Bolivar football experienced its first regular season setback since 2018 on Friday, Sept. 18, falling 20-15 to Class 5 Glendale in Springfield.
The Class 4 Liberators have a chance to bounce back against another larger opponent this week, facing Class 5 Camdenton at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, in Camdenton.
“We will look to redeem ourselves this week at Camdenton,” Bolivar coach Glen Johnson said.
If past opponents are any indication, Bolivar should be able to lean on its defense to help break down the 2019 Class 4 District 5 champion.
The Lakers won 46-21 over Parkview, a team Bolivar beat 42-7 earlier this season.
No opponent has scored more than 20 points on the Liberators this year.
Opponents have averaged just 10.5 points per game against Bolivar.
The 2-2 Lakers are averaging 22.5 points per game, while Bolivar is averaging 23.3.
Defensively, Camdenton is allowing opponents to average 26.3 points.
The two teams share another commonality. Both programs were undefeated last year until a playoff game against Webb City ended their seasons.
Bolivar did what no other team in the Ozark Conference has done this year — stifle Glendale’s spread offense.
The Liberators held Glendale to just 20 points, but found themselves wrapped up, as well.
Bolivar’s usually powerful offense managed just two touchdowns, including one on a Bo Banner pass to Parker Erickson.
EJ Ingram scored Bolivar’s other touchdown, and Banner was responsible for its 2-point conversion.
Johnson said Bolivar’s troubles are on his shoulders.
“We did not play very well, and I take full responsibility,” he said.
Key to the loss was Glendale’s timely ability to force turnovers.
The Falcons caused five, each seeming just as Bolivar appeared to find momentum.
“(They) made plays when they needed to,” Johnson said. “My hats off to coach Mauck and his staff. Their kids showed up and played hard.”
The coach also leveled a promise.
“We will get better this week,” he said.
With Bolivar’s loss, there’s just one undefeated team left in the Ozark Conference — West Plains. Bolivar faces the Zizzers on Friday, Oct. 23.
Kickapoo, which had also been undefeated, lost to non-conference opponent and defending state champion Webb City last week.
West Plains and Kickapoo are set to settle things this Friday, Sept. 25.
Bolivar finds itself in somewhat unfamiliar company with the Missouri State High School Activities Association’s announcement of class and district assignments.
Like last year, the Liberators are again in Class 4 District 6. They’re joined by a completely new slate of schools, though.
Helias Catholic, Warrensburg, Nevada, Harrisonville and Marshall are also members of the district.
Bolivar has only faced Marshall in recent years. The Liberators beat the Owls 59-3 last year. At 4-0, Helias Catholic is the top-ranked team in the district.