Miege rolls Paola to move to semifinals
By Sean Kosednar PrepsKC staff writer
Paola brought their 9-2 record north to the 10-1 Bishop Miege Stags. Despite finding themselves down 7-0 the Stags rattled off nine unanswered touchdowns en route to a 65-14 win.
Things started well for the Panthers. First, they stopped Miege on fourth down on the first possession of the game. Then Paola put together a long drive culminating in a 15 yard touchdown run by senior running back Nathan Staats. Staats took the handoff behind the right tackle and broke into the secondary, and he finished the run by flattening the defender at the goal-line.
“[Staats] has been like that all year,” head coach Mike Dumpert said. “We have rode him all year. He had 1,400 yards coming into tonight. He plays hard.”
It looked like it was going to be the Panthers’ night when they recovered an onside kick. It would be downhill for the rest of the night for Paola.
“We knew they were going to come out ready to play us,” Stags head coach Jon Holmes said. “It was a gut check for our guys. They took the shot in the mouth and were able to get up and make plays the rest of the night.”
It only took Miege two plays to tie the game. First Dawson Downing busted a 35-yard run. Then Nolan Gray caught a swing pass in the right flat and took it 40 yards to the house.
Downing scored his first touchdown of the night on the Stags’ next possession. The senior running back ran left, and he looked to be tackled when a Panther defender had a hold of his jersey, but Downing kept his legs churning and broke free for a 48 yard score.
“We feel Dawson Downing is the best player in the city,” Holmes said, “and he showed that tonight. They took a guy out of the box and Dawson made them pay for that the whole entire night.”
Miege recovered an onside kick of its own. The short field set up another Downing touchdown. This time from six yards out Downing danced around two defenders at the line of scrimmage.
The scoring continued as sophomore Cameron Clark scored the first of his three touchdowns on the night. Clark sped through the line and 60 yards later he finally stopped in the end zone. Clark had two second half touchdowns as well 59 and 15 yards respectively. The speedy back managed to score all three without a defender laying a finger on him.
Junior wide receiver phenom Jafar Armstrong face double coverage most of the night, but late in the first half Armstrong managed to join in on the scoring. He caught a bubble screen and cut back inside and used a bone-crushing block to score a 22-yard touchdown.
Armstrong scored on the Stags’ first possession of the second half as well. Armstrong only had to beat one man for this score. He looked to be blanketed, but as the ball came his way Armstrong out jumped the cornerback and took the ball from the defender for the 30-yard touchdown.
“You can’t stop all their weapons,” Dumpert said. “You try to put one thing down and they do something else. That’s why they are able to beat people the way they do.”
Sophomore quarterback Conner Putz found a wide-open Landry Webber on a seam route for a 40 yard touchdown.
The Panthers would score the game’s final touchdown in the fourth quarter when Dalton Rankin found pay dirt from 10 yards out. Despite the late touchdown Holmes was still pleased with his team’s defense.
“[Paola] is good on offense,” Holmes said, ”they do so many different things that can beat you. Our guys took the challenge tonight. We kind of challenged them this week. The one loss this year we gave up 425 yards on the ground and that’s not what we wanted to do tonight.”
Bishop Miege travels to Eudora for a sub-state match up Friday with a trip to the state championship on the line.
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