KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Bryley Ray returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown Saturday morning, and Odessa never looked back during a dominant performance in the Missouri Class 3 state title game at Memorial Stadium in Columbia.
Luke Malizzi rushed for 199 yards in pacing a 505-yard output by the offense, and Cassville never drew closer than two touchdowns after halftime in the Bulldogs’ 49-28 win.
With the victory, Odessa (15-0) completed a perfect season and claimed its first state title since 1994 and second overall as a program.
Ray sprinted 93 yards with the opening kickoff, giving the Bulldogs a 6-0 lead only 12 seconds into the game. He later added an 80-yard touchdown catch and run on the final play of the first quarter.
In between, Josey Meieraren tossed a 5-yard touchdown to Kade Kehl, one of four TD passes on the day for Odessa’s star quarterback.
Meieraren, who finished 19 of 25 for 280 yards, also had the long scoring strike to Ray, a 27-yard touchdown to Brett Duncan in the final minute of the first half and a 6-yard TD to Carter Westerho in the third quarter.
Malizzi, who carried the ball 27 times and also caught four passes for 26 yards, capped the Bulldogs’ beatdown with a 4-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Kehl finished with eight catches for 92 yards in the win.
Odessa’s other touchdown came on a 1-yard run in the second quarter by Ethan Uhrlaub, who also recorded seven tackles on defense.
The Wildcats and Bulldogs, who led 28-7 at the time, traded touchdowns three times the rest of the way, but Odessa never led by fewer than 14 points after Uhrlaub’s score.
Ray also recovered for the Bulldogs’ defense, which was led by Gordon Palmer’s 12 tackles and Blake Heitman’s 10 tackles and two interceptions.