The football history at MICDS includes seven state championships.
The Rams have an opportunity to add No. 8.
MICDS (13-1) will play undefeated Ladue (14-0) in a battle of the Rams at 7 p.m. Friday (Nov. 30) at Faurot Field in Columbia. it is MICDS’ first trip to the state championship game since 2011 when Webb City topped MICDS.
In that 2011 season, MICDS defeated Ladue 31-21 in a sectional game.
“Our team is excited to have earned the opportunity to play in the championship game, but they are focused on what is most important,” MICDS coach Matt Buha said.
MICDS earned a 20-14 win over Smithville in a semifinal last Saturday at Ron Holtman Stadium.
Ladue scored a 17-13 victory over the defending state champion Webb City Cardinals in its semifinal last Saturday. The win erased the 14-0 loss to Webb City last November in the state championship game. So Ladue has a second straight chance to win its first state title.
Buha liked how his team played in the 20-14 win over Smithville.
“Our defense continues to play outstanding football,” Buha said. “I am so proud of our defensive staff, and everyone that contributes on that side of the ball. They have been spectacular all season long.”
Senior Graham Bundy Jr. scored the go-ahead touchdown with 2:50 left in the third quarter. He had an 83-yard touchdown run on a screen pass from freshman quarterback Reagan Andrew. Kyle Brandtjen added the extra points.
Bundy also kicked two 42-yard field goals. Bundy scored the game’s first touchdown on a 24-yard pass from Andrew. Bundy added the extra point.
Senior defensive back Matt Purdy intercepted a pass at his own 5-yard line late in the game to preserve the MICDS victory.
Mainly, it was a defensive battle, Buha said.
“It was a solid back and forth game in the 2nd half that was dominated by each team’s defense,” Buha said. “They had great field position to start their final drive, but our defense came up big as they always do with Purdy’s interception with just over a minute to play.”
The squad showed how resilient it can be in a big game, Buha said.
“We have an incredibly tough group of young men, and their mental approach to the game is unmatched,” Buha said. “Our kids were excited (to win). It’s a great accomplishment and I’m proud of them.”
In Ladue, MICDS will meet a team that has beaten it in 2016 and 2017 postseason encounters. Bundy and Purdy both played for MICDS in the 2016 loss.
Several seniors on this year’s team played in last year’s contest.
Buha knows the Rams will face a determined team in the championship game.
“Ladue is a very big and physical team that has talent from top to bottom,” Buha said. “They are coached well, and they play at another level with regard to speed.”
While the opportunity to play for a state title is something special, Buha noted his team is taking a business-like approach to its last game.
“Our kids have been treating this week just as they have each of the 14 prior,” Buha said. “I continue to be impressed with their approach each day.”
Rams senior Tyler Purdy runs with the football during last weeks’ win over Smithville.
(Photo by Tracy Speller)
“I am very fortunate to be a part of a school with such a rich football tradition,” Buha said. “It is something that our kids truly value.”
Playing in a big college football stadium will be exciting for his team. Buha expects any butterflies to evaporate quickly.
“I expect that our kids will have some pre-game jitters,” Buha said. “But they will be prepared and ready to go when the game kicks off.”