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Moten, late blocked kick pushes John Burroughs into state title game


John Burroughs running back John Moten had another huge day for the Bombers on Saturday (Nov. 22) as Burroughs knocked off Monett 24-23 in a Class 3 semifinal game at Burl Fowler Stadium in Monett, Mo. It wasn’t just Moten that came up big as the Bombers also got a big hand from the their special teams late to ensure Burroughs got to make the trip to the state title game next weekend.

Nathan Van Slyke blocked an extra point with 1 minute, 16 seconds left after the Cubs threatened to tie it off Zack Hammond’s 2-yard touchdown run.

We always talk every game about trying to get a one big block in special teams off a kick or punt and Nathan Van Slyke came through for us late when they came back at it was huge,” John Burroughs coach John Merritt said.

Burroughs (13-1) moves on to face Oak Grove (12-2) at 1 p.m. Friday (Nov. 28) for the Class 3 championship at the Edward Jones Dome in St.Louis. Monett finished its season at 11-3.

The title game appearance is the fourth in five seasons for the Bombers.

Moten was the driving force for the Bombers as the Northwestern University bound recruit rushed for 207 yards on 32 carries and two scores.

Moten had the big numbers, but the game-winning plays were made by players such as Van Slyke, quarterback Tre Moore, and wide receiver Ronald Smith.

Burroughs went ahead to stay with 7:57 when Moore hooked up with Smith on a 50-yard touchdown pass. The  ensuing two-point conversion run by Moten pushed the Bombers ahead 24-17 as Burroughs took the for good with the fourth and final lead change of a back and forth second half.

“It was raining heavy for a lot of the day and finally in the fourth quarter we were able to get a break in the weather,” Merritt said. “We got a little dry time in the fourth and we felt we could get one up to from Tre to Ronald and they were able to get together and the line did a great job of blocking it up for us.”

Moore finished the day 5 for 11 passing with just 66 yards on a rain-soaked afternoon that made ball-handling and passing a big challenge.

Moten scored on a 40-yard run in the first quarter to stake John Burroughs to a 7-0 lead.

Monett went ahead for the first time at 11-10 on a 1-yard scoring run by Hammond with 1:01 left in the third quarter.

Moten put Burroughs back ahead with his second touchdown on a 23-yard run and Monett quickly answered on a 65-yard Hammond to Levi Pfitzner touchdown bomb and the Cubs were back on top 17-26 with 8:30 left.

On the next series, Smith hauled in the 50-yard TD strike from Moore and Monett marched back down to score on Hammond’s TD run but Van Slyke’s blocked extra-point proved to be the difference for John Burroughs.

“It was great game played by both clubs and we are happy to be going to the Dome, Merritt said. “Now we get ready to face a really good Oak Grove team that beat three-time state champ Maryville, and try to win a state championship,” Merritt said.


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