Raytown closes out Van Horn

Brian Davidson/The Examiner

By Mike Genet The Examiner
Posted: October 25, 2013 - 9:32 AM

Despite the 285 rushing yards gained by Van Horn’s football team Thursday night – 253 of them by junior running back J.J. Rivers – and all the clean option pitches that helped them get those yards, 2 yards the Falcons didn’t get and one off-kilter pitch loomed even larger against visiting Raytown.
Twice Van Horn had first down at the 1-yard line and came away empty, and its first drive of the second half ended on a fumble from the Raytown 10 as the Blue Jays claimed a 37-18 win the teams’ regular season finale.
Rivers totaled his yardage on an incredible 45 carries – 25 for 124 yards in the first half and 20 for 129 after halftime. But Raytown’s own junior running back, Josh Drake, topped that output in less than half the attempts – 268 yards and all five of his team’s touchdowns on 21 carries – making the Falcons’ pay for their missed opportunities.
“We simply left too many scores on the field,” said Van Horn coach Jeff Tolbert, whose team will take a 7-2 record into the Class 4 district playoffs. “That’s unacceptable. There’s no excuse for that, and the entire team has to be better in that regard.”
Van Horn finished the game’s opening drive just fine, as Rivers’ 4-yard run at the 4:21 mark capped a 19-play, 67-yard drive in which he carried 13 times.
But Raytown (4-5) needed just seven plays to respond. Towering tight end Derrick Walker hauled in a 27-yard pass from Michael Baxter to the 1, and Drake scored on the next play. Brandon White then blocked a punt to set up Drake’s 9-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter.
Following another Van Horn punt, the Blue Jays scored in six plays. Drake ripped off a 47-yarder and Delshaun Higgins went for 19 before Drake took delayed counter handoff 20 yards for a touchdown. The PAT kick bounced off the upright following a chop block penalty on the initial try, but the Blue Jays had a 20-6 lead with 6:54 left.
Tolbert said his defense just got overzealous at times Thursday.
“Raytown did a good job of using our aggressiveness against us,” he said.