Early season statement

Mike Lavieri/PrepsKC

By Mike Lavieri PrepsKC senior writer
Posted: September 9, 2016 - 9:19 PM

De Soto’s Trevor Watts wiggled his way through a small hole and found the end zone 73 yards later as the Wildcats dispatched Bonner Springs 28-0.

The return came after De Soto sacked Braves quarterback Cole Oakes for a safety to make it 15-0, De Soto with 9:26 left in the third quarter.

Any momentum Bonner Springs was going to gain from a potential 99-yard drive was squashed.

De Soto coach Brian King said the momentum swayed into his team’s favor when the pinned the Braves at the one-yard line.

“To play a game of field position, you have a kicker that can put a ball down there, that’s what sets that up,” King said. “The safety that rolls into the returned kick that definitely gets your momentum going for sure. Our offense came out pretty physical and did really well and then they started teetering out a little bit. We have to work on that, but special teams came up big for us.”

The special teams also pounced on a botched snap on a Bonner punt that, instead of kicking out of the back of the end zone for a safety, the Braves watched Chance Montgomery score a touchdown.

De Soto scored on its opening possession as quarterback Bryce Mohl kept the ball and plowed in from seven yards out.

Mohl added another score on the next possession as he scored from three yards out. De Soto elected to go for it on 4th and 1, which Mohl converted to set up his second score.

Mohl ran for 42 yards on 11 attempts. He also completed 3-of-5 passing for 26 yards.

Mason Clark was the workhorse for the Wildcats rushing for 68 yards on 14 attempts including a 25-yard scamper that helped set up Mohl’s first touchdown.

“We came into this game know it may or may not rain, so we stuck to our game plan, which is pound the ball, and that’s exactly what we did,” Clark said.

King said his team became vanilla in the second half, but that was partially due to clock management and wanting to run as much time off as possible.

The Wildcats only ran 42 total plays on the night while Bonner Springs threw the ball 37 times.

Midway through the third quarter the game was delayed for 30 minutes because of lightning. King was a tad concerned.

“I’ve been in two of these games,” King said. “One of them — a Paola game in 2010 — we had the momentum and we had one of these where we came back the next day. We were up 21 and we almost lost. You have to really watch those delays and have your kids come out and understand they have to be prepared from the first snap to get that momentum going again.”

Braves coach LaDrew Murrell used the 30-minute break as a second halftime and watched some game film to try and spark his team.

However, the damage was already done as the Braves made too many mistakes.

“We killed a lot of our momentum early by making mistakes and had a few penalties and they didn’t make very many,” Murrell said. “They were gap sound, they didn’t want to give up the big play and they didn’t give up very many of them. We really were our own worst enemy tonight.”

Besides the two botched snaps and the safety, Oakes completed 18-of-37 passing for 144 yards and two interceptions.

The Braves only ran for 33 yards on the ground on 15 attempts.

“We don’t have Connor Byers anymore,” Murrell said. “When things go wrong you push the Connor Byers button and everything’s OK after that. We have to find out who’s willing to step up and be that guy for us.”

The Braves will use this game as a learning opportunity as they are a relatively young team when it comes to starting experience.

Murrell said the defense didn’t play poorly, but the offense needs to execute better.

“The kids are going to see what it takes when we talk about attention to detail at practice,” Murrell said. “Going through the motions doesn’t work. You have to practice exactly how you plan to play on Friday night. It doesn’t just happen because the lights turn on at 7 p.m. It takes the effort we’re asking for every single day at practice, through your film study to execute at a high level.

“When you play a good football team like this, they’re not going to take no for an answer. They’re going to hit you in the mouth for four quarters and they don’t care who you are or what guys you have. We have to do a little bit better of a job, but I think this will be an eye opener and is a great opportunity to teach a lot of moments.”