What Steve Said: Steve Bubalo 12/21
By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
It was another strong season for local teams when it comes to high school football. The 2016 season officially wrapped up with Bishop Miege, Mill Valley, Harrisonville and Penney walking away with state titles.
What a run it was by the Wildcats. After that three-game losing streak in the middle of the season to put them at 3-3, something clicked and the Wildcats ran the table the rest of the way, going 9-0 and thrashing opponents on a seemingly weekly basis. And when they weren’t, they took down two Class 4 powerhouses, Webb City and Kearney, in two games that were decided by a touchdown or less.
Close games were something Penney didn’t have to worry too much about during a perfect 2016 that saw them go 15-0. Other than a thrilling 34-33 win over Lawson in the middle of the season, the Hornets were dominant. Other than that game, only one opponent got closer than 23 points. They scored less than 40 only two times. The state championship featured little drama, in what was a 47-14 win over Monroe City. It’s hard to find a more dominant season.
As for the rest of the season, here are a few personal highlights that deserve extra recognition.
Maybe the performance of the year came from Richmond’s Trevon Alexander in a 46-21 win over Lexington. The standout wide receiver put on a show that night, scoring five touchdowns in a variety of way - runs, short passes, long passes - while also catches nine balls for 272 yards. It was quite a display.
One of the more memorable games I was able to witness this season was also one of the ugliest. Rockhurst and Shawnee Mission East did battle for the first time since 1982, and thanks to six Lancer turnovers, the Hawklets pulled out a 26-20 win despite only seven first downs. That also led to what might’ve been the quote of the year from Hawklet head coach Tony Severino.
“We were terrible on offense. Our defense gave up a lot of yards. The kicking game wasn’t good,” Severino said. “You figure it out.”
Turnovers, coach. Turnovers.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up the atmosphere in that game. That might have been the best part. I’m a sucker for student sections that are not just show up, but are loud and come prepared with some quality chants. Both schools brought their ‘A’ game to this one.
Play of the Year honors go to Ray-Pec and head coach Tom Kruse all the way back in Week 3. Trying to hold off a late charge from rival Lee’s Summit West, Kruse called for the wide receiver pass in a milk-the-clock situation from West’s 49-yard line.
The gamble paid off for a touchdown and helped lead the Panthers to an exciting 42-35 win. Everybody loves a trick play. That particular situation made that one even better.
I could definitely go on. There were too many great games, great plays and great seasons that stand out. Summit Christian Academy’s deepest run into the playoffs in its programs short existence. Lawson nearly making it back to the state title game. Blue Springs, Blue Valley, Kearney and Maryville all making it to championship games, only to fall just short.
There’s never a shortage of memorable teams, games and plays from local teams each and every week during the season. This season has been no different. I’ll be ready to see what 2017 has in store.
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