Can't bust these Broncos
By Jim Bradford PrepsKC Senior Writer
Trevor Cluck knows Lake Johnson can catch about anything he throws his way.
It’s just a matter of throwing it to the right spot.
That spot was in the corner of the end zone Friday night and Johnson was there waiting to haul it in for a 12-yard touchdown pass with 42 seconds to play, catapulting Spring Hill to a 17-13 win over DeSoto and to the Class 4A, District 3 championship.
The touchdown capped a frazzled final three minutes when 13 of the games 30 points flashed upon the scoreboard.
The Wildcats, who had been limited to just about 175 yards of offense until their go-ahead touchdown drive started with 5:40 to play, scored on a 1-yard touchdown run by Jason Johnson with 3:06 to play to take their first lead of the night.
The Broncos then took over at their own 41 after a short kick and after a 1-yard loss on the first play, they reached into their back pocket for a trick play to put them in position to score the game winner.
Cluck got the ball back after a quick handoff and found Lake Johnson deep down he middle on the flea flicker, setting the Broncos up at the Wildcats 34.
“We put that in a couple of weeks ago and kind of had it in the back of our playbook,” Cluck said. “We picked the perfect time to pull it out.”
Three plays later, Cluck found Johnson again for the game winner. The fade to the left back corner of the end zone was just the way the Broncos had it drown up. Cluck throws it to a spot and Johnson finds it.
“That’s not really the way we want it, but that’s the way it turns out most times,” Cluck said with a bit of a laugh.
By virtue of a 17-16 overtime St. James win over Bonner Springs, the Broncos have secured the district title despite one week remaining.
“We are really gelling at the right time,” said Broncos head coach Anthony Orrick. “We struggled a bit offensively tonight, but we are certainly getting going at the right time.”
Despite a few struggles and a whole mess of penalties, the Broncos managed to roll up 341 yards of offense. Cluck had 74 yards on the ground and 127 through the air, including five strikes to Johnson for 65 yards.
Despite giving up the score with 42 ticks remaining, the Wildcats didn’t go away quietly. It wasn’t until Stuart Hunter picked off a Corbin Clark pass at the Broncos 8-yard line with 20 seconds to play did Spring Hill have it sewn up.
DeSoto’s Zack Griffins busted off a 51-yard return on the ensuing kickoff and the Wildcats were able to get as close as the 41 before Hunter’s interception on a long Clark throw into traffic.
DeSoto finished with 283 yards of offense, including 135 through the air by Clark. He also had 52 yards on the ground.
Spring Hill (4-4) came out of the gates quick, scoring on their first drive of the night. They wouldn’t light the scoreboard again until the final play of the first half on a Niles Kahn 18-yard field goal.
Cluck capped a nine-play, 71-yard drive to start the game with a 2-yard run off left tackle. The big play of the opening drive was a Cluck to Andy Shields 42-yard pass play down the left sidelines, setting the Broncos up with a first down at the Wildcats 22. Spring Hill scored six plays later to go up 7-0.
The Wildcats tied the score with 5:47 to play in the second quarter, using their special teams to catapult them into the end zone. After the Wildcats previous drive had stalled they pinned the Broncos deep, at their own 3-yard line. The Wildcat defense stepped up and immediately forced a punt. The punt only went 31 yards and set the Wildcats up with a first down at the Broncos 33.
Three plays later Jason Johnson was in the end zone after a 22-yard touchdown run.
DeSoto wraps up its regular season next week with a showdown with St James. Spring Hill will take on Bonner Springs.
University Academy Gryphons
St. Paul Lutheran Saints
Appleton City Bulldogs
Derrick Thomas Academy Chiefs
Pleasant Ridge Rams
Turner Golden Bears
Shawnee Mission Northwest Cougars
Ruskin Golden Eagles
Lincoln College Prep Tigers
St. Joseph Central Indians
Bishop Ward Cyclones
East Buchanan Bulldogs
Blue Springs Wildcats
Santa Fe Chiefs