Lee's Summit tops Ray South to move to 8-0
By Stephen Bubalo PrepsKC staff writer
Casey Slaughter was ready to get back on the field and redeem himself.
The Lee’s Summit senior tailback had just fumbled inside the Raytown South 10-yard-line early in the second half as the Tigers held just a 7-0 lead. And Slaughter wanted to atone for his mistake.
And he did so in a big way.
After the Tiger defense forced a three-and-out, Slaughter received the handoff on the first play of its next drive and went straight up the gut for a 46-yard touchdown run. They would roll from there to a 31-7 win to remain undefeated at 8-0.
“It’s not acceptable to put the ball on the ground,” Slaughter said. “(The touchdown) was needed. We found out what worked and we stuck to it. We had to handle our business.”
Added Tiger head coach Eric Thomas:
“He fumbled and I didn’t say a single word to him. And I didn’t need to. I knew he would come right back and make a play, and he did.”
The high-powered Lee’s Summit offense – averaging nearly 47 points a game through the first seven weeks – was slowed a little by Mother Nature in the first half, but also by a fired-up Raytown South defense.
The Cardinals had quarterback Drew Lock running for his life and Slaughter couldn’t find any holes. The Tigers managed one scoring drive, which Lock capped with a 4-yard scoring run to lead 7-0 at the half.
Even the Cardinal offense had some success moving the ball, as they got inside the Lee’s Summit 30-yard-line on three different occasions but none of the drives ended with points.
“The defense held in the first half,” Cardinals’ head coach David Allie said. “And we got inside their 30-yard line a couple of times and turned it over on downs. We just couldn’t sustain a drive in the second half. We had to sustain drives to keep their offense off the field like we did in the first half.
“We had a tough time running the ball and we didn’t catch it when we went to the air, and that makes it tough to run the clock.”
The Cardinals would cut the lead in half to 14-7 on a 65-yard touchdown run by Cameron Henderson but the Tigers’ offense was starting to find its rhythm.
It scored 17 straight points to pull away, as they sandwiched two touchdowns – a throw by Lock to Caymen Metcalf and Lock run – around a 26-yard field goal, and Thomas said it all goes back to the running game.
“We’ve got to be able to run the ball,” he said. “We can’t sit back there and throw it every down. Casey is the key.”
Not lost in the win was an impressive performance by the defense. After a bend-but-don’t-break effort in the first half, Raytown South managed just three first downs in the second half.
“We had to stop the run and put pressure on the quarterback,” defensive end Ismail Zabihullah said. “We feel the more pressure we put on the quarterback and their offense the more uncomfortable they feel. We want to be fierce, fast, and most importantly, be a very physical defense. We love to hit.”
The physicality was evident, as they hurried Cardinals’ quarterback Glenn Pargo into a 9-of-31 performance for 124 yards.
The Tiger defense is undersized nearly every game but hope to make up for it with a physical, aggressive style of play.
“We had to get these guys moving on defense and since then we’ve been much better,” Thomas said. “We’re never going to be the biggest team, so we’ve got to move and hit on the run. Early on, we sat in, tried to sit and play. We’ve been more aggressive lately.”
Both teams have one week remaining before the playoffs begin. Raytown South, now 2-6, will host Platte County.
Lee’s Summit, ranked fifth in Class 6, will face its toughest test of the year in defending state champs and top-ranked Blue Springs on the road.
“It was very hard not to look ahead,” Zabihullah admitted about tonight’s game. “But we’ve got to stay focused. … We knew we would be underestimated at the beginning of the season. We came out and sent messages. We have one vision that we plan to reach.”
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