What Steve Said: Steve Bubalo 1/6

Steve Bubalo

By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: January 10, 2018 - 9:45 AM

With another high school football season in the books, it’s always fun to look back on some of the best performances, games and storylines from the past season. Obviously, I didn’t get to see every team in the area, but I saw my fair share of noteworthy games and individual performances that deserve a mention.

The best game I saw all season just happened to be the last game I covered. Blue Valley North vs. Blue Valley in the Class 6A state semifinals had everything you would want from a playoff game. It had two rivals squaring off. It had two overtimes. It had a star player making star-worthy plays. North quarterback Graham Mertz proved why he’s one of the best players in the area, making plays with his arm and his legs all game long. He was the only offensive player to touch the ball for the Mustangs in both overtimes, scoring on two run plays.

The capper that made that game so memorable was that it put the Mustangs in the state championship game for the first time in program history, which ended up being a game they would win 49-42 against Derby. It was truly a magical run for Andy Sims and his squad.

A deserving honorable mention goes to the St. Joseph Lafayette-Kearney playoff game in Class 4. What a performance by the Fighting Irish. They found themselves on the road, down two touchdowns, but found a way to scratch out a 38-32 win.

A big reason was the play of quarterback Diego Bernard. He was involved in every touchdown play by the Fighting Irish, including a pick-six on defense that would eventually win the game. It was without a doubt the best individual performance I saw from a player. Each time the Fighting Irish needed a play in the game, Bernard came through. It was a joy to watch Bernard the Irish that night.

Another game that stood out to me in what was probably the most dominant I saw a team look, especially when you consider what was at stake, it was Blue Springs’ Class 6 state semifinal win over Park Hill.

While the Trojans weren’t at 100%, it was impressive what the Wildcats did that afternoon. They won 34-14 but at one point in the third quarter were up 34-6. With a berth to the state title game on the line, Blue Springs played what might’ve been its most complete game of the season. Their defensive line was incredible and looked impossible to slow down. They were consistently one of the units on the field each Friday night.

One of the best midseason turnarounds was Blue Springs South. Head coach Jon Oyler and the Jaguars started the season 1-4 and then wound up being one of the last eight teams remaining in Class 6 thanks to two impressive playoff wins.

Lafayette County might’ve been the biggest surprise team in the area, easily the biggest of any team that I saw play. After going just 5-5 a season ago and being unranked to begin the year, head coach Steve Cook and his Huskers nearly ran the table this season. They finished 14-1 and went toe-to-toe with powerhouse Lamar in the state title game before running out of gas in the fourth quarter. What a run they had.

And what a 2017 it was. And these are just a handful of the games and performances I saw that stood out. That doesn’t even begin to cover the incredible runs that Maryville and Staley had in claiming state titles. Or Platte County coming up just short against Webb City. Every week something memorable seems to happen. I’m just glad to be around to see some of those things happen.