After slow start, Carl Junction aims for district championship

The Bulldogs have won 5 of 6 since starting the season 1-4.

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. – The Carl Junction Bulldogs were 1-4 this season through five games.

“We felt like we were a very good 1-4 football team,” says head coach Doug Buckmaster.

“We bounced back very quickly, I feel like,” adds senior QB Alex Baker.

Now, those Bulldogs have won five of six and will play for a district title this Friday.

“It means a lot to us, especially the seniors,” Baker says, “The last time we were able to be in this position was our freshman year.”

CJ beat Hillcrest 43-6 last week in the district semifinals. Quarterback Alex Baker threw five touchdowns to five different receivers.

“Friday, it seemed like everything was working for us,” Baker adds, “We were running the ball well and we were passing the ball well.”

“He’s gotten better each and every week, I believe,” Buckmaster says of his quarterback, “He’s closing in on 3,000 yards passing for the year. He has 27 touchdown passes on the year. He means a lot to us.”

On the other side, junior defensive end Josh Cory finished with four sacks, including three solo sacks.

“It felt good just getting off the ball quick,” Cory say, “We were playing fast and physical, that’s just how we got it done.”

“He’s a very well put together kid,” Buckmaster says of Cory, “He runs very well and has a very good motor on him. He’s one of the keys to us being successful.”

Carl Junction now turns its attention to West Plains, the only team standing between them and their first district championship in 19 years.

“I really feel like there’s probably four teams in the state of Missouri that can win the 4A state championship, and we’re one of them,” Buckmaster says, “We’re playing one of the others this week.”

“Today in weights I was looking up in our gym at like all the district championship things, and the last time we won one was 2001,” Baker says, “I was thinking it would be so cool if we got our own district championship up there. It’s going to mean a lot if we can finish that job.”

“Our kids have been there and done that,” Buckmaster finishes, “We just need to go up there and play our best game. If we can do that, I think our kids will handle themselves well.”