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The Mexico Ledger - Mexico, MO
  • Spartans football team roughs up St. Dominic

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  • Fourth-ranked Moberly Spartans over-powered St. Dominic of O'Fallon winning 55-7 Friday in Class 4 District 6 first round playoff football game hosted at Moberly.
    The Spartans varsity team scored on seven of its eight first-half possessions, the defense held the Crusaders to 97 total yards of offense - all while building a 47-7 halftime cushion to set off a running clock - and then the more seasoned athletes went to the sidelines in the second half to watch Moberly's jayvee unit and freshmen finish the job.
    Friday's win moves second-seed Moberly (10-0) into a district semifinal contest this Wednesday when the Spartans host Hannibal (7-3) with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
    "We had a good week of preparation. The kids did a good job coming out, ready to go, playing with much energy and enthusiasm and dealing with things of an unknown football team," said Moberly football coach Jason Ambroson. "The kids did a very nice job in all aspects of the game and they deserve all the credit for this big, decisive win."
    "I have such a great coaching staff who put a lot of time and effort into working up a game plan every week, but the kids take a lot of pride and ownership into our football program. They follow directions, work hard at practice and they support one another. They came out and took care of things that needed to be taken care of. I am very proud of this bunch of kids."
    Moberly received the opening kickoff and reached midfield but stalled and was forced to punt.
    However, the next seven possessions the Spartans had no trouble marching along the path that reached the end zone, leaving little doubt Ambroson's troops are on a mission and firing on all cylinders.
    "I thought we came out a little out of sync, mainly with our first offensive drive but maybe we were a little too fired up wondering what they (St. Dominic) were going to do to us. We had an off sides penalty that was a cause in us having to punt during our first possession, and defensively we had two encroachment penalties right off the bat. Those were a little disappointing," said Ambroson. "But after that first series we got into a pretty nice groove, moved the ball well the rest of the first half. St. Dominic threw a few different looks at us, but our kids handled it well."
    "I thought we looked pretty good running our offense from our block assignments to executing our game plan. Our defense played really well and with the exception of one of (St. Dominic's) possessions when they had two to three long runs that led to their only touchdown, the defense pretty much stopped what they wanted to do, and our special teams did very well."
    Page 2 of 3 - Spartan Numbers
    Moberly racked up more than 500 yards of total offense against the Crusaders.
    Running back Dimaja Smith led eight other ball carriers in rushing with 116 yards on seven carriers. The 6'2, 209-pound Moberly senior also ran untouched for a 48-yard touchdown with 0:07 left in the first quarter and then ran in the 2-pt. conversion giving the Spartans a healthy 28-0 lead.
    Junior Chris Palmer had touchdown runs of 16, 19 and 11 yards during the game as he rushed seven times for 64 yards, and senior Blake Joiner had a 24-yard carry. Dupree Alexander blocked a punt in the first quarter that led to him running in for an 8-yard touchdown.
    Meanwhile in the passing scheme, senior quarterback Justin Connaway threw for 210 yards completing 8 of 12 passes and he connected with Joiner for a 42-yard TD strike. Joiner ended up having four receptions that netted 138 yards
    Smith made a short catch near the line of scrimmage and turned it into a 44-yard gain with the aid of a Joiner key block to clear his path down the sidelines. Alexander caught two passes for 22 yards and Scott Mason had a 6-yard reception.
    In the second half of play, sophomore jayvee quarterback John Heimann provided 42 rushing yards.
    Defensive back Gage Esry of the Spartans came down with an interception, falling into the end zone for a touchback, with 6:06 left in the third quarter to set up Moberly's final scoring drive. Starting from the Moberly 20, running back Colton Graham capped that nine-play drive with his 23-yard touchdown run at 0:18.
    Crusader Numbers
    St. Dominic (3-7) of the AAA Large Conference in the St. Louis metro area finished the evening with about 156 total yards of offense.
    Quarterback Josh Daues of the Crusaders threw for 101 yards completing 8 of 18 passes, and he threw two interceptions.
    Daues also had 28 rushing yards on 12 carries, and Max Mathews ran for 15 yards.
    What's Next
    Wednesday's district semifinal playoff game here against Hannibal will be Moberly's second meeting this season.
    The Spartans earned a rare 56-36 win against Hannibal on Oct. 11, and coach Ambroson said he expects his Moberly team will be greatly battled tested by a Pirates crew who will be looking to take revenge.
    "It's very hard to beat somebody twice in the same football season. We could not do that last year when we beat Marshall in the regular season and then they came back to beat us in the first round of the playoffs. I certainly do not want to see that kind of thing happen to us when we play Hannibal again," said coach Ambroson. "Second of all, Moberly's football program is something like 2 and 26 in games won against Hannibal in our history. I don't know for sure what it is, but I do know the numbers of us losing to Hannibal are pretty big. Therefore, this will be a humongous challenge for us."
    Page 3 of 3 - "I guarantee you they will be fired up and excited, and it would not surprise me one bit if Hannibal's football team is practicing late into (Friday night)," he continued. "But I think our kids will come out and be just as excited and amped-up, ready to play Hannibal too. But I'm expecting this game to be nothing like our other meeting. It's going to much more physical and tougher than before."
    "We have got to make sure we are practicing and playing at our best."

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