Newsflash: The Lamar Tigers are good. Really good.
The McDonald County Mustangs got a firsthand account as to what makes the Tigers back-to-back defending state champions on Friday. The Tigers scored their first touchdown with 9:32 to go in the first quarter and never looked back, cruising to a 75-0 victory.
To go along with their recent success, the Tigers are still somewhat of a veteran team. They returned seven starters this season, including lineman and University of Missouri commit Sam Bailey. In contrast, the Mustangs are a young team that returned only two starters from a season ago.
Lamar’s veteran presence seemed to make a difference as the Tigers capitalized on a bevy of McDonald County mistakes. Following a Mustangs fumble on their second drive, the Tigers drove downfield and scored on a 25 yard run by Jared Beshore to make it 14-0. They went on to score four times in the first quarter and led 28-0.
In the first half alone the Tigers scored on six rushing touchdowns, a punt return touchdown and an interception return to take a 55-0 lead into the break. Despite the shortcomings, Mustangs coach Chris Gwartney said his players continued to play hard until the final whistle.
“It was just one of those nights,” Gwartney said. “Nothing went right for us. We continued to work at it and the kids tried hard. They kept playing, kept competing and definitely stayed in there. I was proud of them for that.”
Gwartney said Lamar is worthy of its hype.
“They’re really a very, very good team,” he said. “They’re the real deal, the total package. When you get beat like that it’s hard to find too many positives.”