The Boonville Pirates football team gave it their all Friday night in the semifinal round of the Class 3 District 7 playoffs in Odessa.
But in the end, the top-seeded Bulldogs were just better in every phase of the game while leading the fourth-seeded Pirates from start to finish for a 55-7 victory.
While the Pirates closed out the season at 7-4 overall, head coach Greg Hough said Odessa is obviously good for a reason and returned a lot of talent from last year.
“They were a team that got beat by Maryville last year deep in the playoffs,” Hough said. “Like I said when you return that much talent and you have a coaching staff like they have in coach Thomas-who has obviously been successful-it’s a tough go. We had some things early but when you play teams like this, you have to capitalize. At the end of the day our kids still battled, it was just too big of a matchup for us tonight.”
Odessa, 11-0 on the season, will play Kansas City Center for the title next Friday in Odessa. Center, the No. 2 seed, edged third-seeded Southern Boone in a nailbiter 33-32.
Despite the loss, Boonville recorded back to back winning seasons for the first time since 2011 and 2012-when they were 10-2 and 6-5, respectively.
Boonville senior linebacker Josh Polk, a three-year starter for the Pirates, said Odessa was a tough team. “They were very fundamentally sound,” Polk said. “We knew what they were going to do and we prepped for it this week, but really you can’t prep for that much physicality. They were well coached and they do a lot of things great and tonight was just something bigger than football.”
With a 42-0 lead at the half, the Bulldogs came out to start the second half with a running clock but still tacked on two more scores in the third quarter to go up 55-0.
Boonville scored its only touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter after an interception by senior Russell Potter at the Odessa 11 with 8:52 left. Two plays later after moving the ball to the 8 yard line, senior running back Avian Thomas found the end zone to make it 55-7.
The Pirates punted the ball a total of eight times in the game for an average of 28.1 yards per punt. Odessa punted just once for a 60 yard average.
The Bulldogs also dominated in first downs 13-5, rushing 314-60 and passing 114-37. Odessa finished with 428 total yards while holding Boonville to just 97 yards.
The Pirates also had a hard time stopping the Bulldogs run game. While giving up close to 1,200 yards on the ground in the last five games, Boonville struggled again to stop the run in the first half by giving up five rushing touchdowns and one through the air.
Odessa scored on runs of 25, 39, 5, 3 and 34 yards in the first half. The final touchdown of the half came on a 13-yard pass to make it 42-0.
Hough said field position was definitely the struggle in the first half. “We had some stuff and would get going and then we put the ball on the turf and had bad snaps,” Hough said. “Honestly, it’s just kind of full circle for our whole season. Those are the things that have killed us in pretty much every game and when you play teams like Odessa, they really make it hurt you. Credit to Odessa, they are a really good team.”
Hough said at halftime the coaches and players really didn’t talk about Xs and Os.
“We knew the second half was going to go fast with the clock,” Hough said. “We just talked about how we wanted to finish.”
Odessa senior running back Luke Malizzi had a big night for the Bulldogs with 20 carries for 190 yards and two touchdowns. Senior quarterback Josey Meierarend completed 5 of 10 passes for 114 yards and one touchdown while senior tight end Eliyh D’Obron hauled in three passes for 83 yards. Senior Kade Kehl had two catches for 32 yards and one score.
For Boonville, Thomas finished the game with 14 carries for 57 yards and one touchdown. Thomas also had one catch for 24 yards. Senior Nick Ferrari, meanwhile, completed 4 of 12 passes for 37 yards. Tramell Coleman added five carries for 10 yards and one catch for 4 yards.
On defense, Harper Stock finished the game with 11 total tackles. Tramell Coleman had a total of 10 tackles, followed by Josh Polk and Lane West each with six tackles and one tackle for loss, Peyton Keeran and Nathan Platt with three tackles each, Russell Potter with one tackle and one interception and Charlie Bronakowski, DJ Wesolak, DaWan Lomax, Greyson Mesik, Alan McCarter and Brady Stock with one tackle apiece.
With a three-year career as a starter for the Pirates, Polk said it’s been a great ride. “I have cherished every moment I’ve had playing for this team,” Polk said. “I think have put together a pretty good career and it’s all been through effort and teammates helping me get better every day. It’s hitting home right now. I have played this game since first grade. Just knowing that I might not every strap it back up and play again is sad. It’s real tough.”