Til the bitter end

Dave Langham/Special to PrepsKC

By Brian Spano PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: October 12, 2018 - 9:51 PM

Complete stats and Box score

For more than two-and-a-half quarters, Blue Springs and Lee's Summit West looked like two heavyweight fighters just throwing jabs but neither able to land that solid knockout punch.

It took an unseen uppercut (a fake punt late in the third quarter by Cade Clemons) before they could throw the final knockout blow (a Ben Kobel to Clemons eight-yard touchdown pass) that gave the Titans just their second-ever win over the Wildcats Friday night 7-6.

Mist fell throughout the night as the Wildcats turned the ball over three times.

"Our defense was really intense, and we really hit hard," Titans head coach Vinny Careswell said. "That contributed to some of the fumbles. Anytime you win the turnover battle, you've got a chance to win. That really helped us tonight."

There were four plays that could have swung the outcome of this game in a different direction or possibly given West even a larger margin of victory.

In the second quarter, the Titans (7-1) had the ball fourth and short from the Wildcats 15-yard and opted to go for it rather than kick the field goal with score 0-0. They failed to convert and turned the ball over on downs.

On the ensuing drive, Blue Springs (5-3), and with time ticking away just before halftime, marched all the way down to the Titans 4-yard line, led by the rushing of Aveion Bailey, to set up a first and goal. On the next play, he fumbled, and West was able to run out the clock. It remained scoreless at the half.

"Three turnovers, you don't win," Blue Springs head coach Kelly Donohoe said. "That's the number one thing. We just had a myriad of mistakes. The call at the goal line, we just had an incorrect play called. We signaled something different than what actually got called by our guys, and that's frustrating we couldn't run the play we called down there."

Then there was the fake punt. Clemons has the full faith of the coaching staff to take off and run if he sees an opening. From near midfield, he saw one, and off he went to gain the first down on a fourth and long. It kept a drive alive that eventually gave the Titans a first and goal at the eight. Kobel then hit Clemons to put West up 7-0.

"They didn't have that side as packed as they usually do, and our personal protectors ran to the right and sealed the guys off and I had an open lane and thought why not and took it," Clemons said. "I could feel the offense was rolling, and I wanted to keep the momentum on our side, so I knew if I got that play, we would go from there."

All was not lost for Blue Springs however.

Finally, after a few back-and-forth series, the Wildcats got the ball on their own 33 and were able to get the ball deep into Titans territory, but a 15-yard personal foul call and a tackle for a loss drove the Wildcats back to their own 38. Koby Mansfield connected with Pasto Tapusoa for a 38-yard score, and it looked like this game could be headed to overtime. But after a timeout, Donohoe elected to go for the two-point conversion and the win. After some miscommunication in the backfield during the handoff, the try failed, and the Wildcats fate was sealed.

"We just wanted to win the game," Donohoe said about his decision to go for two. "We felt like we were wearing them down a little bit. We felt like we could line up and pick up three yards with Bailey. We had the wrong call. We signal our stuff in and for whatever reason, it got communicated wrong to our guys. It's more than one play. You lose a game on a lot of plays in a ballgame, and there are several plays we can point to, and you just move on."