Lee's Summit West one win away from title
By Stephen Bubalo PrepsKC staff writer
Take away a week four loss to Blue Springs and the Lee’s Summit West football team has been nearly unstoppable this season, beating opponents by an average of almost 37 points a game.
They are a team that is motivated to win a state title, to erase the memory of last year’s state quarterfinal defeat to Ozark and to prove they are the class of Class 5.
And the playoffs haven’t slowed them down one bit, as they earned a berth into the state championship game next Saturday with a 42-14 win tonight over Kearney.
“All the time, especially me,” West senior Monte Harrison said when asked if the team still talks about the season-ending defeat a year ago. “I did whatever I could to get back to this point.”
Harrison did plenty Friday night, as he was a force for the Bulldogs to cover, hauling in seven catches for 148 yards and two scores.
He made the first big play of the game, catching a 61-yard touchdown pass from Thomas Ganaden late in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.
“We came out and were told we were going to throw first,” Ganaden said. “I was excited the wind died down.”
Harrison made two big plays on the next Titan drive, catching a pass for 31 yards on a fourth-and-two and hauling in an acrobatic 19-yarder on second-and-21. On the next play, Brenner Clemons scored from 3 yards out to make it 14-0.
“Monte had some huge catches,” Kearney head coach Greg Jones said. “Even when we doubled him he still made the catch.”
Added Harrison, “The safeties know I’m going to get (the ball) so I just try and make a play.”
The big plays kept coming in the passing game, as Ganaden put the finishing touches on a near-perfect first half when he lofted one to Clemons on a fourth-and-two for a 35-yard score and a 21-0 lead heading into the locker room.
“He has a very nice touch,” Titans head coach Royce Boehm said. “It’s special when the wide receivers counter off each other. … And I have to give a shout out to the offensive line. They protected Thomas and opened up holes for the running game.”
The Titans picked up some crucial third downs but maybe even more crushing for Kearney was that they were three-for-three on fourth down, with two of those going for touchdowns.
“It breaks them down,” Harrison said of the conversions. “There’s no hope for them to stay in the game.”
The Bulldogs snagged a little momentum early in the third quarter when Austin Hinck threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Zack Davis to make it 21-7.
But the hole was too deep to dig out of, as West came right back and made it 28-7 when Ganaden hit Harrison for a 14-yard score on another fourth-and-two. After a Kearney three-and-out, the Titans put the game away on a Ryan Williams 3-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter for a 35-7 lead.
Clemons added another 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter for the Titans.
“You can’t fall that far behind against a team like that,” Jones said. “I felt like we moved the ball but we couldn’t put it in the end zone. Once we got behind it was pass, pass, pass and we got off our rhythm.”
The Titan defense held Bulldog star running back Brock Broughton to just 97 yards on 20 carries, and several of those yards, including a 34-yard touchdown, came in the fourth quarter.
Kearney finished the season – its second in Class 5 – with an 11-2 mark after going 6-4 a season ago.
“The kids did a great job of bringing back the level of where Kearney football used to be,” Jones said. “They went 11-2, won a district and conference title and went to the state semifinals. What more can you ask of these kids?”
For West, all that stands in the way of its third state title – second in Class 5 – is Parkway Central. The two teams will meet next Saturday at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis at 5:30 p.m.
“We’re not done yet,” Harrison said. “We’re not satisfied to just get there. We want to get there and win.”
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