KENNETT -- The New Madrid County Central Eagles came one step closer to clinching their seventh consecutive district title Friday by outslugging the Kennett Indians 65-34.
The win marks five consecutive SEMO Central Conference title for the Eagles, who also set a school record for points in a game.
NMCC got great performances from quarterback Brian Murph as well as tailback Dereke Tipler.
Tipler scored on runs of 20, 2, 30, 15, and 28 yards and also caught the only pass from Murph, taking it 43 yards for paydirt. Murph added TD runs of 15 and 48 yards.
"Dereke (Tipler) and Brian (Murph) both had a great game for us, but overall it was just a good ball game for us to win," said NMCC head coach Steve Rogers.
The tandem accounted for eight of the Eagles' 10 touchdowns and totaled 325 of the Eagles' 381 rushing yards.
Overshadowed in the blowout loss, Kennett quarterback Nathan Baker had a career night, throwing for 355 yards on 14-of-31 passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Kennett got the scoring started on their third play from scrimmage.
Baker found a streaking Matt Thomas over the middle and Thomas outran the Eagle secondary 80 yards for the six. Billy Palmer would add the PAT to give the Indians an early 7-0 lead.
"They came out and did some things that we weren't quite ready for," said Rogers. "Baker is a good quarterback, (Dustin) Pritchett is a good receiver, and (Tyree) Goolsby is a good running back. They have good skill people."
The Indians then attempted an onside kick, but the kicker barely made contact with the ball, falling just inches from the tee. So with the botched kick the Eagles started their first offensive drive from the Kennett 40-yard line.
The Eagles, however, were unable to capitalize on the good starting field position as Murph fumbled the ball at about his own 30-yard line to give the ball back to the Indians with 7:44 left in the first quarter.
The NMCC defense would hold their ground and force the Indians to turn the ball over on downs at their own 38-yard line.
After two runs totaling 18 yards, Tipler would then punch the ball in from 20 yards out for his first score of the night.
Trailing by one, the Eagle defense again stopped the next Indian drive, forcing them to punt from deep in their own territory.
Usually a sure-handed punt returner, Tipler fielded the ball at his own 30-yard line.
He returned it deep into Indian territory, but with two men to beat, Tipler was stripped from behind by senior George Mitchell. Mitchell recovered the ball and gave the Indians new life at their own 12-yard line.
The Eagle defense would again hold strong, forcing another Indian punt. With 4:10 left in the first quarter, the Eagles drove the ball 37 yards, capped by a 2-yard TD from Tipler.
"They are tough, we couldn't stop Tipler all night," said Kennett head coach Roland Johnson. "He was just too tough for us. We never got a break and just were unable to stop their offense tonight."
Kennett let the clock run out after two offensive plays ending the first quarter with the Eagles leading 12-7.
On the second Indian play in the second quarter, sophomore Vaughn Shephard picked off Baker's pass and returned it 25 yards, again giving the Eagles the ball inside the Kennett 20-yard line.
This time the Eagles would take advantage of the good field position. Starting at the Indian 15, Murph kept the option and ran it in for the six.
Jake Kimball would add the PAT to give the eagles the 19-7 advantage.
On the ensuing drive, Baker would again take to the air, this time finding Dustin Pritchett for a 58 yard TD strike. The Palmer kick would give Kennett 14, putting them only five behind New Madrid.
Unfortunately for the Indians they would never come closer to the lead as the Eagles would score seven more times in the second and third quarters, while Kennett was only able to muster three.
In addition to Tipler and Murph, NMCC saw scores from Desmond Sims and Rodney Daniels.
While Baker found success in the air, Goolsby and the rest of the Indian backfield were only able to gain 13 yards on 27 carries.
Kennett's two leading receivers were Pritchett who checked in with 135 yards, and Thomas who finished with 215 yards.
"The thing of it is we put pressure on Goolsby and shut down the running game, we forced them to be one dimensional," said Rogers. "We are fortunate to win, but it's not often you can give up 34 points and still win a ballgame.
"We have a tough ballgame on the road next week, and when you take in the cold weather and the elements anything can be tough, but hopefully we can handle the adversity a little better than we have in the past," said Rogers. "(Fredericktown) head coach (Kent) Gibbs and his staff do a good job up there and we are expecting a good hard-nosed football game."
NMCC will travel to Fredericktown Friday to take on the Blackcats at 7:30, while Kennett will be at home against the Dexter Bearcats.