St. Joe Central rallies to beat Raytown
By Cody Thorn The St. Joseph News-Press
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.
Lafayette County Huskers
Van Horn Falcons
Appleton City Bulldogs
Santa Fe Chiefs
Ruskin Golden Eagles
Shawnee Mission West Vikings
Lawrence Free State Firebirds
Mid Buchanan Dragons
Bonner Springs Braves
University Academy Gryphons
Missouri Military Academy
Olathe South Falcons
Excelsior Springs Tigers