Photograph by Betsy Conover
The Stanberry Bulldogs celebrate with their state trophy after defeating North Andrew Nov. 23 in the 8-Man Show-Me Bowl.
By Don Groves
The Albany Ledger
Watching Stanberry’s 56-38 win Nov. 23 over North Andrew to claim the 8-Man Show-Me Bowl title was like watching two different games.
In the first half, Stanberry scored on eight of nine of its possessions and North Andrew scored five times, its last two touchdowns coming on kickoff returns.
In the second half, it was all defense. When the stops were needed, Stanberry was there to shut down the Cardinals. Stanberry head coach Dan Collins said the Bulldogs received “a good, old-fashioned” talking to during halftime.
“We changed a little bit of our blocking scheme on offense,” Collins said. “Nate [Luke] was pretty beat up by then. As long as they didn’t score, as long as the defense played all right we were OK.”
North Andrew received the kickoff to open the game but it was Stanberry to put up the first score when Nate Luke broke away for a 27-yard touchdown run with just over six minutes left in the first quarter.
The Cardinals wasted no time in answering the Bulldogs’ touchdown. At about the four-minute mark Austin Dalbey pulled in a pass from Nate Atkins for a 52-yard touchdown followed by a 2-point conversion and an 8-6 lead for North Andrew.
Stanberry came right back for another touchdown, this time with pass from Reid Osborn to Luke, who took advantage of his blockers and avoided a tackle to make it 58 yards to score. Jesse Oldham ran the ball across for the extra point to put the Bulldogs up 14-8 with just over three minutes left in the quarter.
The Bulldogs allowed North Andrew to touch the ball shortly on their kickoff following the touchdown but Matthew Stoll was right on top of North Andrew’s Darek Mercer when he fumbled the return. Stanberry took control of the ball deep in Cardinals territory, allowing Osborn to run the ball across from four yards out with about two minutes on the clock. Luke followed with the extra 2 points for a 22-8 lead.
Stanberry’s defense kept the pressure on, forcing a Cardinal fumble recovered by the Bulldogs’ Isaac Heddinger with less than two minutes left in the game. Jake Heddinger followed his brother’s fumbler recovery with a 21-yard pass from Osborn with just about 27 seconds on the clock. Oldham’s PAT was good for a 30-8 Stanberry lead.
With only seconds left in the first quarter, North Andrew’s Quayde Bauman was able break past the Bulldog offense for one more touchdown. The pass was good to leave the Cardinals down 30-16 heading into the second quarter.
The Bulldogs came out ready to score again in the second quarter with Osborn taking the ball down the middle for a touchdown with 8:21 left in the half for a 36-16 lead. Stanberry scored again after Jake Heddinger intercepted a Cardinal pass, giving the Bulldogs possession again. Luke then scored after stiff arming a North Andrew player and running the ball 53 yards. Ryan Jensen’s PAT pass from Osborn was good for a 44-16 Stanberry lead.
The final six minutes or so of the half was a back and forth offensive game. The Cardinals made it a 44-24 game with just over four minutes left. Stanberry countered with a 36-yard touchdown pass from Osborn to Luke for a 50-24 game at about the 3:30 mark.
North Andrew answered with a 67-yard kickoff return and a PAT for a 50-32 game. With less than 15 seconds on the clock, Osborn hit Luke up the middle for a 24-yard touchdown to make it 56-32. With just 10 seconds on the clock, the Cardinals scored on another kickoff return to end the half and the scoring at 56-38.
Luke had 169 yards on 29 rushes. Osborn had 11 carries for 50 yards. Oldham gained two yards on seven carries.
Osborn was 8-11 passing for 158 yards. Luke had 116 yards on three receptions. Heddinger had three receptions for 39 yards. Jensen had a six-yard reception. Oldham had one reception for a three-yard loss.
“It was a good time,” Collins said. “We tried to keep focused so we got there and kept going. The boys played pretty well.”