Through the Uprights: Mike Lavieri 9/18

Mike Lavieri

By Mike Lavieri PrepsKC columnist
Posted: September 19, 2018 - 2:42 PM

As Shawnee Mission Northwest earned its first 3-0 start to a season in a decade, I couldn’t help but notice the chatter on Twitter about injuries throughout the state on Friday night to signal callers.

The big news was Graham Mertz’s injury in Pittsburg where he sustained a left leg injury. However, right in front of me, Olathe South’s Evan Foster and Shawnee Mission Northwest’s Ty Black both went down.

Shawnee Mission Northwest coach Bo Black said after the game he fears his son broke a bone that was broken before. If so, Ty will most likely miss significant time.  

Coach Black ended up turning to freshman Blake Reeder to guide the Cougars to a 27-21 overtime victory.

Not only did Black trust Reeder to deliver in the biggest moment of the game, he trusted Reeder to throw one of the most difficult throws – even for the pros – the back corner fade.

And not only did Black trust Reeder to throw the pass, he entrusted him to throw it three times if he had to.

I’ll be honest, I’m not wild about the fade route. I think it’s an extremely difficult play to execute with the margin of error being slim. Over throw the ball and the receiver, who is already pinned in the corner has nowhere to go but out of bounds. Under throw it and it’s an interception waiting to happen.

But this isn’t about my hot take on the fade route, because it’s been covered ad nauseam by scribes at the largest outlets in the country. No, this is about Reeder making the most of his opportunity when the game was on the line.

If Ty ends up missing time, the Cougars are in good hands. Sure, there might be growing pains of starting a player who has suited up for three varsity games, but the fruits of Reeder’s labor will be enjoyed down the road.

If Bo Black trusts and has confidence in Reeder, then all that remains is earning the confidence of his teammates. The way the Cougars played all game and finished on Friday, that doesn’t seem like it’s going to be an issue.

This is a team that plays to the very end of every play and fights for the player lining up next to them – that’s a recipe for success.