Harrisonville runs past Grain Valley
By Bill Althaus The Examiner
Harrisonville, Mo. — Zac Hoover, the high-scoring wide receiver for the Grain Valley High School football team, walked off the field at Harrisonville Thursday night with one thought in mind.
“Someday, we have to find a way to beat Harrisonville,” said Hoover, whose four touchdowns were not enough to stop the opportunistic Wildcats, who scored on their first five possessions and claimed a 49-29 Class 4 District 14 championship.
Both teams advance to the playoffs against opponents that will be determined tonight.
“I thought our kids came out tight, and it cost us a good chance at winning this game,” first-year Eagles coach Jimmy Tucker said. “We can play with Harrisonville - we proved it in the second half, but we came out so tight we didn’t do much of anything the first half.”
And Hoover pointed an accusing finger at himself.
His fumble on the opening play of the game gave the 9-1 Wildcats a short field and led to a 12-yard touchdown run by Brett Bearden.
“I put that first score all on me,” Hoover said. “I’m a senior – seniors don’t make mistakes like that, especially on the first play of the game.”
Less than two minutes later, sophomore quarterback Zach Davidson hit Ben Sevy on a 58-yard scoring strike and it appeared a rout might be on.
But Hoover scored on a 1-yard run and later scored on a breathtaking 75-yard run to keep the Wildcats on their toes.
Following a couple of unsuccessful onside kick attempts and a short punt, the Wildcats scored three more times to take a 35-14 lead into the half.
“They are big and strong and it is extremely tough to stop them when they get on a roll like they did the first half,” Grain Valley linebacker Tucker Pauley said.
“But we didn’t help ourselves. We didn’t tackle very well in the first half. But we played much better defense in the second half.”
The 6-4 Eagles allowed just one second-half touchdown before Mason Saffels scored on a 50-yard run with 50 seconds left in the game.
Hoover’s two second-half touchdowns came on a 6-yard run and a 14-yard pass from Jeramey Maynard.
“We have to do everything we can to win next week, against whoever we play, so we have the chance to play Harrisonville again,” Hoover said.
“I’ve been playing them since my sophomore year and we have never beaten them. If we come out strong, and play an entire game like we played the second half, I think we can compete with them.”
So does Tucker.
“I thought we could come over here and win,” Tucker said, “but I watched the kids before the game and you could read their body language. They were tight. We have a big game next week before we can start thinking about playing Harrisonville again.”
Hoover finished the night with 121 yard rushing on just 11 carries and four receptions for 48 yards.
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