One to go: Blair Oaks set to clash with Lathrop for Class 2 state title

Blair Oaks players celebrate following Saturday's 48-21 semifinal win over Lutheran North. (Rod Smith/KRCG13)

WARDSVILLE --- Blair Oaks busted down a door Saturday they hadn't been able to figure out the last three years.

One quarterfinal loss and two semifinal losses --- but that semifinal win sent the Falcons back to the state championship game for the first time since 2012.

Frustration to elation.

Lathrop busted down a door they hadn't been able to figure out since ... well, forever.

Some Mule players may have had some postseason frustration, but it wasn't these players. It was frustration felt by their grandparents.

It was a semifinal loss that dates back 47 years, a 1971 setback to Tarkio that was the only semifinal appearance in school history for Lathrop prior to this year.

Certainly, there must be elation at this school and town of 2,000 located 38 miles north of Kansas City. It's just a very different kind of elation.

Now, these new kids on the block will take on one of most established programs in Missouri the past 20 years, as Blair Oaks (14-0, ranked No. 1) will collide with Lathrop (14-0, No. 3) for the Class 2 state championship at 3 p.m. Friday at Faurot Field.

Biggest game of the year, obviously, but the approach remains the same.

"It's pretty simple --- 1-0," said Falcons coach LePage, who was doing his sixth interview of the day after Wednesday's practice. "We started the season with Maryville and all we talked about was 1-0 that week; we've never wavered off that, and the players have never wavered off that. We just want to do what it takes to win the next game.

"That's a beautiful thing."

What a beautiful season it's been for the Falcons and their fans, a Green Dream come true.

"It's been great," said senior Nolan Atnip, who's been a stalwart on the defensive line all year and wreaked havoc on Lutheran North in the semifinals. "But we're not done yet, we have another game."

And what a game it should be, as these are two teams who have bludgeoned their way to the title game.

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