Wildcats roar to eight straight win

Lorrie Kanenbley/Special to PrepsKC

By Cole Young PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: October 10, 2015 - 1:10 AM

For a half, it appeared the showdown between undefeated Harrisonville and undefeated Odessa was going to be a shootout.

But as quickly as the two teams rolled up and down the field in the first half, the Wildcats seized control, handing the Bulldogs their first loss of the season 55-23, while improving their own record to 8-0.

Trailing 23-21 at the half, the Wildcats took over on both sides of the ball in the third quarter, outscoring Odessa 20-0.

“We made some defensive adjustments at halftime and our defense really woke up,” Harrisonville head coach Brent Maxwell said.

Perhaps the biggest thing the Wildcats defense did in the second half was figure out a way to slow down Odessa running back Kobe Hardin. Hardin had 135 yards on 18 carries in the first half, but he and the rest of the Bulldogs didn’t find the end zone in the second half.

Not until the Wildcats turned the ball over in their own territory were the Bulldogs able to move the ball past midfield in the second half.

Meanwhile the Harrisonville offense clicked the entire night. The Wildcats did not punt the ball and scored on all but three possessions, which ended with a pair of fumbles and a blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown.

“Our offense has had trouble getting started,” said quarterback Chance Chamberlain. “A lot of times it’s the first quarter that’s slow, then the second quarter is good, then third is slow, but tonight it felt good to go out and play well from the start.”

Chamberlain certainly did his part behind an effective offensive line.

The senior quarterback ran for four touchdowns and threw for another in what was the highest point output of the season for Harrisonville.

Early on the typically option-based Wildcats threw the ball more than normal including four passes that went for over 30 yards apiece.

“We knew they were going to load up the box on us,” Chamberlain said. “We wanted to throw it a little bit and get them to spread out, which would give us a chance to run the option more.”

For Odessa, who entered the game ranked No.4 in Class 3, a loss to the No. 4 team in Class 4 is one that provides a measuring stick as the regular season winds down.

“I was telling someone today that this game was an opportunity,” Odessa coach Mark Thomas said. “It was an opportunity to see where we are at against a very good opponent from a bigger class.”

The victory gave Harrisonville at least a share of the Missouri River Valley Conference Western Division title, something it can win outright next week against rival Pleasant Hill, the last team to beat Harrisonville at home in the regular season.