BS South tops Ray-Pec for fourth straight win
By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
Sometimes it’s amazing how quickly the momentum can shift in a high school football game. Friday night’s game between Blue Springs South and Raymore-Peculiar is a perfect example.
With three minutes, 47 seconds left in the third quarter the Panthers scored a touchdown to take a 27-14 lead after the point-after was blocked. They were using long drives to wear down the Jaguar defense, constantly converting on third-down.
But in less than three minutes of game time, South sandwiched two touchdowns around a fumble recovery and suddenly they had a 28-27 lead. They tacked on another in the fourth quarter and avoided a late Panther rally for a 35-33 victory.
“We had confidence in each other,” South quarterback Camden Sprouse said. “We knew we could come back. We had to execute and believe in each other.”
“In high school football, a lot of it comes down to momentum and emotion,” Ray-Pec head coach Tom Kruse said.
Down 27-14, South put together a quick scoring drive, aided by a 45-yard connection between Sprouse and D.J. Frost. Four plays later, facing fourth-and-1, Sprouse found Sage Nelson on a slant route for the score to make it 27-21.
That play seemed to start the momentum shift.
“That gave us a spark,” Sprouse said of the touchdown. “From that moment we were better as a team. Sage made a great play.”
Two plays later, the Jaguars recovered a Ray-Pec fumble on the Panther 17-yard line.
After two unsuccessful plays, South set up a screen pass perfectly on third-and-10, as Sprouse got the ball out just in time to Frost who made one man miss before finding the end zone and giving South its first lead at 28-27.
“We put ourselves in some second- and third-and-long situations,” South head coach Jon Oyler said. “We converted some big plays. Our offense saved us.”
While the offense may have saved the Jaguars, the defense came through with some big stops in the fourth quarter. After the go-ahead touchdown, the defense forced a punt and on the next Panther possession, they stopped quarterback Grant Ardito short on a fourth-and-1.
“They were relentless in the second half,” Oyler said of the defense. “We want that all the time.”
With the ball and needing to run some clock, Sprouse struck again, extending a third-and-15 play with his legs and finding Jerome Hawkins down the sideline for a 40-yard gain. Two plays later Hawkins found the end zone from 11 yards out for a 35-27 lead.
“I didn’t see anyone open, so I just went outside of the pocket and tried to make a play,” Sprouse said.
“He kept quite a few plays alive and guys got open,” Oyler said of his quarterback. “The cornerbacks came off our receivers because they were worried about him running on that play.”
Kruse said that ability from Sprouse made for some crucial plays.
“The quarterback kept it going,” he said. “That’s the frustrating thing, that sometimes you have to cover for eight or nine seconds with him. You can’t lose sight of your guy.”
The Jaguars had to sweat out the final moments a bit. After the defense recovered another fumble, the offense stalled and was forced to punt. The snap flew over punter Jake Roark’s head and into the end zone, which Ray-Pec’s Mason Pratt recovered for a touchdown. But the defense held strong once more on the ensuing two-point conversion, forcing running back Trent Mitchell to the sideline and his dive for the pile-on came up short.
“It’s a play we do in practice specifically for that,” Kruse said. “He has the option to throw and he thought he could get to the pile-on. You have to give Blue Springs South credit, they cut him short.”
The loss dropped Ray-Pec to 4-2 on the season, and they have another tough test next week when they travel to Park Hill.
South has now won four straight and is also 4-2. They head to 5-1 Lee’s Summit next Friday a much different team from Week 1, as evidenced by the second half.
“Our kids played so hard in the second half,” Oyler said. “We trust ourselves better. Early on we were figuring out who we were. We still had faith tonight in each other and we didn’t panic when we were down.”
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