Liberator football is one game away from an undefeated regular season.
Standing in the way is a 4.5 hour drive to Cape Girardeau and a faceoff with Central High School on Friday, Oct. 25.
It will be the longest trip the 8-0 Liberators will make this season.
“We have not traveled four hours yet, so this will be another test of our focus and discipline,” Bolivar coach Glen Johnson said.
Bolivar won 41-21 at home against Central last year and finished the 2018 season 4-6 with a playoff loss to Marshfield.
This year’s Liberator team has written a different story, though. Bolivar enters Friday’s game off a 52-0 win over Fort Scott Friday, Oct. 18, and has averaged 45.6 points per game. The Liberator defense has allowed opponents to average just 7.3 points and has held five teams to single digit scores, including two shutouts.
Lining up on the other end of the ball, though, will be a formidable squad Johnson described as “big, fast and looking to make a run for a district title.”
The 5-3 Tigers also seem to have righted the course after a tough 2018. The team finished last season 1-9.
This year, Central has averaged 24 points per game. Their defense has surrendered an average of 21.8.
“This will be a great game for us before the district playoffs start,” Johnson said.
Central’s three losses this year come from state-ranked teams Class 5 Jackson, Class 6 DeSmet and vote-earning Class 4 Farmington. Central’s wins include Class 5 Poplar Bluff and Class 3 St. Charles West.
The Tigers enter the week following a 63-0 loss to DeSmet.
“They play a pretty tough schedule and are well-coached,” Johnson said.
The playoff picture
At 52-0, Bolivar’s win over Fort Scott last week may have been decisive, but it didn’t help the Liberators gain ground on district opponents Webb City and West Plains. Both are 7-1 and still occupy the top slots in Class 4 District 6 with 51.75 and 50.13 points, respectively. Bolivar sits third at 48 and has plenty of daylight to fourth-placed Willard, which has 35.79.
Webb City recorded a 65-0 shutout win over Class 5 Ozark last week, while West Plains downed Springfield Central 69-0. Both teams close out the season against 4-4 teams, with Webb City facing Nixa and West Plains playing Glendale.
The first round of districts is Friday, Nov. 1, and play wraps up Friday, Nov. 15.
Eathen Dinwiddie and Blade Hancock compiled 42 points as the Liberators rolled right over Fort Scott 52-0 Friday, Oct. 18.
The Liberators jumped to a 38-0 halftime lead in a game where nearly everything seemed to go right, including an Alex Maldonado field goal from nearly 45 yards out. Darrin Fugitt supplied Bolivar’s other score, rumbling into the endzone after spending part of the game wreaking havoc on defense.