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Tolton faces elimination against top-seeded Blair Oaks

Thursday, October 31, 2013 | 12:00 p.m. CDT
Tolton's Clay Harrison runs with the ball during Harrisburg's Homecoming football game on Oct. 4. Tolton won the game 41-0.

COLUMBIA — Fr. Tolton Regional Catholic High School will undergo its toughest test of the season Halloween night — an opening round Missouri State High School Activities Association playoff matchup against No. 1 seed Blair Oaks (8-1).

The Falcons are undefeated since a Week 1 loss to Moberly and have been averaging 46 points per game. Meanwhile, Tolton has only scored 7 points total in the last two weeks between losses to South Callaway and Sacred Heart.

But the Trailblazers are surprisingly happy with their current position.

"We've got nothing to lose," quarterback Christian Elliott said. "Honestly, I'd rather be in the position we're in. We're the underdogs. They're the ones that have to worry. We're just going to go out there and play our game."

Tolton coach Chad Masters said the consequences of the single-elimination tournament haven't fazed the team.

"They've got confidence," Masters said. "They know a lot of the things we've gone through, and the mistakes we've made are things we can control. We've been playing great football all year even if the record doesn't show that."

Masters said the one thing Tolton needs to beat Blair Oaks is ball control. Tolton has thrown 14 interceptions and lost nine fumbles on the season, including five turnovers against Sacred Heart on Saturday.

"We can't turn the ball over," Masters said. "That's been our Achilles' heel quite a bit  this year."

Masters compared Blair Oaks to South Callaway, the team that broke Tolton's winning streak on Senior Night 48-0.

"They're both very physical. Both play very fast, and they don't make a lot of mistakes," Masters said.

But unlike South Callaway, the Falcons have a small offensive line compared to Tolton's defensive front. Defensive back Caleb Lucero said the defense can take advantage of the size difference to stop the run.

"They're not as big as we might expect," Lucero said. "They've got speed, that's not deniable, but we can probably exploit that because we've got a bigger line."


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