Blue Valley Northwest grabs big rivalry win
By Dean Backes PrepsKC
Garrett Fugate and Jake Cobble paired up for three first half touchdown passes Friday in leading Blue Valley Northwest to a 34-16 win over district rival Blue Valley North.
Then the unthinkable happened.
On the Huskies’ opening possession of the third quarter, Fugate went down with what is thought to be a broken nose.
“It’s pretty messed up. Knowing him - he’s so tough he won’t let (missing the Bishop Miege game Friday) happen,” Blue Valley Northwest coach Mike Zegunis said following the season opening win. “It’s going to have to be pretty severe for him to be out.”
If Fugate is unable to go next week against the Stags, Zegunis will rely on either the legs of the 6-foot-3, 205-pound sophomore Henry McGrew or the run-pass ability of 6-1, 170-pound junior Alec Winsor, both of whom switched off at quarterback throughout the second half following Fugate’s injury.
Northwest got off to a quick start, scoring three first quarter touchdowns to take a 20-0 advantage.
Fugate and Cobble hooked up for a 33-yard score down the near sideline at the Blue Valley District Activities Center to put the host Huskies up 7-0 with 8-minutes, 42-seconds remaining in the opening quarter. Then just three-minutes later, Fugate found Cobble for a 36-yard touchdown on the far sideline, giving the home team a 14-0 advantage.
With about one minute remaining in the first quarter, Dante Starks took his turn playing catch with Fugate, hauling in a seven-yard strike to give Northwest an insurmountable advantage at 20-0 with 59-seconds left in the quarter.
About midway through the second quarter, the Blue Valley Northwest defense got stingy and grabbed a takeaway at the Mustang 11-yard line. Then Fugate and Cobble hooked up for the third time on an 11-yard score. Cobble had three catches on the night for 80 yards and three touchdowns.
Fugate completed 16 of 19 passes in the first half for 196 yards and four touchdowns. Then in the second half, Zegunis relied on the legs of Marlon Mitchell. The 5-9, 200-pound back carried the ball 13 times for 169 yards, including a fourth quarter.
But more importantly Mitchell rushed for 90 yards on seven carries in the second half, allowing the Huskies to keep the clock running.
“In the first game, you never know what you got,” Zegunis said. “We got off to a great start on our first two possessions. I wish we had kept that up. I definitely think we were the better football team. I’m proud of the way our players played in the first half.”
While Blue Valley Northwest (1-0) was able to overcome some of its opening night mistakes, the Mustangs weren’t as fortunate.
“First of all I think tonight’s game taught us a lot,” Blue Valley North coach John McCall said. “We learned what happens when a team makes critical mistakes. We didn’t have the confidence that our opponent did. We can definitely learn from this game. I’m happy we were able to get a game in.”
The Mustangs (0-1) were forced to punt on their first possession of the third quarter and bottled Blue Valley Northwest up at its own 18. Then McCall’s defense got a stop forcing the Huskies to punt.
PJ Woodward then made the defensive play of the night for the Mustangs, breaking through the line and blocking a Northwest punt that went sailing through the end zone for a safety. Following the kickoff, North took over at the Husky 36-yard line and scored its first touchdown of the year a few plays later on a one-yard plunge.
Cale Gottsch teamed up with Lamante Bagsby on the PAT conversion and North trailed 27-10 with 5:31 remaining in the third quarter, giving North a little momentum.
“In that situation you can do a number of things,” McCall said of the blocked punt. “We could have set up for the return and tried to get good field position that way. We felt that it was easiest if we just got after it and blocked the punt. It created nice field position for us.”
Both teams traded punts for much of the fourth quarter before adding a late touchdown each.
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