St. Joe Central rallies to beat Raytown

By Cody Thorn The St. Joseph News-Press
Posted: October 7, 2016 - 10:24 PM

Phil Pitts preached resiliency and staying together many times in the first weeks of his tenure at Central.

A series of tough losses earlier this season built the character that shined in the final minute during a 36-30 victory against Raytown on Friday night at Ted Chittwood Stadium.

Central rallied from a two-possession deficit in the final quarter and the defense provided two key plays to seal a second-straight win. None of plays were as big as the pass breakup by Cade Musser, who knocked down a pass with 6.5 seconds left to deny the Bluejays on a fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line.

While the defensive play didn't erase the heartbreak from close losses to Lafayette, Park Hill South and Truman, it marked a turning point.

“We haven't come out on top in any of the close games,” Musser said. “We had a tough time finishing. When you come down to the end of the game, the adrenaline is pumping so much. There is no better feeling then winning a close game like that.

“We can come out on top in tight ball games. We are good enough to pull through in the end. It is a good confidence booster for us.”

The pass breakup came as Jake Smirl rolled to his right and threw a pass toward Desmond Hutson, but Musser had the inside position and knocked it to the turf in the end zone.

It also provided a bit of redemption for the junior, who got his hands on a pass eight plays earlier, but the ball bounced off his hands and to Dominic Gicinto, who turned it into a 16-yard gain and moved the Bluejays (2-6, 1-4 Suburban Red) to the Indians' 17-yard line with 56.9 seconds left. Clinging to a touchdown lead, the Central defense bent but didn't break. Musser had a pass breakup on third down with 10.5 to go, which set up the game-sealing play seconds later.

The final 12 minutes featured some eventful moments.

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