For the second time this season, Republic quarterback Lucas Hayes broke the school record for total yards in a game. And for the second time this year, it wasn’t quite enough to win. Two missed extra points and 90 yards in penalties cost Republic in a 51-49 loss at Ozark.
Republic racked up 574 total yards. Hayes gashed the Ozark defense for 518 yards unofficially – 303 passing and 204 rushing, plus an 11-yard reception on a pass thrown by wide receiver Claye White. He accounted for seven touchdowns – five rushing and two passing – matching a mark set by Jerney Jones and his seven rushing touchdowns against Glendale in 2015. He now has the two highest total-yardage outputs in school history. The other was earlier this season at Carl Junction –– another close, high-scoring loss.
But as good as the Republic offense was, Republic’s defense didn’t have an answer for the Ozark option attack, either. Ozark tallied seven plays that gained 20 yards or more. None was more indicative of the night than a run on Ozark’s final scoring drive – a short pass by quarterback Chase Strickler to Jake Skaggs with Ozark facing a 2nd and 15 deep in its own territory. Skaggs caught the pass for what looked like a short gain, then cut back across the field as Republic defenders over-pursued and found themselves out of position for a tackle. Skaggs scampered 79 yards to the one-yard line, setting up Ozark’s last score.
“We obviously didn’t play very well defensively and it’s a shame because our offense played pretty good,” said coach Dustin Baldwin. “But it’s a team game, and we’re all in it together. We’ve just got to be better defensively and try to get it fixed.”
Republic scored on its first drive on a 15-yard run by Hayes, then took advantage of an Ozark fumble to score again on a 12-yard run by Hayes with 4:42 left in the first quarter. They missed one of two extra points and led 13-0.
The next possession for Ozark resulted in an Ozark touchdown to make it 13-7.
Republic scored again on a Hayes five-yard run, but missed another extra point and led 19-7 in the second quarter.
Ozark answered with a 40-yard touchdown run by Ethan Pritchard with 10:05 left in the second quarter, cutting the lead to 19-14.
Before halftime, Republic scored again on a 12-play drive that ended with a one-yard run by Hayes, pushing the lead to 26-14. But Ozark answered right back on a 42-yard touchdown pass to Skaggs to make it 26-21.
In the second half, Ozark got the ball first and scored on a Cannon Cox touchdown run, then completed a two-point conversion, taking the lead for the first time at 29-26.
Republic’s next drive stalled out because of a personal foul penalty that pushed them back and forced them to punt. It was one of two dead-ball personal fouls against Republic.
After an Ozark punt, Republic scored with 1:24 remaining on a pass from Hayes to Gavin Walker for a 30-yard touchdown pass. That put Republic back on top 33-29.
Ozark answered with a 33-yard touchdown run by Ethan Pritchard early in the fourth quarter, regaining the lead at 36-33. Republic went three-and-out on its next possession and Ozark scored again on a 31-yard touchdown run by Pritchard. That made the score 43-33.
Republic’s next touchdown, a 19-yard touchdown run by Hayes with 5:52 left, cut it to 43-40. But Ozark immediately scored again with 5:13 left, set up by the 79-yard completion to Skaggs. Ozark missed the extra point, but got another chance because of a Republic penalty. A two-point conversion made the score 51-40.
Republic drove to the 15-yard line of Ozark but failed to convert a 4th-and-two. On its next drive, Ozark took a safety rather than punt. That made the score 51-42.
Republic drove for one more touchdown with 35 seconds left. Hayes threw to Landon Porter for 17 yards and the score was 51-49. But an onside kick attempt went out of bounds and Ozark ran out the clock.
Republic out-gained Ozark 574 yards to 493.
Claye White had four catches for 106 yards. Landon Porter had three catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. Gavin Walker had three catches for 49 yards and a touchdown. Riley Sigman had 141 total yards – 69 yards on the ground and 72 yards in receptions.
Republic falls to 2-4. Ozark is 4-2. Republic hosts Webb City next week.