Blue Valley held off a furious comeback attempt by St. James, winning 38-28 on Thursday night.
Leading 31-28 and the ball on the St. James seven-yard line, the Tigers were facing a fourth down. Coach Allen Terrell took a timeout to talk things over. Instead of trotting out his field goal unit to make it a six-point game, he elected to go with his offense, which was stopped well short of the goal line.
Once down 24-7, St. James needed to go 94 yards in 2:25 to snatch the game away from Blue Valley, but a quick turnover on downs burst those dreams. Tigers’ running back Michael Soloman sealed the game with a one-yard run with 1:54 left.
LaJames White did all that he could for the Thunder scoring all four touchdowns – a one-yard run, a 66-yard catch and run, a 59-yard run and a 92-yard kick return. In all, he had 200 yards of total offense to go along with 100 yards returning.
The Tigers built their lead thanks to quarterback Greyson Holbert, who ran for two scores and passed for two on the evening. He hit Tate Gillen for 40 yards to give the Tigers their 17-point lead. Holbert also found Dorian Stephens for 24 yards early in the fourth quarter.
Both teams should be pleased with their performance as they head into the playoffs next week.
At 4-1, the Tigers are locked into a top four seed in 6A East and while things are a little more up in the air for St. James in Class 4A. Sitting at 3-4, St. James could be anywhere between No. 8 and No. 11.
Coach Tom Radke likes his chances in Class 4A with Bishop Miege being a little down this year. Ideally, Radke would like to avoid the Stags in the first round, which could happen if Miege wins coupled with Chanute and Coffeyville loses.
The Tigers are one of the teams to watch to come out of 6A as they have an athletic quarterback in Holbert, a strong receiver core and a sound defensive back unit. The one area they’ll need to clean up from this week is penalties as they were dinged 150 yards on 18 penalties, most of them coming from false starts.