HAMILTON, Mo. – In a postseason clash among conference rivals, the Mid-Buchanan football team is headed to the Class 1 semifinals for the third-consecutive season following their 46-21 victory over Hamilton on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field.
After falling to the Dragons by a score of 63-6 early on in the season, the Hornets hadn’t lost a game since and didn’t go down without a fight in the rematch. Hamilton got on the board first and took an early 7-0 lead with a 14-yard run by junior quarterback Tucker Ross with 3:16 remaining in the opening period.
“We knew we wanted to control the line of scrimmage to get some points up and I thought we did that for the most part in the first half,” Hamilton coach Caleb Obert said.
For the second consecutive game, the Dragons went scoreless in the first quarter but picked up the pace in the second quarter. Javan Noyes rushed in for a 2-yard touchdown to tie the contest, but the Hornets quickly responded with a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Corbin Henderson to take a 14-7 lead with 2:23 remaining in the first half.
“Hamilton is a good football team and they are here all of the time for a reason,” Mid-Buchanan coach Aaron Fritz said. “They had the ball for most of the first quarter, managed the clock well and had a good game plan against us.”
The Dragons answered with an 8-play, 80-yard drive capped off with a 14-yard pass from Noyes to Caiden Bailey, but the extra point attempt was no good and for the first time this season Mid-Buchanan trailed at halftime, 14-13.
Mid-Buchanan (12-0) took its first lead of the game by converting on a fourth and 15 on a 25-yard pass to Bailey, jumping out to a 19-14 lead.
“Our receivers were running great routes and getting wide open,” Noyes said. “The offensive line was also protecting me really well, which was huge.”
The Hornets regained the lead almost immediately with a 65-yard rush by Sawyer Morrow giving Hamilton a 21-19 lead with 8:59 remaining in the third quarter. From that point on it was all Mid-Buchanan with Noyes scoring two touchdowns on the ground and a passing touchdown to Lane Ellison, along with a 4-yard rush by T.J. Runyan.
“You could kind of feel the momentum shift, especially after getting the late touchdown in the second quarter, and after that we just started rolling,” Noyes said.
Each of the last two seasons, Mid-Buchanan has been sent home in the semifinals by Valle Catholic and Lincoln. This hasn’t been a typical season with their being health and safety restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the Dragons are grateful to have the opportunity to continue their season and make another deep run.
“With the weird year with everything going on and with all the adjustments we’ve had to make, everyone has worked hard to keep this season going. This win is for everybody, I’m so proud of the administrators down to the kids to help get us to this point,” Fritz said.
Mid-Buchanan will host Adrian on at 1 p.m. Saturday with a chance to make an appearance in the Class 1 State Championship. Meanwhile, Hamilton’s season ends with a 9-4 record.