Sideline Pass: Jim Bradford 11/28
By Jim Bradford PrepsKC Senior Writer
A classic game to remember will be too soon forgotten, I’m afraid.
If it’s possible, the game that everyone was waiting for all season long matched or even surpassed all the hype.
And with Shawnee Mission East knee deep in preparations for this Saturday’s Kansas Class 6A state title game and with Olathe North’s loss still too fresh in their minds, it’s tough for the two teams involved to really sit back and realize what a classic they were in the midst of last Friday night.
The last two teams on the east side of the state were the best two teams in Class 6A all year. They were undefeated and had been steamrolling their opponents. And maybe the most important splash of tonic in this state semifinal cocktail was a little thing called unfinished business.
North lost to East in the same game a year earlier. This was the game to help erase that memory. East lost in the state title game last year. If they had a chance to right that wrong, they would need to get through the Eagles.
Yep, last Friday’s game had it all.
And it didn’t disappoint. At all.
East was in control in the first 24 minutes. They squandered a couple of chances, but held on to a 7-0 halftime lead.
At ties, North looked a bit overmatched. It looked like it wasn’t going to be much of a game at all in the second half, but it was.
Buoyed by their stellar defense, the Eagles tied the game on an 81-yard interception return for a score and then blocked a Lancer punt on the next possession. Three plays later they were up 14-7. That would be the second of five second-half lead changes.
East then got its mojo back and reclaimed the lead with back-to-back touchdowns, including a two-point conversion with 4:52 to play that tied the game at 21, a two-point conversion that would be some incredible foreshadowing as to how this classic would end.
The quintessential drive of the season for the Eagles followed.
They took over with 4:43 to play on their own 29-yard line and marched down the field as their season hung in the balance.
They converted a fourth-and-8 at the Lancer 25 on a nice 11-yard scramble by quarterback Cole Murphy and then scored the game-tying touchdown on a fourth-and-9 play at the 13-yard line when Murphy hit Chaz Burgess on a fade to the left corner of the end zone.
That set up a thrilling couple of overtimes that saw East advance after a gutsy two-point try after their touchdown in double overtime.
North scored both of their overtime touchdowns pretty easily, but East scored both of theirs on fourth down.
When Sam Huffman took the ball from East quarterback Gunnar England on that two-point try, it looked like North had it sniffed out, but there was just too much room around the right end. Huffman was able to sneak in, and the Lancers were able to get back into the state title game.
It was a classic that neither team deserved to lose, but someone had to lose.
And it was a game for the ages. One that should not be forgotten.
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