LEAD SPORTS PHOTO: SoBoCo midfielder Sam Bonderer attempts to win control of the ball against his Monett opponent on Saturday. The Eagles lost their quarterfinal game 2-1, ending another 20-win season.    

LEAD SPORTS STORY – FOOTBALL: Eagles defense bottles up Winfield

Southern Boone County head football coach Trent Tracy knew defense would be crucial if the Eagles wanted to reach the district title game.

“[The Winfield quarterback] is one of the best athletes in the state. Watching him on film and plays that he made were tremendous, and we challenged our guys all week,” Tracy said.

The challenge was met as the Eagles D gave up one 17-yard run to the Warriors – it was the longest gain for Winfield on the evening. The Eagles defense rose to that challenge when it mattered most, coming away Friday night with a 30-6 district district semifinal win over Winfield.

The win propels the Eagles into the district championship game at Moberly on Friday. Home field advantage and an energy from leaders such as Sam Stichnote provided SoBoCo an early spark.

Winfield received the first kickoff, but the Eagles defense forced a quick three-and-out. SoBoCo’s offense attacked with a consistent run game, running on all seven plays of the first drive. Colby Phillips created the key play, cutting through the defense and up the sideline for a 50-yard gain to set up an eventual Stichnote score from the one-yard line. Boyce cut the uprights to put the Eagles up 7-0 in the first quarter.

The mobile Winfield quarterback had no running room on their second possession, as the defensive line for the Eagles provided consistent pressure.

Again, they were able to force the offensive threat of the Warriors off the field and the Eagles fielded the punt at the seven-yard line.

Tracy continued with the power and speed of his run game, eating up clock and running the ball on six straight plays. Winfield’s defense had a better response for the Eagles running backs, forcing two negative yardage runs and a one-yard run to set up a third and long at the Warriors 22. Tracy’s trust in Boyce’s leg gave the Eagles a chance to go up by 10, but the kick dropped just short of the upright.

“The footing out here is not good. It’s slippery, so when he plants that foot to kick, he doesn’t have the power as much because his plant foot is slipping,” Tracy explained, having to remind his lights-out kicker that not every kick is going to go through the uprights or out of the back of the end zone.

At the end of one, SoBoCo had a small 7-0 lead.

~ Get the rest in today’s Journal ~

By Briley Eilers