The Sacred Heart football Gremlins played the defending 8-man state champion Bulldogs in the Final Four bracket of the MSHSAA state championship Friday night at Tiger Stadium in Sedalia, and ended their season with an 80-40 loss.

The Bulldogs led 8-6 at the end of the first quarter, and maintained their lead throughout the game, leading 48-20 at halftime. By the end of the third, the Bulldogs were up 72-40, and the final tally at the end was 80-40, Bulldogs.

After winning their first-ever Conference title in Class 1, District 4 action in mid-October, the Gremlins went on to play Norborne with Hardin-Central, 67-0 and then played Greenfield and beat them by two points, 40-38 (Northwest, which had beaten Chilhowee with Leeton, forfeited to Greenwood so Greenwood advanced), Sacred Heart earned the chance to play the Stanberry Bulldogs, who had played in the state title game four times in a row.

But it wasn't in the cards for the Gremlins, who fell behind early in the game and never recovered against the speedy Bulldogs, who advance to play at Faurot Field Nov. 18 in Columbia against North Andrew for the 8-main state championship.

Sacred Heart finished their season 9-4, a record for the nine-year-old football program, under the direction of head coach Ben Lyles.

In the lead photo: Sacred Heart quarterback Trent Lyles tries to pull away from an aggressive Bulldog Friday night at Tiger Stadium. The Gremlins lost to Stanberry, 80-40 in Final Four action, promptly ending the Grems' most successful season ever.