Liberator football coach Glen Johnson summed up his senior class in just one word — “trailblazers.”
“They have taken our program places we have not gone,” Johnson said, following the team’s historic 11-1 season that ended with a loss in the Class 4 District 6 title game to defending champion Webb City Friday, Nov. 15.
Bolivar exited the season the district runner up.
The Liberators finished their regular season undefeated for the first time since 2013 and only the sixth time in school history, Johnson said.
Liberator football spent its last two years as an independent, turning a 2018 season that ended 4-6 in the district semifinal round into a formidable 2019 campaign that included a playoff upset over state-ranked West Plains Friday, Nov. 8.
“They led us to all four corners of the state through our two years independent,” Johnson said of the seniors.
The Liberators faced several long drives in that two-year span, including trips to Cape Girardeau, Marshall, Union, Hannibal, Mountain View and Fort Scott, Kansas.
As previously reported in the BH-FP, starting next year, Bolivar will play football as a member of the Ozark Conference, inheriting Springfield Central’s schedule on an emergency application after the Bulldogs opted to leave and become independents.
West Plains, coincidentally, is on that schedule, meaning the Liberators and the Zizzers will have a rematch Friday, Oct. 23, in the regular season finale.
It’s a contest Bolivar’s 2020 seniors won’t be on the field for, but still, Johnson said, the group built the path for the future.
“They saw us get a conference home for the next season,” Johnson said. “They helped us win two playoff games and play for a district championship. (They) helped move our program in the right direction.”
On and off the field, Johnson said his seniors “exemplified high character and academics.”
“Thank you, (to the) seniors and their families for the time invested to make Bolivar better than when you found it. This was a lot of fun to be a part of.”
The postseason picture
Following its 37-14 win over Bolivar on Friday, district champion Webb City will face Camdenton in the next round of state sectionals after the Lakers bested Lebanon 35-7 last week.
Camdenton hosts the game. Webb City won when the teams faced off in 2018 and 2017. The winner faces the victor of a game between defending state champion Ladou Horton Watkins and Wentzville Liberty for a chance at this year’s state title game.
It was all Webb City early Friday, Nov. 15. The Cardinals dominated the game’s first three quarters, only allowing two touchdowns from Bolivar after taking a 37-0 lead.
Senior running back Eathen Dinwiddie, who broke a school record earlier this season, and junior Parker Erickson recorded Bolivar’s two scores.