It would be hard to assemble a more balanced attack than Republic displayed Friday night in a 27-6 win over Ozark. Two Tigers rushed for 68 yards each, and a third ran for 65. Riley Sigman, one of those running backs, not only ran for 68 yards, he also caught 76 yards worth of passes. The Tigers took advantage of four Ozark turnovers to celebrate homecoming with a win.
Quarterback Lucas Hayes had his best night of the year. He was 15 of 22 passing for 176 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 65 yards on 13 carries.
“It’s pretty cool. I’m happy for Lucas, the way he’s played the last couple weeks,” says coach Dustin Baldwin. “He’s really come a long way as far as keeping composure and [being] relaxed, and making good decisions.”
Part of Republic’s success started up front with a good night by the offensive line, which protected Hayes in the passing game and opened up holes for the running backs.
“We probably could have thrown a little more than we did, and when we did throw, they protected well. They’re getting better every week,” Baldwin says.
Republic scored first on its second drive of the night. The Tigers took the ball 83 yards on 13 plays. On 4th and goal from the five yard line, Lucas Hayes hit Jaden Duvall for a touchdown, and the extra point made it 7-0.
Republic scored again just before halftime to take a two-possession lead. The Tigers too advantage of a shanked punt and good field position. They drove 44 yards in 11 plays and scored on another fourth-and-goal from the five yard line. Riley Sigman caught a pass from Hayes with :49 left in the half to stretch the lead to 14-0.
In the second half Ozark got its first touchdown on a four-play, 52-yard drive that ended with a 13-yard TD run by Max Schilling. Ozark missed the extra point and the score was 14-6.
Ozark’s defense got a stop on downs and had a chance to tie the game, but Blake Hulland’s second interception of the night shut down the drive. Hulland picked off the ball on the Republic 15-yard line. Republic responded by driving 85 yards in six plays for another touchdown. They scored on a 54-yard pass from Hayes to Sigman. That pushed the lead to 21-6 with 11:51 left in the game.
Republic’s defense forced a three-and-out, and the Tigers got the ball back for a final touchdown. Republic went 11 plays, 73 yards, and scored on Sigman’s third touchdown of the night, a six-yard run. Republic’s point-after was blocked, accounting for the final score of 27-6.
Jacob Coday picked off a pass on Ozark’s last drive, giving Republic four turnovers — three interceptions and one fumble recovery by Isaiah Samudio in the first half. Republic didn’t turn over the ball all night.
Republic had 375 total yards: 207 rushing and 168 passing. Riley Sigman ran 14 times for 68 yards and a touchdown, in addition to four catches for 76 yards and two more touchdowns. Louis Wallace had 22 carries for 68 yards and a single seven-yard reception. Jaden Duvall caught the ball six catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. Cam Flood had three catches for 36 yards. Trent Rackley had a single six-yard reception.