New class and conference, same results

By Matt Gerstner PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: August 22, 2014 - 11:32 PM

Lots of things have changed since Lee’s Summit West won their third state title last year. The Titans will see the toughest competition in the state as they move up to Class 6. They will be in one of the toughest conferences in that class in the Suburban Big Six Conference. And they replace many of the faces that brought home the most coveted of hardware last season.

But dominating games? That hasn’t changed a bit.

Brenner Clemons accounted for five of West’s six touchdowns on their way to a 44-14 romp of Liberty, the team they replaced in the Big Six Conference. Quarterback Brice Kreikemeier added 280 yards and two touchdowns through the air, one of them going to Clemons for a 56-yard score.

“I was really proud of the way our guys played tonight,” Titans head coach Royce Boehm said. “We’ve got a bunch young kids with a lot of heart. I was proud of the way the O-line stepped up and overcame those obstacles, and I’m proud of the way the guys handled the heat and played for four quarters.”

That is not a feeling that West’s starters are familiar with given their dominance in year’s past. But even before the game, the Titans had some issues that seemed unfamiliar.

Two of West’s starting offensive linemen were scratched before kickoff, leaving Boehm needing to plug in two defensive linemen in their place. The kickoff, by the way, was pushed back to 8:30 p.m. as temperatures tickled 100 degrees before plunging to the low 80s after a thunderstorm rolled through.

Once the game began, it was all Titans.

West got on the board first with a 34 yard field goal by Dalton Dye. After stopping Liberty on fourth down, Kreikemeier found Clemons for a 26 yard catch and run to get the ball to the Liberty 19. Clemons ran 18 yards on the next play, then the last 1 on first and goal.

“I was in the wildcat last year, so it was familiar to me,” Clemons said. “But we’re multifaceted. There’s a lot of weapons with our offense.”

One of them, Mizzou-committed running back Ryan Williams, was held to just 42 yards on nine carries, but took a Kreikemeier pass 34 yards into the Blue Jays’ redzone to set up Clemons second 1-yard TD run. After a blocked extra point, West led 16-0.

“Ryan really ran hard today, and our offensive line really produced. It just so happened I was open on one play, or another guy was open on another. We just have so many guys that can make things happen,” Clemons explained.

Liberty didn’t roll over, however. Quarterback AJ Cambric found a blistering Xavier Hinkle to drive to the Lee’s Summit West 27. Running back Devon Bryant took it the rest of the way on seven touches, finally punching it in from five yards out and cutting the lead to 16-7.

“He’s an exciting back,” Liberty head coach Chad Frigon said of Bryant. “Our guys played some good football. We moved the ball but couldn’t punch it in when we needed to.”

The Blue Jays throughout the game would get inside West’s 20 yard line five times, but punched it in only once. Their only other score came when Cambric found Hinkle again on a jump ball from 42 yards out. That made it 37-14, prior to which  Kreikemeier found Clemons on his 56-yard TD catch before halftime, Clemons broke a tackle from nearly every Blue Jay defender for his third 1-yd touchdown run, and Kreikemeier hit Cooper Abrahamson on a 90-yard catch and run.

After the Blue Jays ran out of gas again at the Titan 19, Clemons, supposedly playing backup quarterback, gashed the middle of the defense, hitting the NOS and bringing the score to its final.

“We couldn’t stop him. He’s an amazing player,” Frigon said of Clemons.

Boehm didn’t stop at praising his team’s offense, passing out kudos to his defense, as well.

“Bend but don’t break; it’s always been our philosophy here at Lee’s Summit West,” he said. “We played hard for all four quarters against those guys.”

It’d be hard to think of a way the Titans could have started off their run in Class 6 better. But as Clemons and his teammates know, there’s a long way to go.

“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “There’s always been the question of, ‘Can Lee’s Summit West play with the big boys?’ We’ve always had the mindset that we can, and this was a great start.”