's so quick," LePage said. "He can get behind the line and hide, and then squirt out."

Salem fumbled the ball seven times, only losing one. The Tigers also threw an interception.

"When you know you have to play your best, sometimes you do too much," LePage said. "They overplayed a little bit, but we forced a lot of that. Our defense was in position. Their quarterback got a little nervous after we hit him a couple times."

The Falcons have played without at least one defensive starter each of the last two weeks. It hasn't phased them, as the first-string defense has gone 34 straight quarters without allowing a point.

"It feels good to be able to come in and play for my teammates that can't play right now," said Ian Nolph, who has filled in as a starter at linebacker in both district games. "It's the hard work we put in at practice and the attitude we all have about working hard.

"We can go out there, play wherever we want and get the job done."

This season, opponents are averaging just 147.6 yards and 7.6 point per game against the Falcons.

"We just have to focus on what coach LePage is telling us look at, just do our jobs," Nolph said.

Salem, the No. 4 seed in the district, finishes the season with a 7-4 record.

Blair Oaks (11-0), ranked No. 1 in Class 3 with the top seed in the district, will host the second-seeded Buffalo Bison on Friday in the district championship game. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Buffalo (9-2) advanced in the playoffs Friday with a 49-28 win against sixth-seeded Logan-Rogersville. The Bison will try to snap the Falcons' streak of four consecutive district titles.

"It's not who we play, it's how we play," LePage said.

COMMENTS - It looks like you're using Internet Explorer, which isn't compatible with our commenting system. You can join the discussion by using another browser, like Firefox or Google Chrome.
It looks like you're using Microsoft Edge. Our commenting system is more compatible with Firefox and Google Chrome.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT