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Nick Smith/PrepsKC

By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: August 25, 2017 - 10:55 PM



The Rockhurst offense doesn’t have that big-play ability like they have in the past, so they let the special teams take care of the big play Friday night, while the offense would grind down the Blue Springs South defense in a 27-7 win.

“Last week we didn’t play Rockhurst football,” Rockhurst running back Brady McCanles said of a 17-14 loss to Columbia Rock Bridge. “We had to get back to our roots. We emphasized pounding the ball. We went back to our brand of football - running and defense.”

While those two areas led the way, it was the special teams that had maybe the biggest play of the day.

Blue Springs South held a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter and it appeared they would extend that lead on their next drive, as Nathan Rockwell connected on a 35-yard field goal, but a false start call forced a retry. On the second attempt, Rockhurst’s Jacob Sykes busted through the line and blocked the kick, allowing teammate Chris Castrop to pick it up and run it back 76 yards for a score and a 7-7 tie.

“That blocked field goal was a game-turner,” Hawklets head coach Tony Severino said. “That’s why you tell them to never rest on the play.”

It was another case of mental mistakes hurting the Jaguars, which has been a theme early in the season. 

“They could have called a false start on three different guys,” Oyler said of the first attempt. “Now you push it back and it makes it a harder kick.”

Castrop would get on the board again midway through the second quarter with a 9-yard end-around run. The missed point-after made it 13-7, which would be the score at halftime.

After that, the Rockhurst offense went into ball-control mode and the Jaguars defense didn’t have an answer. The Hawklets put together their most impressive drive of the early season, letting Brady McCanles and the offensive line do a majority of the work. They put together a 16-play, 76-yard drive that took up 7 minutes, 47 seconds and was capped by a 3-yard score from McCanles.

“At haltime we emphasized coming out on the first drive and killing their will to keep playing,” McCanles said. “We wanted to bleed the clock and keep their offense off the field. The offensive line was amazing. We knew we could get our power running game going.”

Added Severino, “That was one of the better drives we’ve had in years. We just executed everything we wanted to do. That was vintage Rockhurst football.”

McCanles had seven carries for 34 yards on the drive, while the Hawklets also went four-of-four on third-down conversions.

“I think we held them to less than 100 yards of offense in the first half,” Oyler said, “but they’ve got some big boys on the offensive line and they pounded it in the second half. We just have to find a way to get off the field.”

Rockhurst would tack on one more touchdown late in the fourth quarter when McCanles scampered in from 3 yards out to make it 27-7.

“We’re a second half team,” McCanles said. “We’ve been a little sloppy early on in games, but the second half is where we truly shine.”

Blue Springs South got on the board first thanks in large part to a 76-yard pass from quarterback Brody Parker to DJ Frost, and three plays later Austin Terry was in the end zone from 4 yards out for a 7-0 lead.

But that was the only big play the Jaguars would get from the offense. They would only amass eight first downs for the game.

“We just have to continue to work and get better,” Oyler said.

The Jaguars will look for their first win of the season next week when they travel to Lee’s Summit North, while Rockhurst will host Bentonville, Ark.