St. Joe Central gets first win over Blue Springs
By Cody Thorn The St. Joseph News-Press
This time, there would be no fourth-quarter heartbreak for Central.
For the first time this season Central maintained a late lead and held on for a 49-31 victory over Blue Springs Friday night at Noyes Field.
A pair of touchdowns in each of the first two quarters helped set the tone for the Indians, who witnessed leads the previous two weeks against Platte County and Truman disappear late.
The combination of the hot hand of quarterback Jacob Hess and Blue Springs miscues in the first half allowed Central to race out to a 28-3 lead, which became the school’s first-ever win over the Class 6 school.
Isreal Smith became the biggest reason why Central won as the junior ran for a career-high 283 yards on only 17 carries and scored four touchdowns – two in each half – to spark the Indians.
“I feel like we really came together as a team and we realized how good we can be if we play together,” said Smith, who turns 17 on Sunday. “We felt like we needed to bounce back (from the losses) and we felt this was the game to do it.”
Hess threw a touchdown, caught another and went 10-for-11 passing in the first half to help the Indians overcome an early 3-0 deficit. He finished 14 of 15 through the air for 190 yards.
The Wildcats (0-4) marched down the field and scored on their first possession of the game after forcing Central to punt after six plays.
Blue Springs moved down to the Central 11 before a sack by Xzavion Green pushed them back to the 17-yard line and set up Keith McFarlane’s 32-yard field goal.
A mere 22 seconds after that play the Indians grabbed the lead for good.
On the second play on the ensuing drive Smith scored the first of two first-half touchdowns when he broke up the middle and then outran the Wildcats defenders down their own sideline for a 53-yard scoring dash.
A minute after that score, the Indians found the end zone again. Blue Springs fumbled on its third play of the drive and on the first play the Indians (1-3) went to a little trickier.
Smith went into quarterback in a wildcat set and handed off to wide receiver Cade Musser, who then threw to the 6-foot-5 Hess, who outjumped Rayvon Lewis for a score and a 14-3 lead.
Blue Springs came up short on a fourth-and-5 attempt at the Central 36 and that turnover set up the next score for Central. Three plays into the drive, Hess hit Smith for a 55-yard screen play that foiled a blitz. Six plays later – and four plays into the second quarter – Hess’ first touchdown pass gave Central a 21-3 lead.
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