Ray-Pec holds on to stop Joplin at Arrowhead
By Brad Seiner Special to The Cass County Democrat-Missourian
Entering the fourth quarter trailing 27-26, the Raymore-Peculiar Panthers found it in themselves to make enough plays down the stretch to beat the Joplin Eagles 42-27 Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
The big fourth quarter was all it took for the Panthers to make Arrowhead – the home of the Kansas City Chiefs – their home for one special night.
Ray-Pec, entering the 2011 season, was set to host the Eagles at Panther Stadium for both teams’ second district game of the season. But a series of events changed everything.
Back on May 22, the city of Joplin was ravaged by one of the largest and most deadly tornados in United States history. In all, 162 people were killed in the storm, with thousands more affected.
In August, Ray-Pec head coach Tom Kruse was asked if the Panthers would be able to host a televised game. As all involved began looking at the schedule, the Joplin game jumped off the page, and after making the decision to match the Eagles and Panthers, it was made official the game would be televised state-wide.
That’s when the Chiefs got involved, asking for the game to be played at Arrowhead with all proceeds benefiting Joplin relief efforts.
Although much fanfare and hoopla surrounded the event, there was still a game to be played, and it turned into quite a battle until the Panthers pulled away with two touchdowns in a nearly six-minute stretch in the fourth quarter. Senior quarterback Spencer Volgelsmeier gave the Panthers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish with a one-yard touchdown run with 11:10 remaining. A two-point conversion run by junior Aaron Russell made it 34-27.
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