Friday, Sept. 27, is a day Bolivar High School football coach Glen Johnson is looking forward to.
At 7 p.m. the Liberators will face Kansas City Center High School in Kansas City, ready, Johnson hopes, to avenge a 37-13 home loss in 2018.
Both teams enter the match undefeated.
“They were the only team to beat us at home last year,” Johnson said, labeling the Yellowjackets’ program a “Class 3 powerhouse.”
In last year’s game, Center jumped out to an early lead, scoring on five of seven first-half drives, according to previous BH-FP coverage.
The Yellowjackets had a touchdown and a field goal in the first quarter, then added three more scores in the second quarter to lead 31-0 at halftime.
“They are very athletic, physical and proven winners,” Johnson said of the team.
The Liberators, thus far in the 2019 season, have matched that dominant style.
Bolivar enters week 5 off a 59-3 shutdown of Marshall. The Liberators also own wins over Eldon and Hannibal. Both teams defeated Bolivar by double digits last year.
Bolivar and Center enter Friday with favorable stats. Bolivar is averaging 44 points per game, while Center is churning out 40.5.
The Liberator defense has allowed just 6.3 points on average, while Center’s opponents are averaging 12.8.
The Yellowjackets dispatched Van Horn 27-20 Saturday, Sept. 21. Central was 7-3 last year overall.
Johnson said the Liberator defense will look to disrupt Center’s senior passer Jesse Stills, a proven playmaker who rushed for two touchdowns and threw for a third against the Liberators last year.
“Everything runs through (Stills),” Johnson said.
Running back Cris Ferrer is another returning threat for the Yellowjackets, Johnson said. The senior also had a score against Bolivar last year.
“We look forward to our biggest challenge yet with another two-hour bus trip to Kansas City,” Johnson said.
Bolivar is 4-0 for the first time since 2013, when the Liberators won Class 4 District 7 and advanced to the fourth round of state sectionals.
Looking over his team’s season on the road so far, Johnson said he sees improvement.
The Liberators, who didn’t win an away game last year, are 2-0 on the road in 2019, coming off a Friday, Sept. 20, win in Marshall.
“We handled driving two-plus hours and played well under the conditions,” Johnson said. “We are getting better at handling the travel.”
Bolivar’s Blade Hancock scored a pair of touchdowns, including a run down the sideline on the game’s opening kickoff.
Hancock, along with quarterback Hayden Burks, put in a series of big plays on both sides of the football. While Hancock helped recover a fumble in the first quarter, Burks sacked opposing quarterback Ben Haug, later also intercepting the passer.
Liberators Eathen Dinwiddie and Parker Erickson also had two touchdowns on the night. Bo Banner had one score. Bolivar’s Darrin Fugitt ended the contest with an interception, which he returned for a touchdown.
“We put together a complete game in all three phases,” Johnson said. “We scored on offense, defense and special teams.”