With one week to go in the regular season, high school football districts are taking shape in southwest Missouri, and the Marionville Comets and Aurora Houn' Dawgs will each be looking for a win in week nine to get the best possible seeding ahead of the playoffs.
On the penultimate game day, the Comets were victorious in a shutout road win over Ash Grove, while Aurora's struggles continued in the Houn' Dawgs' fourth straight loss.
The Comets scored five touchdowns in a 41-0 beatdown over the Pirates, including two rush TDs each by Alex Gracia and Jeremy Vickers. Jacksen Smith also recorded a rushing touchdown in the Comets' win.
Vickers and Gracia each recorded more than 100 yards rushing on double-digit carries -- 114 by Vickers on 18 and 106 by Gracia on 12.
In the Comets' little-used pass game, Gracia and Wyatt Kuhs each completed two of three passes, for 19 and 30 yards, respectively. Kuhs also ran for 46 yards on five carries.
Defensively, Evan Dotson led the way with seven total tackles, all solos and three for losses. James Tucker added six, while Kyle Brattin and Vickers each added five. Tucker recorded the team's only sack of the night, while Brattin contributed an interception.
The Comets (4-4) will look to finish the regular season with a winning record and will have to beat 6-2 Miller on the road to do so.
In their final away game of the regular season, the Houn' Dawgs fell 41-18 at Marshfield, a new opponent in the Big 8 East conference.
Jay Lee and Casey Weathermon connected for a pair of touchdowns, while Lee ran one in for Aurora in the loss.
Lee finished the game 9-23 for 215 yards in the air, adding 70 yards on 12 carries. Weathermon caught five passes for 189 yards.
On the defensive side, Colson Husmann led the tackling effort with 15 total tackles, followed by Dylan Clayton and Kaden Clark with 14 each, Peyton Weathermon with 13, Ian Jackson with 12 and Clayton Cordova with 11.
The Aurora defense recorded three interceptions -- one each by P. Weathermon, Kohl Rohlman and Dalton Thornton. Noah Barnum chipped in with one sack for the Houn' Dawgs.
The 2-6 Dawgs, currently sitting at number six in the district standings out of eight teams, will host Reeds Spring (5-3) for the final game of the regular season on Friday.