Fireworks show at Blue Valley

Susie Gurley/Special to PrepsKC

By Rob Ladd PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: September 18, 2015 - 11:55 PM

In a back-and-forth shootout that produced more than 1,000 yards of total offense, it was a defensive stand in the second quarter that broke the game open and helped power Blue Valley to a 42-35 win over Bishop Miege.

The Tigers and Stags traded touchdowns in the first half until the score was 21-21. Bishop Miege seemed set for another quick scoring drive when quarterback Carter Putz found Jafar Armstrong for a 22-yard gain that set up the Stags with a first down on their own 46.

Then Blue Valley’s defense made three plays that changed the game.

For the first 17 minutes of play, Putz had his way with the Tigers defense. He repeatedly found Stag receivers for big gains, including touchdown passes of 38, 33, and 86 yards. He converted several third and longs, and seemed to be completely in control of the game when the ball was in his hands.

But on his first drop back of the Stags next drive, Putz was driven into the ground by Blue Valley’s Carter Moravek. The next play Blue Valley’s Tanner Fox shot the gap to stop a Bishop Miege runner for no gain. Facing third and 10, Putz was swarmed by a host of Tiger defenders and finally brought down by Jake Watkins.

Bishop Miege was forced to punt for the first time, and the 22-yard kick gave Blue Valley the ball at their own 37-yard line. Eight plays later Tigers running back Will Evans scored on a 13-yard run, giving Blue Valley their first lead of the game. The Tigers went into halftime up 28-21.

“That stop was huge for the momentum of the game,” Blue Valley head coach Eric Driskell said.

The first half was a tale of two drastically different offenses. Blue Valley’s three-headed running attack of quarterback Colton McCumber and running backs A.J. Totta and Will Evans combined for more than 200 rushing yards in the first two quarters.

Bishop Miege was led by a sophomore gunslinger in Putz, who finished with 352 passing yards and four touchdowns, connecting on 17 of 29 passing attempts. His favorite target was Jafar Armstrong, the recipient of two first half touchdown throws.

“We feel he’s the best wide-out in the city,” Bishop Miege head coach Jon Holmes said. “You saw some adjustments Blue Valley had to make. They brought a safety over every time he was over there…and Jafar was able to still make some plays out there for us.”

Armstrong finished with seven catches for 187 yards and two touchdowns.

As the game wore on, Blue Valley’s rushing attack seemed to wear down the Bishop Miege defense. Heading the effort was stalwart Totta, who broke multiple tackles on virtually every run, often carrying two or three Stag defenders with him down the field.

“It’s what I pride myself with,” Totta said. “Just go and hit people. A lot of people don’t think I can make moves, but I feel like I did make some moves today. But that’s what I like to do, is hit people.”

Totta finished with 166 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns. Evans followed him with 119 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns. McCumber added 98 yards and two scores.

Bishop Miege was able to answer after Blue Valley went up 14 in the third quarter, and again in the fourth, coming within one score of a tie after Cameron Clark’s 80-yard touchdown run.

But the Blue Valley rushing attack was too much, slowly winding down the clock before the Tiger defense forced a turnover-on-downs with seconds left in the game. Blue Valley prevailed 42-35.

“Most games when we play them,” Driskell said, “it’s a bought until the end. What can I say? Just a great football game.”