LS North outlast Ray-Pec for playoff spot
By Brian Spano PrepsKC Senior Writer
Lee’s Summit North and Ray-Pec were playing for their playoff lives Friday night. Win and you’re in, lose and you have to think about what could have been until next season.
Both teams have had a tough time defensively all season long, and it showed as the Broncos outlasted the Panthers 52-45 in a back-and-forth game that saw five lead changes and four ties
“Both of are defenses have struggled, but we got a stop when we needed it,” Broncos head coach Ty Kohl said. “I told the kids that our defense was going to have to win it for us.”
The win propels North, 3-7 overall and 2-1 in Class 6, District 8 to a berth in next week’s sectional playoffs against Blue Springs South, while at the same time eliminates the Panthers, 3-7, 1-2.
The Broncos controlled the game offensively behind the rushing attack of running back Josh Caldwell and quarterback Will Harrington. Harrington had 242 yards and four touchdowns on the night rushing, while throwing for 189 yards and two more scores. After the game, the very emotional quarterback spoke about what it meant for his team to win this game and advance to the playoffs.
“We played all four quarters, and we knew it would take all four quarters,” he said. “It’s the second senior class to make it to the playoffs. We’ve made it to the playoffs only once in Lee’s Summit North history, and we’re going again. No one has stopped our offense all year, and we played our hearts out. We play for each other, the school and the coaches.”
Ray-Pec threw everything but the kitchen sink at Harrington to try to stop him but to no avail.
“I’m going to give a lot a credit to Lee’s Summit North,” said Panthers head coach Tom Kruse. “They played inspired. They never quit and played a heck of a football game. Will Harrington is a special football player.”
North jumped out quickly to start game when Caldwell took the first play from scrimmage 74 yards to the end zone. Less than six minutes later, Harrington hit Zach Ross for 54 yards and the score. Ray-Pec answered on a two-yard run from quarterback Spencer Vogelsmeier, but the Broncos returned serve with another huge play when Harrington hooked up with Jalen Ford to take a 21-7 lead. It looked like the rout was on.
After that touchdown, the Panthers Aaron Russell returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. That was followed by a Ray-Pec quarterback sack for a safety and then a Nick Guera five-yard score. The game was tied at the break 24-24.
The way the offenses were scoring at will, it came down to whichever team had the ball last would probably come away victorious, and that’s just what happened. With the game knotted up at 45, Harrington raced 27 yards with 1:30 remaining in the game to put the Broncos up for good.
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