BV North crushes BV Northwest

By Kyle Palmer PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: September 2, 2017 - 11:34 AM



Blue Valley North quarterback Graham Mertz says he waited two years for a night like Friday’s season opener at Blue Valley District Athletic Complex.

A backup the last two seasons at Bishop Miege, Mertz transferred to North before the summer. The junior impressed in his debut versus Eastern Kansas League rival Blue Valley Northwest—six touchdowns, 276 yards on 24-of-36 passing, and no interceptions—leading the Mustangs to a convincing 48-13 win.

“It was a fun experience. It was a night to just let it all out,” Mertz said.

His coach Andy Sims thinks he’ll only get better.

“He’s like everyone else in week one: he made a ton of mistakes. But it’s exciting to see how he’s going to grow this season. He’s like me: he constantly wants to get better,” Sims said.

If that’s the case, then the bar has been set high after Week One.

The Mustangs took charge early. An interception by Jordan Mayfield on Northwest’s first play from scrimmage set up North’s offense at the Huskies’ 9. On fourth-and-goal, Mertz found Timothy Foster for the first of his half-dozen scores.

“He’s a confident quarterback with a strong arm. He’s a good leader, and he sets up the offense well,” said Will Emery, North’s star defensive lineman and a University of Kansas commit.

Mertz added another touchdown toss later in the quarter to running back Grant Hamel, this one an impressive 23-yard strike while stepping up to avoid pressure.

“He’s a big guy. A lot of people refer to him as a pocket passer, but that’s not necessarily the case. He’s elusive and hard to take down,” Sims said.

Down 14-0, Northwest dug a deeper hole. On the ensuing possession, quarterback Sam Sliefert was picked off by North linebacker Thatcher Robertson, who ran it back 30 yards for a score.

Sliefert, who was shaken up a play earlier, sat out the rest of the game with an apparent ankle injury.

“There’s a saying: football is evaluation-friendly. This program was evaluated tonight,” said Northwest coach Clint Rider, who is in his first season with the Huskies after leading Hesston to the Kansas Class 3A state championship game last season.

“We know the state of our program versus a good EKL team, and we have a lot of work to do,” he said.

North added to its lead in the second quarter as Mertz threw two more touchdowns—a second to Hamel and another to tight end Dylan Freberg. Both scores were aided by short fields, after the Huskies turned the ball over on downs and threw another interception on consecutive possessions.

Despite the loss, Northwest coach Rider sees hope. All he has to do is look across the field at the Mustangs.

“They were in this spot three or four years ago,” he said. “We are laying the foundation. Hopefully, we’ll look better by week six, working on a new system. We have a lot of guys who are taking their first varsity snaps.”

The Huskies did score two late touchdowns: a 34-yard scamper by running back Edwards Thomas and a 39-yard strike from quarterback Payton Hartman to wide receiver Tanner Sample.

Those came only after Mertz threw two more touchdowns to Hamel in a breezy third quarter before taking a seat on the bench. After an impressive debut, he might have already been thinking how to top it next week.

In Week Two, Blue Valley hosts St. Thomas Aquinas. Blue Valley Northwest goes on the road at two-time defending Kansas 5A champion Mill Valley.