Mt’neer run ends at Final Four

By Steve Chapman

The Mt. Vernon Mt’neers hopes to return to Columbia and win the state championship were dashed at the state semifinal game after they lost to the Cardinal Ritter Lions at Mt’neer Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 24. The Mt’neers end their season as Big Eight Conference Champions, District 6 Champions, and the No. 6 Class 3 team overall in the state for 2018.
The Lions took the lead early in the game, scoring a touchdown on their first offensive drive. The Mt’neers managed to tie the score with their own touchdown on a second and goal when quarterback Zach Jones faked a handoff to Will Boswell and then gave the ball to Carson Bowman, who ran the ball into the end zone. However, despite an all out effort the Mt’neers were unable to counter the Lions’ momentum afterwards.
The Lions would go on to score another touchdown in first quarter. In second quarter, they scored two more touchdowns, each followed by a two-point conversion, to end the half at 28-6.
In the third quarter, the Lions score two more touchdowns. They also recovered a fumble by the Mt’neers, starting an offensive drive which, despite a quarterback sack by Boswell, ended with them gaining their final touchdown and PAT, ending the game with a score of 49-6.
While the Mt’neers loss to Cardinal Ritter was not the ending to the season that the Mt’neers and their fans had hoped for, there was a bright spot in the game for Mt. Vernon. During the fourth quarter, Mt. Vernon School District Superintendent Scott Cook announced that Boswell had broken the Missouri High School Athletic Association’s Career Tackle Record. Boswell broke the record when he made his 624th tackle. The record was previously held by Jakob Cordell, of West Nodaway, who had 623 tackles over the course of his career.
According to statistics provided by Chris Johnston, assistant principal, activities director, and assistant coach, Boswell entered the game with 615 tackles, and made 13 during the game against Cardinal Ritter; his career total stands at 628. Last year, Boswell also earned the title of Class 3 Defensive Player of the Year.
For Boswell, learning that he was the new record holder was surreal.
“I don’t think it’s really set in, yet,” he said after the game. “I think it will feel really cool in the end.”
Later, several younger fans came up to Boswell, asking him for his autograph. He obliged, signing their game programs.
“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “I never thought I’d sign autographs.”
After the game, Coach Tom Cox told the players and the fans that the one game shouldn’t define the season, pointing out the team’s many accomplishments over the season.
“We don’t want this for our players or our fans or anybody to overshadow what these guys have accomplished this year,” he said later. “Not many people gave us a chance to be right here where we are. That’s what I told the team. Don’t let this ending take anything away from what you’ve accomplished.”
For the team’s senior players, the game was their last as Mt’neers. Luke McKinzie said he would miss his teammates most.
“They are the most amazing people I’ve ever been around,” he said.
Hunter Williams said he would also miss the team.
“I’m going to miss the family and just the relationship together and having each other’s back and relying on each other,” he said.
Patrick Lester joked that he would miss “getting to be able to hit somebody,” but like Williams and McKinzie, said his teammates were what he liked best about playing football.
“It’s been a real family,” he said. “Anytime I need anything, I can call the coach or one of the guys on the team. They’re just always there for everybody.”
With the end of the season, members of the team now look to the future. McKinzie said he hopes to play college football for SBU in Bolivar, while Williams is planning to run in track later this year and later make a career as an electrician lineman. Lester said he will play baseball later this year.
The Mt’neers will lose a lot of great talent with the graduation of their senior players, but Cox said he is confident that his younger players will be able to fill the void.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys who had a really great JV season that we feel can step in,” he said.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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