The Steelville Cardinals football team hosted their conference rivals, the Blue Eye Bulldogs from Blue Eye, AR, in a game that would determine this season’s conference championship. The Cardinals came into the game with a perfect 4-0 conference record, while the Bulldogs entered the game at 3-1 in the conference – their only loss coming at the hands of the Steelville squad earlier in the season.
The game started off well for the Cardinals, with the team marching down the field using both the run and the pass, and the game’s first touchdown was scored by junior tailback Ben Toddy on a 7-yard rush into the end-zone. The ensuing kick-conversion by Dakota Chapman was good, and the Cardinals led 7-0.
The resilient Blue Eye squad countered later with a drive of their own, going up 7-8 as a result of a rushing touchdown and successful 2-point try.
It was then that the Cardinal defense took control of the 1st half, shutting down the Bulldog offense and not allowing them to score. In the meantime, the Steelville offense came to life, scoring two touchdowns – one via a 40-yard pass from junior quarterback Caleb Bowens to sophomore receiver Dakota Chapman, and another via a rush by Ben Toddy. Score at halftime was 21-8 for Steelville.
In the second half, the Bulldogs showed their mettle by scoring quickly in the third quarter to close the gap to 21-16. The Cardinals responded with a rushing touchdown of their own, making the score 27-16. However, the strong Cardinal offense was unable to score further, and the Bulldogs closed to within 3 points with another rushing touchdown and successful 2-point conversion.
In the last two minutes of the game, the Cardinal defense came through, stopping what could have been a winning drive for Blue Eye at midfield on a 4th down with 6 yards to go. The Steelville offense took over, and launched a successful drive into the Bulldog defense, and when the victory was assured, they lined up in victory formation and took both the win and the Missouri-Arkansas Private Championship for Steelville. Final score was Steelville 27 – Blue Eye 24.
Leading the offense in rushing with 114 yards was Ben Toddy, while sophomore fullback Levi Beel had a break-out game, rushing for 101 yards on only 6 carries. Caleb Bowens had a season high 108 yards passing, including a touchdown pass to Dakota Chapman. Other receivers collecting pass yardage where senior Kwatin Brown, sophomore Aaron Mason, and Levi Beel.
The Cardinals will travel to Joplin next weekend, where they will take on the perennial Oklahoma powerhouse Windsor Hills, a team that consistently goes deep into the OK state playoffs. In the following week, Steelville will host the Missouri-Arkansas Privateer Conference All-Star game at City Park.