Winning ugly

Steve Bubalo

By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: October 13, 2016 - 10:12 PM

In a game ruled by defense - and penalties - it was no surprise that both came into play on the game’s final drive and allowed Raytown South to squeeze past crosstown rival Raytown Thursday night for a 13-10 victory.

“The defense played great,” Cardinals head coach Nick Adkins said. “Before the game we talked about wanting the game on our shoulders and having to make plays and we were able to do that.”

The Cardinals led the entire game and took a 13-3 advantage into the fourth quarter before the Blue Jays made things interesting.

Thanks to a couple of personal foul penalties by the Cardinals, the Blue Jays were able to capitalize and would score on a 1-yard Antonio Williams run to make it 13-10 with 8 minutes, 12 seconds left in the game.

“The kids made some plays to keep us in it,” Blue Jays head coach Kevin Page said.

On the ensuing drive, despite not putting any points on the board, the Raytown South offense would run a little more than 4 minutes off the clock and got into Blue Jay territory before their drive stalled.

Then, like they had throughout the game, the Blue Jays would shoot themselves in the foot on offense.

With 3:59 left on their own 27-yard line, the Raytown offense started its drive with a delay of game, which was made more frustrating due to technical difficulties at the stadium that made the play clock on the field unusable during the game. Next came a big pass play that went into Cardinal territory that was called back due to an illegal shift.

All of a sudden it was first-and-20.

“We certainly didn’t help ourselves with our mistakes,” Page said. “We have to continue to be better in the moment when the pressure is high.”

The Cardinal defense would get a sack on first down and would force an incompletion on second. A 16-yard pass from Jake Smirl to Devin Drew would make for a manageable fourth-and-7, but Smirl’s pass would fall incomplete and the Cardinals would run out the clock for the win.

“The team that makes the least amount of mistakes wins,” Adkins said.

That was never more evident than during this rivalry game. While both teams had penalty problems, the Cardinals won the turnover battle with three interceptions, two of which led to field goals.

With Raytown South up 3-0 in the second quarter, the biggest penalty of the night reared its head for the Blue Jays. The Cardinal offense faced a third-and-15 from the Blue Jay 29 and the pass fell incomplete, but a roughing the passer penalty led to an automatic first down.

Four plays later, on fourth-and-2, Sahron Cunningham scampered into the end zone from 6 yards out to make it 10-0.

Raytown would connect on a 24-yard field goal from Jesus Ruiz right before the half to make it 10-3.

What would end up being the deciding field goal in the game happened late in the third quarter after another Blue Jay mistake. A high snap on a punt forced punter Jesse Nickel back into his own end zone. He picked up the ball and tried to make a play with his arm but was intercepted by Raytown South’s Lawrence Parker, his second of the game.

Several plays later Bradley Rogers connected on a 20-yard field goal to make it 13-3.

“They were huge,” Adkins said of the turnovers. “Emotion is the No. 1 thing in football.”

Added Page, “The turnovers were too much. When you do that you don’t often find yourself coming out on top.”

Both teams will now rest up and get ready for playoff action starting next Friday night. Raytown South has the chance at the No. 1 seed going into districts, as they are now 5-4. Raytown heads into the postseason 2-7.