MOKANE — South Callaway senior running back Hayden Vaught scored two touchdowns and the top-seeded Bulldogs secured the Class 1, District 2 title with a 26-6 victory over the No. 2 Mark Twain Tigers on Friday night.
South Callaway (7-3) secured its second straight district championship in returning to the state playoffs. The Bulldogs will meet the District 1 champion — either Thayer or Hayti — in the Class 1 state quarterfinals next Saturday, Nov. 21.
Mark Twain completed its season with a 5-6 record.
The Tigers opened the game Friday night with a 16-play drive that consumed a little more than 9 minutes and took them inside South Callaway's 10-yard line. However, senior quarterback Evan Torrence fumbled following a 1-yard gain on fourth-and-2 and the Bulldogs recovered the ball at their own 4.
After recovering a fumble by Mark Twain midway through the second quarter, South Callaway responded with a six-play, 37-yard drive to go in front. Junior quarterback Sam Buckner scored on a keeper from 2 yards out and sophomore kicker Caleb Pezold tacked on the extra point to make it 7-0 with 4 minutes, 21 seconds left in the first half.
The Tigers recovered the Bulldogs' ensuing onside kick at the Mark Twain 48 and moved 32 yards in seven plays to the South Callaway 20. The Bulldogs' defense, though, came up with a big stop again when it forced the Tigers to turn the ball over on downs at the South Callaway 18 with 1:09 to play.
The Bulldogs quickly added to their lead on the opening possession of the second half, covering 62 yards in just five plays. Vaught capped off the drive with a 16-yard touchdown run and Pezold's PAT put South Callaway up 14-0 with 9:59 remaining in the third quarter.
After a short punt by Mark Twain from its own end zone, junior running back Trace Helsel scored two plays later on a 12-yard touchdown run to give the Bulldogs a 20-0 edge with 2:13 to go in the quarter. Pezold's extra-point attempt was blocked.
South Callaway then increased its advantage to 26-0 on a 57-yard touchdown burst by Vaught with 6:33 left in the game.
The Bulldogs lost their shutout when Mark Twain junior quarterback Payton Hawkins connected with sophomore running back Lakoda Preston on a 29-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 3:24 to play.
Ryan Boland can be reached at (573) 826-2422, or on Twitter @FultonSunSports.