CENTER, Mo. — Mark Twain will face Louisiana for the second time in three weeks as the Tigers host the Bulldogs on Friday in the District 1 Class 2 football semifinals.
The Tigers (4-5) defeated Louisiana (1-7) 28-6 at home on Oct. 23, exactly two weeks earlier.
“I think both teams have not changed much, so just seeing each other does make a difference,” said Mark Twain head coach Karl Asbury. “We both can try to fix the items that went wrong.”
Louisiana advanced to the district semifinals by a forfeit from Principia. The Bulldogs ended the regular season on a three-game losting streak after defeating Van-Far 35-28 on Sept. 25 to earn its only victory of the season.
Although the Tigers will get to play another home game this season, Asbury does not feel like that will factor into Friday’s matchup against the Bulldogs.
“The players are excited,” Asbury said. “This group has worked hard all year. To see the hard work pay off is really exciting.”
Mark Twain is coming off a 18-14 win over South Shelby in the District 1 Class 2 quarterfinals last Friday.
Although the Tigers held the lead most of last week’s game, South Shelby made it interesting toward the end, scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Turnovers were a problem for Mark Twain last week, as the Tigers committed three turnovers. However, Mark Twain’s defense also came away with three turnovers from South Shelby.
“To match our own turnovers, it was big,” Asbury said about his defense’s three takeaways. “If we don’t turn the ball over, then I don’t see it as a big thing.”
Last week’s quarterfinal match was also marred by penalties, with Mark Twain committing nine penalties and South Shelby committing 15 penalties.
Asbury said his team needs to be more disciplined in Friday’s district semifinal against Louisiana.
“We have been pretty good in the department of not getting too many penalties,” Asbury said. “The players just need to focus more on the tasks at hand.”
The Tigers look to establish its running game on Friday, and will give the Bulldogs a heavy dose of Evan Torrence and Landon Moss.
Last week, Torrence ran 21 times for 130 yards and two touchdowns, while also intercepting a pass for a 98-yard touchdown return in the first quarter.
Moss carried the ball eight times for 81 yards and Devin Whaley ran four times for 23 yards last week.
Mark Twain also had the running game going strong two weeks ago in its win over Louisiana. Torrence ran for 160 yards and two touchdowns, while Moss ran for 116 yards and a touchdown. Lakoda Preston also rushed for 46 yards and a touchdown in the regular season finale against the Bulldogs.
“The offense if on track, is very important,” Asbury said. “It takes pressure off the defense.”
Mark Twain had two players injured in last week’s win over South Shelby and Asbury has had his team focused on the district semifinal during practice this week.
“We are correcting the mistakes from the past two weeks,” Asbury said. “We are also trying to get a couple of players into spots where we have lost some due to injury.”