Coming right at you

Ryan Wallace/PrepsKC

By Ryan Wallace PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: October 21, 2017 - 12:20 AM

They may have been down 21-6, but Blue Valley had reason to rejoice after holding St. Thomas Aquinas on a fourth and one at their own 39-yard line with 5:54 remaining in the second quarter. After all, it was the first time the Saints starting offense had left the field without scoring a touchdown in over two weeks (14 drives to be exact).

Sadly, for the visitors, just four-downs and a mere 28-seconds later, the Tigers relinquished possession themselves, giving way for a three-play scoring drive as freshman Tank Young capped off what quickly became a 28-6 lead.

It was that kind of night for the Tigers and that kind of performance from the Saints as Aquinas rolled 47-20 in the regular season finale for the EKL powers. 

“Other than that fourth-down we didn't get,” said Aquinas head coach Randy Dreiling, referencing his starting offense’s lone fourth-down failure, the only blemish for the team as a whole in an EKL rout. “It was a pretty remarkable streak. I don’t know if I’ve ever had that before.”

As they’ve done so often already in 2017, backfield teammates Will Swanson and Cameron Jackson did the majority of the work on the scoreboard, as the senior quarterback (three touchdowns) and junior running back (two touchdowns) crossed the goal line five times as a duo. What was different on this evening however was the speed at which Aquinas scored, twice finding the end zone on drives of five plays or less.

“Execution,” noted defeated Blue Valley head coach Allen Terrell on the glaring mistakes of his team. “Against a team like that, they force you into poor execution with their ability to play and overall athleticism. That’s a good team.”

Even receiver Jack Morrissey and the passing game found success on Friday for Aquinas, as the senior hauled in a 64-yard sideline scamper that set up Young’s second touchdown early in the second half.

On the other side, Blue Valley’s typically potent offense, which entered having scored a combined 87-points over their past two games, struggled to overcome a strong defensive front at the line of scrimmage. While senior Blake Brown made the score 14-6 early in the second quarter on a quick slant route, the Tigers missed the two-point try and dropped countless other chances to move the chains as the game progressed.

“This wasn’t the way we wanted to come in (to the playoffs),” concluded Terrell, whose team finishes the regular season 5-3 and fourth in the EKL but may likely wind up as the No. 2 seed in the 6A East bracket. “But if there’s one thing this group does, they do go to work and if I know them, we’ll have a great week of practice.”

For the Saints, who finish the regular season at 7-1 and appear set as the No. 2 seed on the East side of the 5A bracket, maybe no team in the classification enters the postseason on a stronger note and that’s a positive rhythm Dreiling and company plan to capitalize on starting early next week.

“That was our objective- to go to the playoffs with a lot of momentum,” finished Dreiling. “Hopefully you get a high seed and work from there, but come Monday it’ll be business as usual.”