BY BRETT ADKISON | LEADER EDITOR
While Lathrop's win over Maryville for the district championship continues to resonate throughout Missouri, the road to state championship game rolls on without stopping.
And that road is bringing a familiar face to Lathrop High School on Saturday, November 23.
The Summit Christian Academy Eagles (11-1) are back in the Missouri Class 2 State Quarterfinals for the second straight year, knocking off Lafayette County (9-3) last week, 35-14, to repeat as the Class 2, District 7 champions.
And according to Lathrop head coach Chris Holt, Summit Christian has been eyeing this rematch for 12 months.
“Last year when we were shaking hands, a lot of (their) kids were saying, 'See you next year.' 'See you next year.' 'See you next year,'” Holt told The Leader earlier this week. “They had full intentions of getting back to see us in the quarterfinals. Whether it was here or there doesn't matter. They planned on playing us. We will get there best effort.”
In last year's quarterfinal match at Lathrop, Summit Christian struck first to go up 7-0 and were threatening to extend their lead to double digits – something the Mules had avoided all season – but an interception by then-junior Drew O'Connor swung the game back Lathrop's direction.
The Mules went on to win in convincing fashion, 41-14, and a week later upended seven-time defending state champion Lamar in the semifinals, advancing Lathrop to the program's first-ever appearance in the state championship game.
Similarly, Lathrop enters this postseason rematch undefeated at 12-0, winning both the district and KCI Conference championships. SCA's lone blemish in their 11-1 mark came in the final week of the regular season, where they fell to Lincoln Prep 35-21. Prep has had a reemergent season in 2019, winning their first 11 games of the year before losing to Platte County last week in the Class 4, District 8 championship, 23-8.
SCA comes into this week with similar credentials to Lathrop, scoring 44.4 points per game while allowing just 9.3 points per game. The Eagles have compiled five shutouts while allowing a single-digit score total nine times.
Lathrop has scored 49.5 points per game while allowing 9.25 points per game. The Mules have three shutouts while allowing a single-digit point total five times. That comes with a caveat many Lathrop fans have been familiar with over the past two seasons – the Mules often blew out their opponents in the first half this year, and the full varsity squad rarely played the entire second half, if at all.
Here's a look at the stat lines for each team's leaders in the respective phases of the game.
Blake Gordon: 47 completions, 82 attempts, 57.3 completion percentage, 1,040 yards, 18 touchdowns, 1 interception
Grayson Sprouse: 118 completions, 201 attempts, 58.7 completion percentage, 1,891 yards, 26 touchdowns, 4 interceptions
Tyler Paul: 83 carries, 1,318 yards, 15.9 yards per carry, 25 touchdowns
Caden Rardon: 38 carries, 619 yards, 16.3 yards per carry, 8 touchdowns
Blake Gordon: 64 carries, 515 yards, 8 yards per carry, 7 touchdowns
Tanner Dalinghaus: 63 carries, 481 yards, 7.6 yards per carry, 6 touchdowns
Lucas Eckles: 130 carries, 1,383 yards, 10.6 yards per carry, 23 touchdowns
Grayson Sprouse: 108 carries, 482 yards, 4.5 yards per carry, 15 touchdowns
Zack Oppriecht: 33 carries, 374 yards yards, 11.3 yards per carry
Chris Moore: 14 receptions, 363 yards, 25.9 yards per catch, 7 touchdowns
Caden Rardon: 10 receptions, 211 yards, 21.1 yards per catch, 4 touchdowns
Tyler Paul: 10 catches, 199 yards, 19.9 yards per catch, 4 touchdowns
Grant Lewis: 8 catches, 236 yards, 29.5 yards per catch, 4 touchdowns
Christian Newsom II: 39 receptions, 528 yards 13.5 yards per catch, 10 touchdowns
Lincoln Sprouse: 28 receptions, 469 yards, 16.8 yards per catch, 6 touchdowns
Zack Oppriecht: 23 receptions, 290 yards, 12.6 yard per catch, 2 touchdowns
Tyler Paul: 70.5 tackles, 8 tackles for a loss, 3 sacks
Colton Nichols: 59.5 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks
Tanner Dalinghaus: 53.5 tackles, 9 tackles for a loss, 1 sack
Brady Wheeler: 43 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, 1 sack
Chris Moore: 6 interceptions (11 team interceptions)
Jake McIlhaney: 89.5 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss
Zeke Oppriecht: 89.5 tackles, 25 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks
Zack Oppriecht: 49 tackles. 6 tackles for a loss
Christian Newsom II: 6 interceptions (21 team interceptions)