The last time the Warriors lost a game was in last year’s playoffs, and it stung.
In the parking lot after that game, the team committed to themselves and to head coach Jason Ambroson that this year would be the year the Warriors brought the title home to Smithville.
They carried the bitter taste of that defeat through an undefeated regular season, a season that saw them consistently ranked #1. The sting of last year’s playoff loss helped them focus going into this year’s championship run and avoid the curse of overconfidence.
Friday’s final showdown pitted the Warriors against the Hannibal Pirates who were sporting their own undefeated record coming into the game along with an offense that was steamrolling their way to almost 50 points per game.
They did not score 50 points against the Warriors.
They didn’t score ANY points against the Warriors.
The Smithville Warriors defense. Shut. Them. Down.
Smithville’s Ryan Weers set the tone early with an interception on Hannibal’s very first possession. After the turnover, on the Warrior’s second offensive play from scrimmage, Smithville quarterback Andrew Hedgecorth connects with Rhett Foster for a 54-yard touchdown pass. And the Warriors never looked back. Hedgecorth connected with a leaping Keltin Nitsch on a second touchdown pass to put the Warriors up 14-0 and after Nitsch added an interception that kept Hannibal off the board, that’s how they went to the locker rooms at halftime.
The Smithville defense manhandled the explosive Hannibal offense and completely remove the passing option from their arsenal.
William Talley and Cody Simoncic led the Warriors with 15 and 11 tackles, respectively. Simoncic was earlier named as the best lineman/linebacker among the smaller Kansas City area schools and his talents were on full display Friday as he added a touchdown and an interception in the second half. A Preston Rash touchdown and a 24-year field goal from Noah Schuetz pushed the final to 31-0
Smithville racked up close to 400 yards of total offense en route to their first state championship.
“It feels really good,” Hedgecorth told the Courier-Tribune. “Just to know that everything that you have done has worked and all the work that you put in has paid off.”
The Warriors claimed the title in front of a virtual sea of green – students, parents, and supporters who made the trip to Columbia.
Smithville High School Football 2021 Missouri State Champions t-shirts and other gear is available from the Smithville Warrior Football Club at https://smithvillestatechamps21.itemorder.com/sale.
Notes from the Smithville Warrior Football Club on the order site read: A portion of your purchase supports The Smithville Warrior Football Club. Thank you for your support of our State Champion Warriors!
We will make every effort to complete your order as timely as possible; however, due to ongoing supply chain disruptions we cannot guarantee completion or delivery by Christmas. Free pick-up is offered at all buildings in the Smithville School District or orders may be shipped nationwide via US Priority Mail.
Gary Crossley Ford salutes the team on their efforts and the efforts of everyone behind the scenes and in the stands who made this incredible championship run possible.