AURORA — Determining the No. 6 and No. 7 seeds in Class 4, District 5 truly came down to the wire between the McDonald County Mustangs and the Bolivar Liberators.

Entering the final week of the regular season, McDonald County held a .54 point margin over Bolivar for that No. 6 spot.
McDonald County played Class 3 Aurora and Bolivar took on Class 5 Ozark, matchups that favored the Liberators in the district points system.

Ozark held up its end of the bargain — handing Bolivar a 42-14 loss — but Aurora played spoiler for McDonald County and gave the Mustangs a 42-32 loss Friday night.

At the end of the night, McDonald County dropped into the No. 7 spot in district and the Mustangs have a road game Friday night against Carl Junction, who finished the regular season 8-1 and on an eight-game winning streak after the Bulldogs’ loss to unbeaten Webb City in the season opener.

McDonald County, then in the No. 8 slot, opened against Carl Junction last time and the Bulldogs dispatched McDonald County 56-12.

However, it was still quite a night in Week 9 for McDonald County senior quarterback Peyton Barton, one of the key cogs in McDonald County’s five-win improvement from last season.

Barton rushed for a pair of touchdowns and passed for two more scores, helping the Mustangs in their attempt to keep up with the Houn’ Dawgs.

Aurora struck quickly twice in the first quarter — two scores within 13 seconds of each other and only 3 minutes, 17 seconds into the Big 8 Conference clash.

The Mustangs played from behind the rest of the night.

Aurora’s Clayton Dunning hounded the Mustangs with 260 yards of total offense and a TD pass.