What Steve Said: Steve Bubalo 9/22
By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
Nowadays, it seems like it’s rare that a game can live up to the hype surrounding it. I’m not sure if it’s because of the constant coverage of big events and they just get talked to death or what it is, but it always seems refreshing when a big sporting event lives up to the hype.
And in the realm of high school sports, Rockhurst-Shawnee Mission East lived up to the hype last Friday night.
Two undefeated, state-ranked teams playing each other for the first time since 1982 and it was a dandy, even if the play on the field wasn’t always crisp.
The Hawklets squeaked out a 26-20 victory thanks in large part to six Lancer turnovers, which led to all but three of their points on the night. But credit definitely goes out to the Lancers, as they kept battling back all game, scoring in less than 20 seconds in the fourth quarter to ultimately get within one score and get the ball one last time for a shot to win it.
While the players on the field made the game exciting, contributing to the electric atmosphere were the student sections for both teams. This had the feel of a state championship game.
I’m a sucker for a couple of student sections going back-and-forth throughout the game. I knew Rockhurst’s students would show up and bring the goods, but East’s section went toe-to-toe with them from the opening kickoff. These were two of the best I’ve seen in a long time, without a doubt, and this would be a fun game to have each and every season.
Every high school game, no matter the sport, is just better when the students get involved. Having been in those student sections back in the day, those big games had a special feeling even for those not on the field. Friday night had that feeling.
I’m not sure who had the idea for the slate of Missouri vs. Kansas games this past Friday but they deserve a nice round of applause. Despite the lopsided 11-0 record for the Missouri schools, hopefully, this is something that will continue.
I’m not sure what the plan is for these games in the future, if it’s going to be every year - maybe every other year would work better - but the thought of schools from each side of the state line mixing it up seems like a no-brainer and I’m not sure what took so long for it to happen.
If nothing else, maybe they just make sure to pit Rockhurst and East against each other every year no matter what.
You could tell this was more than just another game on the schedule for both sides. I’m not sure what the atmosphere was like at the other 10 games around the area, but this one had a little something extra to it.
“It was like high school football in the 60s and 70s,” Rockhurst head coach Tony Severino said afterward. “You had nothing else to do but go to the football game.”
Sign me up for that game and that atmosphere once a year. I’ll be at the front of the line starting the hype machine.
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