Winnetonka blanks Truman
By David Svoboda
In the middle of the summer, when sprints and 7-on-7 snaps are part of the routine, thoughts of most high school football players are on the payoff: the playoffs.
But only Forrest Gump would have enjoyed the “sideways rain” that pelted both teams on a cold, early-November night as the Missouri Class 5 postseason got underway with a 14-0 Winnetonka win over Truman.
Nope, this was definitely NOT the stuff of dreams, and any sort of script Winnetonka Coach Sterling Edwards might have prepared went right out the window as early as the opening kickoff.
“We didn’t do any of the normal stuff that we practiced all week,” Edwards said with a smile.
It was indeed difficult for either team to do anything resembling normal on this night.
Instead of the normal first half stats wrap up, all you really needed to understand was the significance these numbers: 16, 10, 6 and 5.
There were 16 fumbles in the first 24 minutes, including 10 by Truman and 6 more by Winnetonka. To make matters worse for Truman, the Patriots fumbled on each of their first five offensive plays. Ouch.
And as you might have guessed, a fumble resulted directly in the game’s first score.
Backed up in its own end and faced with a fourth and long on the game’s opening drive, Truman lined up for a punt from junior Scott Agee. One bobbled snap later and Tonka was in business at the Patriot one.
Griffin quarterback Tyler Havrum poked the ball into the end zone moments later to give his team a lead it would never relinquish. After Jesse Jasso knocked home the extra point kick, it was 7-0 Winnetonka.
Not much happened over the next several minutes…except for the occasional change in direction of the rain – across, up and down, diagonal – kind of like Mother Nature’s personal game of Tic-Tac-Toe.
To open the second quarter, the teams traded punts, with Truman booting the ball away to Winnetonka, and the Griffins returning the favor.
Just moments after taking possession on the punt, however, Truman fumbled the ball right back to Winnetonka on the Truman 31, and the Griffin offense was in business.
Chase Williams burst around the corner on the right side and ended up in the end zone eight yards later, and after Jasso’s second PAT the score was 14-0.
So much for the night’s scoring.
“A 14-point lead felt like a pretty big lead and halftime,” Edwards admitted.
But a few other numbers were big: 1, 9:20 and 2:34. Truman failed to pick up its initial first down (1), until 9:20 was left in the THIRD QUARTER. And their second first down did not come until almost seven minutes later (2:34). Yes, it was a crummy night.
Unless you were a member of the Winnetonka defense, that is.
Truman’s best scoring chance of the night stalled as a result of penalties and a Griffin defense that stiffened at just the right moment.
Given a short field – just 33 yards from the goal line after a Winnetonka fumble – Truman quickly moved the ball down to the eight and had a first-and-goal.
But four downs later, Truman was now outside the 20 and the ball had been turned over on downs.
Truman ended its season at 5-6, and Winnetonka moved to 7-4. The Griffins face Fort Osage on Monday night.
“We talked about it with our kids when we lost that game (the 28-25 regular season defeat at the hands of the Indians), that we’d see them again in the playoffs,” Edwards said.
And it surely will be on a much better night. A night that will be more in keeping with those summer dreams.
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