SM West tops SM Northwest
By Sean Kosednar PrepsKC staff writer
Shawnee Mission West squared off against the Shawnee Mission Northwest Cougars Thursday. An even match up was busted open by the Vikings with 13 points in the 58 seconds of the first half. West built on the halftime lead and eventually won 39 - 20.
After punting on its opening drive, West forced a turnover on the Cougars’ third play from scrimmage. Senior corner back Siris Manning made an easy interception with no offensive players near him at the 16 of Northwest. Five plays later Kirby Grigsby punched in his first touchdown of the day.
“[SMNW] did a great job early,” Shawnee Mission West head coach Tim Callaghan said. “It was important to get on the right track and turnovers are always nice so it was good to get that going.”
It looked like West doubled their lead when quarterback Zach Witters scrambled 23 yards, but the touchdown was nullified by a holding penalty. The next play Witters floated a jump ball to the end zone and was picked off by AJ Patterson.
“Defensively I thought it was the best half of football we played all year,” Shawnee Mission Northwest head coach Bo Black said. “We ran out of gas, and had two or three kids hurt which hurts us because we aren’t that deep. I was proud of the effort we played with all night.”
Well into the second quarter after both teams had traded punts, the Northwest offense started to get some momentum. Sophomore quarterback Spencer Stewart stood tall in the pocket and launched a 40 yard pass to Devonte Smith on the post pattern. Smith hauled the pass as Stewart took a big hit just after releasing the ball. The long pass set up Stewart finding a wide open Peyton Carder for the tying touchdown with five minutes left in the first half.
A penalty on the kick return backed the Vikings up inside their own five to start their next drive. Witters expertly navigated the Vikings out of the shadow of their own goal line and down the field converting a fourth down on the way. Eventually, Grigsby put score on a dive from the two with just under a minute left. The ensuing kick was short, and it was fumbled by the Cougars and recovered by West on the 35 yard line.
“It was a planned kick,” Callaghan said. “We thought we would pooch it up there and see if we could get it.”
Witters then ran the option left. After the senior cut up field it looked like the play was going to be over after a gain of eight. Witters had other plans as he pitched the ball to Grigsby streaking down the sideline who took the ball the rest of the 27 yards for West’s second touchdown in a matter of seconds.
“That was exactly how we drew it up,” Callaghan said wryly. “We tell the kids to stay in good pitch relationship the whole time. That’s not exactly how we draw it up, but that is what they are supposed to do so it is good they listened.”
The Viking defense came out of halftime and forced a punt Northwest’s first possession of the second half. Witters increased his team’s lead by dropping a 40 yard play action pass right into Kye Harris’ hands for another touchdown. This put West up 26-7 with 9:00 left in the third quarter.
Witters added a touchdown of his own on West’s next possession. It was fourth and inches and one of the rare times he went under center. Witters took the snap and faked the sneak running around the right edge. The senior used his speed to avoid two tacklers downfield and scored West’s fifth touchdown of the night.
“He is playmaker,” Callaghan said. “He trusts himself and the kids trust him. He wants the ball in his hands, but he knows that sometimes he needs to five it up.”
Senior Xavier Perry wouldn’t let the Cougars go quietly into the night. Late in the third quarter The Vikings fumble a Northwest punt and Perry hustles down to scoop up the ball. The running back was rewarded three plays later when he would score on a short run cutting West’s lead to 32-14.
Early in the fourth quarter Perry jumped the route and picked Witters off returning the ball the Viking 36 yard line. After getting into the red zone Stewart found Perry on an inside screen for a 12 yard touchdown. A failed two point attempt left the Cougars trailing 32-20 with 10 minutes left to play.
“He is one of the few kids we have that play both sides of the ball,” Black said. “He plays hard on both sides and he played really well tonight.”
That would be as close as the Cougars got. West would add a touchdown to seal the game and mark Tim Callaghan’s 100th win at Shawnee Mission west.
“I have had great coaches and a lot of really good players,” Callaghan said. “Just really fortunate to be in a place to get 100.”
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