CENTER, Mo. -- Mark Twain rebounded from its first loss of the season with a 52-7 road win against Wright City on Friday.

Wright City scored a touchdown on its opening possession, but it would be the only score for the Wildcats for the remainder of the game.

"The first drive was a struggle," said Mark Twain head coach Austin Leake. "Wright City had a 15 to 20 play drive where they scored on their first possession. But after that, our defense didn't give up another point for the rest of the game. The last three-and-a-half quarters were really impressive. I'm glad they handled the adversity well and shut them down."

The Tigers would regain momentum after a slow start and take a 22-7 lead to halftime.

Still, Mark Twain was not firing on all cylinders during the first half.

"We had several false starts and a couple of bad snaps that we fumbled (in the first half)," Leake said. "We still ran the ball fine. We were just a little rusty at first."

The offense started clicking in the second half, scoring 24 points in the third quarter to hold a 46-7 lead going into the fourth quarter.

"We came out after halftime and they got things right and played the way we normally play," Leake said. "We looked pretty darn good, but we know that we can't play that way the next couple of weeks. We can't start a game like that against Montgomery County and North Callaway and have the result end the way that we like."

Leake said Mark Twain did get its offense clicking, but it was not their best game.

"Offensively, we've just got to play our game and not shoot ourselves in the foot with penalties, fumbles and things like that," Leake said. "Just be ourselves. I don't think we got to do anything out of the ordinary. We just got to play our A game and not make mistakes."

Tigers quarterback Payton Hawkins had 169 yards passing and 54 rushing yards with two touchdowns. Mark Twain wide receiver Lakoda Preston scored two touchdowns against Wright City.

Mark Twain (5-1) will host Montgomery County (4-2) in its next game on Friday at 7 p.m.

"(Montgomery County) has got a really good offense," Leake said. "They throw it around. They've got a good quarterback, they've got a good running back and they've got a really good receiver. So we'll have our hands full defensively trying to figure them out."

The Tigers then will then host North Callaway (3-2) on Oct. 15 and play at Louisiana (3-3) on Oct. 22 to close out the regular season schedule.

Leake said Mark Twain has some very important games coming up to close out the season.

"We've got a close district race with Monroe City and St. Pius out of Festus," Leake said. "All three of us are 5-1 and within two points of each other in the district standings. So every game is important because it will determine where we will play at in districts and who we play against."

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