I’ve covered my fair share of games at Grain Valley over the years working for PrepsKC, and I swear I’ve been a bad-luck charm for the Eagles.
I doubt head coach David Allie realizes it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he sees me post game, rolls his eyes and thinks to himself, ‘of course.’ I’m not sure I’ve covered an Eagle victory.
That is until this past Friday. And it was impressive.
I wasn’t sure what to expect of the Eagles going into their contest against Oak Park. The Class 5 Northmen had nearly knocked off Class 6 Lee’s Summit a week ago, while Grain Valley had a nice win over Smithville.
And in the early going, both teams looked like it was week one all over again. The offenses struggled. There were turnovers. It wasn’t pretty, but the Eagles still led 7-0 at the half.
That’s when they kicked it into overdrive and left me impressed.
Grain Valley scored touchdowns on all four of its third-quarter drives. While they did it mostly on the ground, they sprinkled in a few nice pass plays just for good measure. And they ripped off some big plays, including two touchdown runs of 80-plus yards.
In the end it was a 36-6 Eagle win. I was wondering if that was the team I would see. The team that went 9-4 last year and was one of just eight teams left in the Class 4 playoffs.
Senior quarterback Cole Keller leads the way for the multi-threat offense. The three-year starter is back on the field after an injury cut his season short early in the playoffs last season, and he has started the season strong.
Despite being a harsh critic of himself in the first half of the game against Oak Park, Keller has played nearly perfect football so far this season. He’s thrown for 263 yards and two touchdowns, while also running for 177 yards and four more scores. But it’s the supporting cast that helps make the Eagle offense more dangerous.
Jaxon Wyatt is the other main threat on the ground, with 200-plus yards so far this season. Allie can also call plays for Hunter Newsom and Zach Kirk to chew up some more yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Parker Bosserman – who filled in for Keller at quarterback last season – is the main receiving threat having caught both scores from Keller this season.
It’s been a dynamic group so far this season and based on what Keller told me Friday night, they feel like they’re just getting started.
“We have so much more in the bag, so much more in the playbook that we haven’t shown,” he said. “People are going to see more and more.”
The defense can’t be left out of the equation, either. A week after the Northmen put up 33, the Grain Valley defense kept them scoreless the entire game until the back-ups scored a touchdown as time expired.
It was a high-level performance from the defense for four quarters, while the offense made the necessary adjustments you expect a good team to make.
I’m left to wonder if last seasons run to the state quarterfinals of was a precursor of bigger things to come in 2020.