Glendale’s perfect regular season on the gridiron illustrates just how much a team can take on the personality of its coach.
Glendale beat Camdenton 63-35 at Lowe Stadium on Friday night to finish the regular season 9-0, win the Ozark Conference championship and secure a No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the district playoffs. The Falcons were mostly stoic after the game, short of a few smiles or high fives.
Senior wide receiver Luke Montgomery had eight receptions for 140 yards and three touchdowns, and managed a slight grin.
“We’ve got more to accomplish and higher goals to achieve, so it’s just a step in the right direction,” Montgomery said.
Two seasons ago, the Falcons went 2-8. It was coach Mike Mauk’s first season at Glendale. The Falcons were 5-6 last season. The jump to 9-0 is a near total turnaround.
“It’s through all the work we’ve put in through the years with Coach Mauk, just trusting the process, and it’s a really good feeling to finally go undefeated and win the conference,” Montgomery said.
With a reminder of the playoffs coming up, Mauk showed his usual calm postgame demeanor. He credited the senior players for sticking through the tough seasons.
“It’s really hard to believe in somebody telling you something that you are capable of accomplishing that they as a group had never been a part of it,” Mauk said. “They were resilient, they didn’t give up and right now they’re not only being great players, but they’re being great leaders as well.”
Glendale quarterback Alex Huston went 34-of-46 passing for 486 yards, seven touchdown passes, an interception and a rushing touchdown. His season totals jump to 4,492 passing yards and 56 touchdown passes.
The win marks the fourth time a football team from Glendale has won nine games in a season since the school opened in 1963. Glendale’s last nine-win season was in 1996. What’s more, no Glendale team has ever won 10 games in one season.
Camdenton (6-3) tried to slow Glendale’s passing attack with methodical drives full of running plays. It worked initially, as the Lakers drove 68 yards in 17 plays and chewed up the first 8:41 of the game. Camdenton running back Jay Griffin finished the night with 22 carries, 90 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Dyllan Decker finished the game with 210 passing yards and a touchdown, a 55-yard bomb to Parker Stidham.
Glendale built a lead with points off of turnovers, particularly a 99-yard interception return by cornerback Datryell Nash in the second quarter. It forced Camdenton coach Jeff Shore to scrap the plan to play deliberate offense.
“It’s hard to come from behind with these guys. They force you to play their game if they get ahead, and it’s kind of like a fast break basketball team. You want to try to slow it down, but then you’re behind, so you want to catch up.”
The Lakers’ defense also proved interesting. In what can best be described as a 0-11-0, Camdenton’s defenders often lined up together five yards from the line of scrimmage. They would then run forward or backward in different combinations at the snap of the ball.
“They came out there and we had never seen that before, but our offensive coordinator (Ben Mauk) knew what to do and we just ran our offense,” Montgomery said. “We adjusted a little bit since it’s such a weird formation.”
Glendale caught a break when a snap sailed over punter Alex Locke’s head in the fourth quarter. The soccer player and golf state champion chased the ball into the end zone, picked it up, eluded a defender and heaved the ball to Nick Austin. Austin then ran upfield and picked up the first down by a yard.
“(Locke) is a very athletic kid. He’s a soccer player and spends a lot of time working with us.”
The Falcons scored three plays later on a 45-yard touchdown pass from Huston to Max Nichols.
Glendale holds a first-round bye following its defeat of Camdenton in the News-Leader Game of the Week presented by Murney Associates, Realtors. The Falcons will host the winner of Branson (2-7) and Waynesville (0-9) on Oct. 28. Camdenton hosts Marshfield Oct. 21 in the Class 4 playoffs
Glendale 63, Camdenton 35
At Lowe Stadium, Glendale
Camdenton—Jay Griffin 3-yard run (Bryce Metcalf kick)
Glendale—Luke Montgomery 64-yard pass from Alex Huston (Alex Locke kick)
Glendale—Datryell Nash 99-yard interception return (Locke kick)
Camdenton—Parker Stidham 55-yard pass from Dyllan Decker (Metcalf kick)
Glendale—Huston 5-yard run (Locke kick)
Glendale—Montgomery 6-yard pass from Huston(Locke kick)
Glendale—Nader Leali 18-yard pass from Huston (Locke kick)
Camdenton—Griffin 1-yard run (Metcalf kick)
Glendale—Montgomery 8-yard pass from Huston (Locke kick)
Camdenton—Todd Simpson 1-yard run (Metcalf kick)
Camdenton—Decker 2-yard run (Metcalf kick)
Glendale—Jeremy Almeida 1-yard pass from Huston (Locke kick)
Glendale—Max Nichols 45-yard pass from Huston (Locke kick)
Glendale—Corbin Lukes 42-yard pass from Huston (Locke kick)