Tigers travel to South Callaway for district title game

Mark Twain sophomore Lakoda Preston goes around a pack of Bulldogs in the district semifinals at Mark Twain High School on Friday, Nov. 6.

CENTER, Mo. — For the first time since 2016, the Mark Twain football team is playing in the district title game.

The Tigers (5-5) will travel to Mokane to face South Callaway (6-3) on Friday in the Class 1 District 2 final.

“I am glad that this gorup of young men get the opportunity to play for a district title,” said Mark Twain head coach Karl Asbury. “Not too many teams get the chance. I am excited for them.”

Mark Twain enters Friday’s district title game on a three-game winning streak. The Tigers are coming off a 36-24 win over Louisiana in last week’s semifinal game.

The running game was key in the Tigers win last week, with the team combining for 302 rushing yards. Evan Torrence had 33 carries for 196 yards and four touchdowns. Landon Moss had 12 carries for 65 yards, while Lakoda Preston had six carries for 41 yards and a touchdown.

“The running game is our bread and butter,” Asbury said. “If all three of them are going well, it is hard to stop. As well as others that we plug in there.”

Mark Twain was down 24-20 going into halftime after Louisiana scored a last-second touchdown at the end of the second quarter.

However, the Tigers kept Louisiana off the scoreboard in the second half on its way to victory.

“Just getting the win is important,” Asbury said. “As well as learning from those mistakes and getting better.”

The Tigers defense had a standout game in its win over Louisiana, coming away with three turnovers and four sacks. Sophomore Connor Eckler had came away with two turnovers

“Whenever you win the turnover battle, it’s important,” Asbury said. “A team like ours cannot turn the ball over repeatedly and be successful.”

Last week’s district semifinal game was marred with penalties, with Mark Twain and Louisiana combining for 16 total penalties.

Eight of the penalties were committed by Mark Twain in last week’s win, after the Tigers committed nine penalties in the quarterfinal win over South Shelby.

“One penalty was on me,” Asbury said. “I will take the blame on that. The offsides, we just need to be more disciplined. The face mask was incidental, so not a concern there.”

South Callaway is coming off a 29-14 win over Paris last week in the district semifinal. The Bulldogs have won four out of their past five games heading into Friday’s district final.

A key player to watch on South Callaway is running back Hayden Vaught, who ran for 182 yards and two touchdowns in the Bulldogs win over Paris last week.

Asbury has the Tigers working on defending the option during practices this week.

“We need to know our assignments and tackle,” Asbury said. “We need to be patient.”

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