North Kansas City tops SJ Lafayette in opener

By Chris Bils The St. Joseph News-Press
Posted: August 21, 2015 - 11:19 PM

The chaos arrived just after halftime, and while Lafayette eventually recovered, it never gained enough momentum to stop North Kansas City from claiming a 16-7 victory Friday night at Alumni Stadium.

The Fighting Irish’s plan to seize the momentum out of the break never got off the ground, as the Hornets jumped on a fumbled kickoff return, later turning the mistake into a safety that temporarily paralyzed Lafayette’s game plan.

“I think it takes the wind out of anybody’s sails,” said Irish first-year coach Bart Hardy. “You’re thinking you’re going to get the ball and then all of a sudden you put your defense in a bad spot.”

To its credit, Lafayette’s defense stood strong, including during its first action of the second half, which began at the Irish 23-yard line. After forcing a turnover on downs, it looked like Lafayette might have dodged a giant bullet.

On the same play, senior quarterback Riley McKay sustained an injury playing safety, and backup quarterback Gavin Brown saw his first snap fly over his head to be recovered at the 1-yard line.

McKay brought it back out to the 11 with a second-down scamper, but another bad snap on the 4th-down punt attempt went through the end zone to hand North Kansas City a 9-7 lead.

“That was us last year,” Hornets coach Leon Douglas said of the miscue. “That’s winning and losing, that’s the fine line.”

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