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Lepant's record-breaking goal highlights Ozark's 5-1 victory in regular-season finale


With Districts starting next week, the timing of Caleb Lepant’s record-breaking goal Thursday couldn’t have been better.

Admittedly anxious to net his single-season school record 34th goal, Lepant took care of it in Ozark’s regular-season finale, a 5-1 victory versus Sedalia Smith-Cotton.

Lepant started the Ozark scoring with a penalty kick, after Smith-Cottom had gained a 1-0 lead. 

"I had a little bit of the ‘yips’ to start the game,” Lepant said. “I couldn't get the goals in I needed. I missed some shots I usually don't miss. I was frustrated. The record was on my mind and some opportunities I usually put away I didn’t."

Lepant did a re-set in his mind upon getting himself prepared for his penalty kick.

“I cleared my mind and put it away,” the senior midfielder/forward said. 

Smith-Cotton’s ‘keeper guessed right that Lepant would kick to the right side of the goal. But Lepant still got the ball by him. 

“He had a good read on it and went the right way,” Lepant said. “I put it on the floor and he jumped over it.

“It's big to have (the record),” he added. “Now it's over with going into Districts. Moving forward, it’s team first.”

Lepant entered the match tied at 33 goals atop Ozark’s records board with 2023 Ozark grad Adrian Ortega, who was in attendance Thursday.

Lepant set up Ortega repeatedly last season, while posting 16 assists. This season, he has more than tripled his nine goals from last season.

“Caleb has been phenomenal, super consistent,” coach Zack Owens said “He’s a pure finisher. Those don't come along all the time. He's not finished, either. He's got more to do.”

“It makes me feel good he's able to hold that record and I was able to be there with him,” midfielder/forward Phin Scott said.

Lepant is grateful injuries never got in the way of his record chase.

“The most I've had is some soreness,” he said. “I’ve been healthy. Everything has been good. I've done a good job recovering my body, after all the minutes I've played.”

Ozark (21-2-2) ran its winning streak to seven matches by reeling off five unanswered goals. 

Scott recorded a pair of goals, while Alex Wiliams and August McComas both contributed one score.

Ozark hasn’t lost since Sept. 16 versus Chaminade. Owens’ bunch is 14-0-2 since its 7-2 start.

Next up, Ozark will serve as the Class 4 District 5 host. The Tigers’ first-round match will be at 1 p.m. Monday versus Lebanon (5-19).