The Lutheran North Crusaders have been rolling right along this season. Last Friday, the Crusaders took down the Caruthersville Tigers, 64-7 at their own house, three hours away from St. Louis. Caruthersville finished their season 9-3. North is now 12-0, and will play in the Class 2 semifinals for the second time in the last five years. But their opponent in the semis is no cakewalk. It is the Lamar Tigers, who have won every Class 2 football state championship since the 2011 season, including a 26-18 victory over the Trinity Titans in the state championship game last year. Lamar is also 12-0 this season, with their most recent victory coming last Saturday, a 28-22 win over the Ava Bars on the road.
Despite being over four and a half hours away from each other, these two schools are not unfamiliar opponents. Back in 2013, Lutheran North started their season 0-4, before winning nine in a row and making a run to the state semifinals, setting up a game against 12-1 Lamar. It was a home game for North, but that would be no factor. Lamar was up 8-0 at the end of the first quarter, but then exploded and outscored North 35-0 in the second quarter, before ultimately winning the game by a whopping score of 70-7. The Tigers then went on to beat the Lawson Cardinals 42-0 in the state championship game, claiming their third straight state championship at the time.
We should be in store for a much better showdown this second time around, as both teams possess incredibly talented squads, which are more evenly matched here in 2017. North has several Division I recruits, including Ronnie Perkins (among many others), an Army All-American who recently committed to the University of Oklahoma. Lamar, led by head coach Scott Bailey, is a consistent, disciplined and well coached team, full of strong and capable players. Lamar has been playing at a high level for over half a decade now, and Lutheran North has arguably the most talented roster the school has ever fielded in its 53 years of existence. This one could come down to the final whistle.
Here’s how the two teams stack up on paper:
Both teams are incredibly identical on paper when it comes to statistics. Each team also has several admirable victories this season, with a few highlighted by the graphic below:
Lamar is also bringing an impressive streak heading into Saturday, The Tigers have won 46 straight games, and are aiming to make it 47 on Saturday to cement their seventh straight appearance in the Class 2 State Championship game. They have not lost since October 17, 2014 when the Carl Junction Bulldogs eked out a 29-28 win over Lamar. The Lamar Tigers have only suffered five total losses since the start of the 2011 season, when they started their reign of six consecutive state championships.
Since Lutheran North is on the top of the Class 2 bracket, they will get the home game, as this year the teams at the top get the home game. The game will take place this Saturday, November 18th, at LaMothe Memorial Field at Lutheran High School North, with kickoff at 1:00pm. The winner advances to the Class 2 State Championship game. That game will take place at the University of Missouri at Faurot Field, Friday, November 24th at 3:00pm. It’s going to be another fun one. Tune in.