Rare victory

PrepsKC staff

By Matt Gerstner PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: September 18, 2015 - 11:29 PM

Neither rain nor lightning nor 90 minute delay could deny Blue Springs South of their redemption against Rockhurst.

The Jaguars used four turnovers and 24 points in the second quarter on their way to a 37-27 victory and their first regular season win against the Hawklets since 2006 Friday night at Dasta Stadium.

“How can you not be happy coming here to win?” Jags head coach Greg Oder said of the win. “This is always a big game because our record against Rockhurst overall is not very good. So our kids get up for it just like I’m sure Rockhurst faces every week because they’re such a difficult team to beat, so any time you do you feel like you accomplished something.”

South tailback Adam Cofield caught and ran for scores and quarterback Noah Nigro threw three touchdowns, while the defense picked off Rockhurst quarterback Tyler Benninghoff three times and recovered a fumble.

“Our defense worked really hard,” Nigro said. “Our offense was clicking in the first half. Things weren’t working like we hoped they would in the second half, but our defense picked us up and everything went right.”

Both offenses started strong with touchdowns on each of their opening drives. Rockhurst took an early 6-0 lead on a 22-yard reverse to Brady McCanles that capped off an 80-yard drive. South responded with Cofield, who racked up 44 yards on three carries, including a 29-yard run to take a 7-6 lead.

AJ Taylor gave the Hawklets the lead back on the first play of the second quarter, out-speeding the Jags defense on his way to a 51-yard touchdown run. Blue Springs South answered back again to take a one-point lead, this time on a 27-yard dime of a pass from Nigro to Briley Moore-McKinney.

“Coach just said keep pushing and we’ll get the job done. Rockhurst was coming hard, and we just had to come harder,” Cofield said.

Cofield made the most of his first catch of the year, as well. After the Jags recovered a fumbled snap, Cofield snagged a screen pass and broke three tackles on his way to the endzone to give South a 21-13 lead early in the second quarter. Nigro made it a two-score game, leading a 64-yard drive before hitting Jake Lamb on a three-yard touchdown pass to make it 28-13.

While the offense did their work, the Jag defense shut down Taylor and the Rockhurst offense, not allowing the talented running back to get in space and picking off a Benninghoff pass on third long late in the second quarter that led to a 24-yard field goal by Jake Roark to make it 31-13 with five seconds left in the second quarter.

Taylor, however, would get one more shot in before the half. Roark squibbed the kickoff, and Taylor would pick it up and go 81 yards for the score to pull the Rockhurst back within striking distance at 31-19.

The defenses held each team’s offense in check for the third quarter before the Hawklets looked to have life early in the final quarter. Rockhurst drove into the Jagauar red zone before Ricky Nichols intercepted a Benninghoff pass and took it 91 yards the other way to put the game away in the end.

“He was where he was supposed to be, and he showed off his speed,” Oder said of the play.

Rockhurst would go down fighting as Benninhoff found Taylor, who finished with over 200 all-purpose yards, near the sidelines on a 22-yard touchdown pass, and the defense came up with a blocked punt through the back of the end zone to add two more to make it a 10-point game.

But Moore-McKinney would seal the deal with the third and final interception for the Jag defense with less than three minutes left.

“We’d like to play the whole game confidently all the way through, but we got the win so you can’t be upset about that,” Nigro said.

The win puts South at 5-0 on the season with a home game against Raytown next week. For Rockhurst, however, they are now 1-4 with a rivalry matchup with also 1-4 Blue Springs looming. But head coach Tony Severino saw a lot of positives come out of Friday night.

“We played our best half of football tonight,” he said. “Our offense did some really good things even though our quarterback is still a little banged up. People have to remember it’s only his second game, and you saw what AJ Taylor did, and our defense got better. We grew up a lot tonight.”