Smithville tops SJ Lafayette in MEC showdown

By Kaleb Huffman PrepsKC Staff Writer
Posted: September 16, 2017 - 1:54 AM

Undefeated Midland Empire Conference teams St. Joe Lafayette and Smithville battled for the right to remain perfect on the season, but only one-team would escape Friday evening with that distinction.

Smithville over-powered Lafayette in a 35-0 shutout at Smithville High School keeping their unblemished record in tact.

The Warriors' (5-0, 3-0) came into the game receiving votes in the Missouri Media Rankings Class 4 poll and are sure to receive further consideration. They dominated the Fighting Irish (4-1, 2-1 MEC) after a 58-yard fake-punt from senior quarterback Diego Bernard who also doubled as the Fighting Irish's kicker.

Bernard took off on a fourth-and-20 and glided down the sideline into the Warriors' secondary before making it into the end zone for a short-lived 6-0 Fighting Irish kicker, before a holding call moved the ball back to the Warriors 38-yard line.

The Warriors' defense bowed their neck and kept the Fighting Irish off the board, handing the ball to their offense for an opportunity to make the first-impression.

"I don't think that changed the momentum, it was just a play that got called back," Lafayette coach Bart Hardy said.

 "We just have to go and make plays and see where we are coming out of this."

The Warriors' used some bruising-runs and a big completion from junior quarterback Kellen Simoncic who finished 4-8 for 79 yards and 1 TD, before polishing off the drive with senior running back Hugh Beck's first of two scoring plunges on the evening from 5 yards out for a 6-0 Warriors' lead before senior placekicker Ben Keesee converted the extra-point for a 7-0 Warriors lead with 3;47 left in the first quarter.

The Fighting Irish had a few drives advance into Warriors' territory prior to stalling out the Warriors kept the explosive Bernard contained all-evening. Bernard finished with 73 yards rushing on 16 totes and 9-25 for 94 yards and 1 INT through the air.

Miller punched in his lone-score of the evening capping an eight-play drive before half on an 8-yard run to pay dirt for a 14-0 Warriors' lead at half.

Miller rushed for 159 yards on 26 carries.

"The line played amazing and Hugh (Beck) kept them off-balance with some strong runs," Miller said. "Those guys helped me out, so much tonight. Now, we can move on from this game and play the rest of our schedule."

The Warriors' added three scores in the second-half (Beck, Garrett Thompson and Tyler Chamberlain) and kept the Fighting Irish off the board for a 35-0 MEC victory in a complete-team effort on both sides of the ball

"We played the cards that were dealt us tonight and we got after it," Warriors' coach Jason Ambroson said. "We felt like there were certain things we had to contend with tonight with Bernard. We did a good job controlling the line-of-scrimmage, tonight. We don't have a lot of bells and whistles we have a bunch of kids who work-hard together as a team."

Smithville travels for a 7 p.m. MEC road contest next Friday against Bishop LeBlond in Saint Joseph.

St. Joe Lafayette stays on the road for a 7 p.m. MEC tilt next Friday with Chillicothe.