Tigers now play Lebanon for Class 5, District 5 championship

Michael L. Misfeldt

 For some teams a bye week comes at a bad time, for others they use it to their advantage, for Willard it was the latter, as the Tiger squad ran all over the Waynesville Tigers in the Class 5, District 5 playoffs in Willard on Nov. 2.
    The Tigers racked up over 400 yards rushing in their 42-7 win, led by Garrett Rice, who had 135 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns.
    “We challenged them before Branson just to be more physical,” said head coach Brock Roweton. “That is two games in a row that our line has really dominated the line of scrimmage. It is really easy to run when you have holes like that.”
    Willard got on the board first when Reece Dawson took it in from one yard out to put Willard up 6-0. Ethan Thompson added another touchdown on a 26-yard run to increase the Tigers lead to 12-0 at the end of the first quarter.
    Willard continued to punish Waynesville on the ground, as Rice put in the first of his two touchdowns with 9:15 to go, on a one-yard run to give Willard a 20-0 lead. Less than five minutes later, Dawson hit Thompson on a 32-yard scoring pass to give Willard a 28-0 halftime lead.
    The Tigers defense buttoned up Waynesville all night, holding the Tigers to minus-6 yards rushing at the half and for less than 50 for the game. Willard ended up sacking the Waynesville quarterback eight times in the game.
    “Our defense played extremely fast,” said Roweton. “We were all over the field. There are a lot of great athletes on that team and they were trying to create some space, but the speed of our defense really showed out. Tonight was the very first night all year that we have been completely healthy.”
    Rice added his second touchdown of the game midway through the third quarter from two yards out and Richard Sherman completed the Willard scoring, plunging in from two yards out to give Willard a 42-0 lead. Waynesville scored in the fourth quarter to cut the score to 42-7.
    “Right now we are in the final 16 in Class 5 and not everybody gets to say that they are still playing at this point,” said Roweton. “We are excited to get the chance to do something that hasn’t been done too much in Willard history and that’s go after a district championship.”
    Dawson ended the game 2-5 for 49 yards and a touchdown passing, and added another 104 yards on four carries with a touchdown rushing. Thompson had 88 yards on five carries with a touchdown; Marshall Swadley added another 56 yards on seven carries and Sherman had two yards and a touchdown.
    Thompson led Willard with 32 yards receiving on one catch with a touchdown; Maurice Grayer had the other catch for 17 yards.
    Willard will now head to Lebanon this Friday to play for the Class 5, District 5 championship. The Yellowjackets blew out Glendale in the semifinals and have won eight games this season
    “Lebanon is very good,” said Roweton. “We see them in the summertime in seven on seven games. It is going to be a fun game because it is two similar styles. They are going to line up and run at us and that is what we defend well. It is going to be a really fun night. I really like where we are at this point and our kids are firing on all cylinders.”


Lawrence County Record

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