Camdenton football comes back to shock Kickapoo in Week 2

Things appeared bleak for Camdenton, but it stuck to the Bear necessities.

The Lakers, who stared at an 18-point deficit in the fourth quarter Friday at Kickapoo, never deviated from the arm and legs of their proven quarterback.

Bear Shore trudged through three difficult quarters before his offense flipped the switch,  his four-yard late-game touchdown run capping Camdenton’s 24-21 comeback win over the Chiefs.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior’s numbers weren’t gleaming — he completed 17 of 35 passes for 115 yards and two interceptions and added 78 rushing yards on 27 carries — but his fourth-quarter effort left Kickapoo in a purple haze.

More:Here were southwest Missouri’s top high school football performers of Week 2

Shore often carried multiple Chiefs – the same group of defenders who helped put the Lakers in a 21-3 hole – on inspired runs, moving the chains in a timely fashion.

“We stuck to our game plan. We saw things that were working, went to the quarterback draw a lot, and the line did a great job of going against a really great defensive line,” said Shore, who connected with receiver Kam Durnin 13 times for 100 yards. “Eventually it panned out.”

QB Bear Shore of Camdenton fights for extra yardage against the Kickapoo Chiefs defense on September 2, 2022.

A sizable and athletic Kickapoo defensive line led by Missouri State recruit Andrew Link (three sacks) aided a secondary that allowed Camdenton to reach the red zone just twice before the game-changing final period.

Shore’s 3-yard touchdown run and subsequent two-point conversion cut Kickapoo’s lead to 21-11, and the Lakers’ defense continued to create opportunities.

A once potent Kickapoo offense appeared stuck in cement. When backed up against its own end zone, a botched Chiefs punt attempt led to a fumble recovery touchdown by Camdenton’s Jeshua Balderas, making it a 21-17 ballgame.

More:Southwest Missouri high school football takeaways and scores from Sept. 2

Camdenton’s Kam Durnin hauls in a pass against the Chief’s Samias Pickett at Kickapoo on September 2, 2022.

Camdenton, which handled Rolla 45-0 last week, chanted its defense’s “Purple Haze!”  rally cry from the sidelines as its continued the ride the momentum into game-saving stops.

The Chiefs tried to answer with a game-shelving drive, but were ultimately forced into a fourth-and-one situation on their own 37 with 4:26 on the clock. 

Kickapoo coach Nate Thomas kept his offense on the field, but quarterback Chase Hamme was stuffed on a keeper as he tried get around the edge. The turnover on downs that gave Camdenton nice field position.

Shore, who exceeded 3,000 total yards last season, would reach the end zone again, and Camdenton defensive back Spencer Mellencamp helped ice the game with an interception.

“Our defense did a great job getting us the ball back that whole second half,” said Camdenton coach Jeff Shore, the quarterback’s father. “We just kept firing paintballs, that’s our thing. They believed, stuck together and knew they could make it a game.”

Class 6 Kickapoo (1-1) and Class 5 Camdenton (2-0) each received votes in the latest statewide high school football rankings.

Kickapoo shined early

Kickapoo, which dispatched Hillcrest 49-0 last week with starting quarterback Kylan Mabins, used its backup against Camdenton.

Hamme, a junior, had a game-opening drive that resulted in a 24-yard touchdown pass to Shaun Campbell. Hamme also peeled off a 56-yard touchdown run to give the Chiefs a 14-3 heading into the second quarter.

The Chiefs Paxton Wehner fights for a pass with the Lakers Spencer Mellencamp during the matchup between Kickapoo and Camdenton on September 2, 2022.

Kickapoo’s defense continued to give Camdenton problems, but the Chiefs’ offense cooled off, going scoreless for nearly two quarters.

When running back Jackson Young broke free on a 56-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to give Kickapoo a 21-3 lead, the Chiefs wouldn’t reach the end zone again.

Hamme completed 12 of 19 passes for 119 yards with two interceptions and a touchdown. He finished with 40 rushing yards and a score.

Flashes of Glendale comeback

This isn’t the first time the father-son duo of Jeff and Bear Shore experienced a notable comeback.

The Shores, whose football-rich namesake in Camdenton includes the Lakers’ Bob Shore Stadium, were down 25-9 against Glendale with nine minutes left before escaping with a 26-25 win.

“This was similar to (the Glendale) game,” Bear Shore said. “We were moving the ball, just couldn’t get the ball in the end zone. But we knew we had the capacity to score, and nobody got down.”

Camdenton QB Bear Shore finds the endzone during the Lakers game at Kickapoo on September 2, 2022.

Laker QB legacy 

Camdenton has had a nice string of quarterbacks, but 2020 graduate Paxton DeLaurent is about to represent the Lakers on a grander stage.

DeLaurent, a redshirt sophomore at Southeast Missouri State, will be the Redhawks’ starting quarterback Saturday at Iowa State.

DeLaurent’s first Division I start will be in a Big 12 atmosphere in Ames, Iowa, for a 1 p.m. kickoff. 

The Shores said Friday night they’re considering getting up at dawn on Saturday and making the 348-mile drive north to see DeLaurent live.

“Bear and Paxton communicate all the time. He looks up to him, and they were texting before the game,” Jeff Shore said.

DeLaurent, who initially had Missouri State in his collegiate football plans, played the last two seasons at NAIA Central Methodist. He had over 3,000 total yards and 25 touchdowns in 2021.

He recently dethroned 2021 SEMO starter C.J. Ogbonna in camp. The Redhawks were picked second in the Ohio Valley Conference preseason poll.

“Now he’s a Division I starter, and we’re really excited for him,” Bear Shore said.

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