Grain Valley tops Excelsior Springs
By Mike Lavieri PrepsKC senior writer
After making some good fortune for itself in the first half, Grain Valley’s football team fashioned perhaps its best all-around game Friday against visiting Excelsior Springs.
Twice, with the defense backed up within spitting distance of the goal line, the Eagles forced a fumble for a turnover, leading to a 6-0 halftime edge. The offense then got rolling in the second half, and Eagles claimed a 29-6 win that clinched at least a share of the Missouri River Valley West title.
Grain Valley (5-3 overall) takes a 3-1 conference mark into next week’s regular season finale against Oak Grove, with every other team either at 2-2 or 1-3.
“Yeah, definitely (our most complete game),” said Grain Valley senior linebacker Cody Richardson, who had at least three stops behind the line of scrimmage. “That’s the most we’ve scored all year, and we were hoping for the shutout, but that’s OK.”
Richardson forced the second Excelsior Springs (5-3, 2-2) fumble, crunching quarterback Peyton Soria as he tried to make a handoff from the 5-yard line. Taylor Whittle recovered that loose ball.
Back in the first quarter, the Tigers returned the opening kickoff to the Grain Valley 43 and drove down to the 3. On second-and-goal, Grain Valley stonewalled Excelsior back C.J. Rhodes, then ripped the ball away for a key turnover.
“I think it was me,” Richardson said. “But I’ll have to watch the tape.”
All told, the Eagles limited the Tigers to 177 yards on the ground and Soria to 8-of-19 passing for 68 yards.
“Our defensive line got it done,” Richardson said. “We hit it hard in practice, preparing for the veer, and we’d seen it (two weeks ago) against Harrisonville.
“Coming in, they’re doing a great job,” Grain Valley coach David Allie said of the Excelsior Springs. “Coach (Mark) Faubion has done a great job turning around the program. Our defensive staff put together a great game plan to stop their run.”
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