Nixa running back Spencer Ward went over the 200-yard rushing mark for the first time as part of his heroics during the Backyard Brawl last week. But the super sophomore wanted more.
Ward carried the ball 21 times for 218 yards and three touchdowns. He had touchdown runs of 65 and 60 yards in the first half and clinched the Eagles’ win with 32-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter
As the Eagles struggled to break away from Ozark for three quarters, Ward would have liked for his number to be called more often.
“I was a little frustrated because we went pass after pass,” Ward said. “I was dong pretty good in my opinion. They kind of went away from me and we had some three-and-outs.
“We didn’t play to our level. We played to their level,” he added. “The game shouldn’t have been that close.”
Entering Friday's home contest with Webb City, Ward has showed off strength and explosiveness, even while he is gaining experience.
He has made just two starts at running back since Ramone Green went down with a broken collarbone in Week Two.
He has carried the ball 49 times for 500 yards and seven touchdowns the past three weeks.
On both of Ward’s first-half touchdowns against Ozark, he jetted outside after seeing no room to run inside.
“I had to bounce it out because they crashed in,” Ward said. “(Offensive lineman) Sam Brower gave me good hook-blocks to help me get outside and I did my thing.”
Such decision-making is part of Ward’s maturing process into a lightning-bolt of a star.
“That comes with experience,” Ward said. “(A month ago), I probably would have known what I needed to do. But I’m not sure I would have done it. It’s something you read, practice and can see by watching film. I still could have made a couple more reads on a couple runs.”