Tigers get defensive

Fred Poese/Special to PrepsKC

By Toriano Porter PrepsKC Staff Writer
Posted: August 22, 2015 - 12:19 AM

Truman was coming off its first winning season in years. Lee’s Summit was entering life A.D.; as in after Drew Lock, a three-year starting signal caller now at the University of Missouri.

Together the teams had something to prove in its 2015 season opener Friday at Lee’s Summit High.

The Class 6 Tigers, and the Class 5 Patriots’ tilt offered stingy defense and a couple of timely first-half touchdown drives led by Dalton Hill, Lee’s Summit’s newest addition at quarterback.

All told, the scores and more held as the Tigers won 33-0.

“Very disappointed,” Truman head coach Greg Webb said. “Extremely disappointed. Our line needs to be better than we were tonight.”

Past success aside, the teams were eager to put their stamp on a new season.

“We had a little Friday night jitters,” Hill, a junior, said. “Once the jitters settled down we cruised.”

Truman used a run-heavy offense to keep Lee’s Summit’s traditionally high-powered offense off-kilter in the first half. The strategy was by designed to keep Patriots’ quarterback Dean Clemons protected and a necessity for an inconsistent passing attack, Webb said.

“It’s no secret we struggle in the passing game,” the third-year Patriot coach said.

Webb’s counterpart, Eric Thomas, was pleased to see his defense swarm its way to a shutout. The Tigers’ offense, however, was a different story, at least in the first two quarters.

“We had to gets some things going,” Thomas said. “But, once we did we got into a groove.”

In what could be considered a defensive stalemate in the first half,  scoring opportunities were few.

Hill’s 4-yard touchdown run with a little more than a minute to play in the first quarter opened scoring, but a missed extra point left the score at 6-0.

Late in the first half, Lee’s Summit’s defense stonewalled Truman on a 4-1 with 1:13 left in the second quarter to give the Tigers a first-and-10 from the Patriots’ 38-yard line when Hill and company went to work.

First, Tiger running back Christian Jordan was stopped for a one-yard loss. On second down, the Tigers went up top but came up empty. On third-and-11, the Tigers’ Trevor Fell tuned a bubble screen into a 29-yard catch and run.

The play set Lee’s Summit up with a first-and-goal from the Patriots’ 10-yard line with 51.5 seconds left in the half.

A false start penalty moved the Tigers back to the 15-yard line, but on the next snap Hill connected with Delshaun Presley for a 15-yard touchdown with 44.5 showing on the clock.

The extra point gave Lee’s Summit a 13-0 lead.

Eli Stewart of Truman gave the Patriots a chance to score with a kickoff return to the 45-yard line with 39 seconds left, but a three-and-out doomed a Truman rally before halftime.

“That was the game right there,” Webb said.

Lee’s Summit’s Zach Mitchell opened the third quarter with a kickoff return to the Tigers 41-yard. Two plays later Lee’s Summit faced a first-and-10 from the 32-yard line of Truman.

After a face-mask penalty against Truman, Hill hit Presley again for another 15-yard touchdown.

A missed extra point left Lee’s Summit with a 19-0 lead before Mitchell returned a blocked punt 35 yards for a touchdown.

Hill’s second touchdown run of the night, a 1-yard sneak with 2:20 remaining in the third quarter, and a fourth quarter safety was enough to secure the Tigers’ season-opening win.

Hill was quick to credit the team’s defense in Lee’s Summit’s first turn without Lock under center in three seasons.

“Shout out to the defense,” Hill said. “All summer they dominated everywhere we went and they showed in on the field tonight.”

Truman, 6-5, a season ago, will try to regroup and get its offense on track.

“We just have to execute,” said Clemons, a senior quarterback and defensive back, “and not get get down on ourselves when things go south.”