Can't top the Rock

Dave Langham/Special to PrepsKC

By Dave McQueen PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: November 5, 2018 - 10:21 AM

It took a while for Rockhurst to get untracked Friday night. But once the Hawklets got going, they were almost unstoppable.

Rockhurst is going on to the Class 6 District 4 championship game after downing Lee’s Summit West 38-14 in a semifinal at West. To get to that showdown next Friday against Lee’s Summit North, Rockhurst (10-2) had to bounce back after LS West drove into the end zone after the opening kickoff and held the Hawklets to three and outs on their first three possessions.

But come back the Hawklets did, and on both sides of the ball. Rockhurst’s secondary picked off three passes and ran back one for a touchdown. And after the Hawklets softened up LS West’s defense in the second half, Rockhurst running back Michael Johnson gained most of his 153 yards and scored all three of his touchdowns.

“Sometimes it takes a while to get a feel for the game,” Rockhurst coach Tony Severino said. “Our defense finally got a feel for what they were doing on offense, catching up with the speed and our offense finally got a feel for what we could do and what we couldn’t do against their defense.”

LS West (9-2) started the game with a 14-play drive that running back Taylor Wilson capped with a 1-yard run on fourth down. Rockhurst, meanwhile, couldn’t pick up a first down until the second quarter.

But the momentum quickly turned Rockhurst’s way late in the second quarter when the Hawklets put up three scores in the final four minutes of the first half. A 42-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Luke Boehm to Joseph Coit tied the score, and LS West’s ensuing possession ended with safety Cooper Krezek picking off a pass by Titans quarterback Sammy Cooper at midfield and running it in untouched.

Owen Larson kicked a 48-yard field goal as time expired, and Rockhurst had a 17-7 lead at halftime.

“We knew coming into the game they were going to test us passing-wise,” Krezek said. “We had a great week of practice working on it and we just brought it to the field and played well.”

Kobel, who was averaging 240 passing yards per game, managed only 114 yards against the Hawklets, who pressured him in the pocket most of the second half. The Titans finished with 192 total yards off offense and hurt themselves with costly penalties and other mistakes.

“You’re not going to win a football game against Rockhurst with four turnovers,” LS West coach Vinny Careswell said. “Hats off to them. They battled back after we got up on them and played Rockhurst football. They’re tough.”

Johnson scored his first TD on the second play of the third quarter when he found a big hole up the middle for a 34-yard run and a 24-7 lead. The senior added another score on a tackle-breaking 32-yard run early in the fourth quarter and went in from two yards out following a muffed Titan punt return in the closing minutes.

LS West pulled back within 24-14 on an 11-yard TD pass from Kobel to Marcian Marshall shortly after Rockhurst fumbled deep in its own territory. But the Titans’ next two possessions ended with interceptions and the Hawklets kept punishing the Titans up front.

“Our strength in our offensive line,” Severino said. “And they will wear you down. Michael Johnson made two great runs. That second run was unbelievable.”