By Stephen Bubalo PrepsKC staff writer
Where do you start?
Lee’s Summit West and Blue Springs staged an epic second half and overtime battle Friday night, a showdown between a pair of No. 2-ranked teams – West in Class 5, Blue Springs in Class 6 – that ended with the Titans holding on for a huge 35-28 victory.
“This means a lot. It defines us as a program,” Titan wide receiver Austin Burau said. “I’m pretty ecstatic. This is amazing.”
So, where do you start?
A good place could be the Titan offense striking fast the entire second half, and most importantly, in overtime, and they did it with the momentum on Blue Springs’ side after the Wildcats tied the game up with 30 seconds left in regulation with an impressive 10-play drive in a little more than two minutes.
But the Titans didn’t take their foot off the pedal, scoring in just three plays with quarterback Thomas Ganaden finding Burau from 11 yards out for the game-winner after Blue Springs threw four straight incomplete passes on its ensuing possession.
“We’ve been on a fast tempo all week. We felt like in overtime we had the tempo,” Titans head coach Royce Boehm said.
The Titans’ offensive tempo was a wrecking ball in the entire second half, as they were striking for big plays nearly every time they had the ball against what has been a stout Blue Springs defense.
After a 7-7 first half, which both teams would rather forget happened thanks to turnovers and costly penalties, Lee’s Summit West didn’t waste any time, scoring in three plays to start the half. Monte Harrison sprinting for 65 yards was the big play that set up an eventual 4-yard score from Burau two players later.
“Our offensive schemes worked. The coaches did a fabulous job,” Boehm said. “It was impressive the way the kids bought into it.”
The Titans did a little bit of everything in the second half, whether it was lining up Burau under center, having sophomore running back Ryan Williams run the wildcat or let Ganaden air it out, most notably to Burau, who finished with 204 yards on just six catches.
“We have a lot of focal points,” Boehm said of the offense. “That gets back to the system we have now, that we don’t have to put it all on one kid.”
“Coach feels like I’m a utility player and he can use me anywhere,” said Burau, who had four rushing attempts and a score to go along with his receiving yards.
In all, the Titans only ran 18 plays in the entire second half and overtime, but four were for touchdowns.
“We were ready for (Burau under center) but we lost the edge a few times on the wildcat,” Wildcats head coach Kelly Donohoe said. “They didn’t do anything we hadn’t seen. Sometimes those guys do a little better job in execution.”
Burau had the second big play of the second half, catching a 37-yard pass for a score to put the Titans up 21-14. Next came Williams, who scored on a 63-yard run in the wildcat formation on what was a one-play possession.
“In the first half we were making mental mistakes that could have been big plays,” Williams said. “When Monte made that big play (to start the second half) that got us all into the game.”
That score made it 28-21, as Blue Springs kept answering each time West would go ahead, including that final drive of regulation. Once the Wildcats scored to make it 28-27, Boehm had memories of 2008 when Blue Springs won the game with a last-second two-point conversion.
“Oh yeah, I was thinking about 2008,” Boehm said with a laugh. “That’s why I called the timeout.”
“I definitely thought about it,” added Donohoe of going for two in regulation. “If we would have scored in overtime I was really thinking about going for two.”
Despite rushing for 259 yards, including 142 from junior Dalvin Warmack, Blue Springs (3-1) was unable to continue its momentum from last week’s big win at Rockhurst.
“You go to Rockhurst and win and everybody is patting you on the back,” Donohoe said. “We tried to warn them. We didn’t match the intensity we had a week ago.”
Now, West (4-0) will try and avoid the same fate when they travel to cross-town rival Lee’s Summit North next Friday, and it left Boehm asking a key question of his team.
“How mature are we?” Boehm said afterward. “How we come off beating a damn good football team – how mature are we going to be the next couple of weeks?”
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