Maryville is back in the state finals

By Cody Thorn The St. Joseph News-Press
Posted: November 23, 2013 - 11:59 PM

Dakota Beemer won’t be a bystander on the sideline this time around at the Missouri Class 3 state championship.

The Maryville sophomore made a key fumble recovery late in the fourth quarter that helped the defending state champions run out the clock to escape with a 22-13 over California on Saturday at Riley Field.

Beemer’s fumble recovery provided the second key special teams play for the Spoofhounds (14-0) in the fourth quarter to turn back the late surge from the fifth-ranked Pintos (12-2).

“It was a big moment, knowing we got the ball back,” Beemer said of recovering Walker Borghardt’s muffed handle of a punt with 3 minutes, 33 seconds left. “I believe that was the nail in the coffin. I had to get the ball. When it bounced up, I grabbed it.”

Beemer took part in practice last year as a freshman but didn’t suit up in the Spoofhounds’ win against John Burroughs in the title game. This time around, he started for the Spoofhounds, winners of 29 straight. Beemer’s fumble recovery became a big play, but he provided the bulk of the Maryville yardage in the contest, running for 138 on 22 totes.

California’s fourth turnover came at a critical juncture.

Maryville set up to punt from its own 16-yard line with just more than 5 minutes left to play. The 17-mph wind carried Brody McMahon’s kick into California territory where Borghardt, who returned a kickoff 78 yards for a score in the second quarter, bobbled it, and Beemer jumped on the loose ball and initially returned it to the 15 before officials stopped the play because mishandled punts can not be taken forward by the recovering team.

The fumble capped four straight possessions that featured a big play.

Maryville went up 22-7 when Trent Nally threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thompson on a fourth-and-goal situation on the Spoofhounds’ first fourth-quarter possession. McMahon ran in the conversion to stake Maryville to its largest lead of the game, which proved to be shortlived.

California quarterback Jaden Barr ran 58 yards for a touchdown two plays later, pulling the Pintos within 22-13. They then completed a successful onside kick and took over at the Maryville 45 with 7:21 to play.

On the ensuing play, Barr hit Dylan Albertson for a 30-yard gain to move into the Spoofhounds’ red zone. The drive stalled out at the 9, and California’s Aaron Cuevas attempted a 26-yard field goal.

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