Lamar, Nevada clash in Silver Tiger rivalry matchup

Oct. 7—It's a classic rivalry that dates back to the ole leather helmet days.

Gosh, it doesn't get much better than the Silver Tiger rivalry. Lamar and Nevada have been playing smashmouth football against each other since 1933.

As if the stakes aren't high enough, the two rivals clash each year for the right to have possession of a trophy named Oscar. Lamar looks to defend that hardware as Nevada comes to town Friday night.

Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Thomas M. O'Sullivan Stadium.

"The Silver Tiger game has been super competitive," said Lamar coach Jared Beshore, whose team's had possession of the trophy since 2005. "Coach (Wes) Beachler has done a fantastic job at Nevada. He's completely revamped their program. They are premier players in the Big 8 West and Class 4. We've had some great battles with them the past two years. This rivalry has been renewed. It's a challenge every single time you see them. I think it's good for both programs. I'm excited to continue the rivalry."

Beachler went further from Nevada's standpoint

"For us, honestly, we try to approach it as another step towards winning a Big 8 West title," Beachler said. "Obviously, there is a lot of hype around this game. You can't steer away from that completely. It's a lot of fun, especially for the people and both communities."

The 2022 Silver Tiger game has a chance to be one for the history books. Both teams come in at 5-1 overall and are state-ranked in Class 4 and Class 2.

Nevada checks in at No. 8 while Lamar was No. 4 in the latest rankings released Monday night, compiled by a 10-member panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.

So yes, the anticipation is mounting for the Silver Tiger rivalry matchup.

"It's always got a good feel," Beshore said. "When both teams are highly successful, it ups the ante. They are playing really well. We are hitting our stride. We both have losses that are extremely close to good football teams. But it's going to be a great midseason matchup. We both know what to expect from each other. We are going to give each other our best shot."

It's a matchup of high-octane offenses. Nevada averages 48 points per game while Lamar scores at nearly a 45 ppg clip.

The two sides have combined to outscore opponents 556-127 this season.

Senior Joel Beshore has proved to be a dynamic dual-threat quarterback for Lamar. He's completed 29 of 35 passes for 539 yards with four touchdowns and ran the ball 83 times for 654 yards with 14 TDs.

Austin Wilkerson has racked up 273 yards on the ground in 26 carries and scored five times. Wilkerson, the reigning Class 2 Defensive Player of the Year, has accumulated 37 tackles and had five tackles for loss.

Wide receiver Ian Ngugi has tallied 14 catches for 239 yards and three TDs. Kiler Nance leads Lamar's defense with 51 stops.

"They're so athletic," Beachler said. "I said this before I even came back to Nevada and when Scott Bailey was there doing great things. It amazes me how athletically gifted they are, how much speed they have and how much size they have on their line for a Class 2 team. I was at Class 2 Houston back in 2004-2005 and we went to back-to-back semifinals. We had a lot of size and speed for a Class 2 team. But nothing like they have year in and year out. They present a lot of challenges with their overall team size and speed."

Nevada senior QB Cade Beshore has completed 22 of 36 passes for 524 yards with eight TDs. Senior rusher Avious Steadman leads the team on the ground with 624 yards in 59 carries for eight TDs.

Senior tight end Drew Beachler has five catches for 200 yards and four TDs through the air.

"Nevada's offense is extremely physical," Beshore said. "Their offensive line plays really, really tough. They get off the football. They are going to run the football. They have multiple explosive backs, some ball carriers that can take it the distance anytime. They've got the Steadman kid, (Case) Sanderson kid, (Jordan) Johnson kid and Beshore kid at quarterback. All four of them can tote the rock. That poses a lot of threats. They've had a lot of success offensively. We are going to do our best to limit those guys, get off the football and match their physicality."

Fresh off a state runner-up finish in 2021, Lamar dispatched Marshfield 48-0, Rogersville 28-0 and Monett 49-0 to open the season. However, the Tigers suffered a 36-33 setback to Seneca in Week 4, ending their 17-game regular season win streak.

Their previous regular-season loss was to McDonald County 42-41 on Sept. 11, 2020. That year, Lamar went on to win 10 straight contests en route to its eight state title since 2011.

Since the Seneca loss, Lamar has toppled East Newton 56-6 and McDonald County 54-14. Beshore said his team's biggest strength is their work ethic.

"We're not the biggest, we're not the strongest, we're not the fastest," Beshore said. "We've had teams stronger in those areas, but man, they work their tails off. It's going to be tough to out-effort us. If we continue to work as hard as our kids have worked, progress and get better each day in practice and show up on Friday night and play our tails off, we are a tough team to beat."

Nevada, which went winless in 2019, played for a district championship last season. The Tigers opened this year with victories by scores of 62-7 over Springfield Catholic, 34-7 over Reeds Spring and 68-0 over East Newton.

Nevada's lone loss came to McDonald County in a 27-26 decision in Week 4. The Tigers bounced back with a 36-23 win over Mount Vernon and 62-7 triumph over Cassville last week.

"I think our offensive line is playing well this year," Beachler said. "That has benefited us greatly. We have three running backs that are really explosive. On defense, our D-line is solid. Obviously, Case Sanderson is a returning all-state defensive end. He is a high-level player. Our linebacker core is undersized, but they get to the ball quick and read fast. They are pretty physical."

Lamar is 4-0 since the Silver Tiger rivalry was reignited in 2018 after a 13-year hiatus. Expect a big crowd Friday night.

"It will be a great atmosphere for high school football," Beachler said.