Six degrees of victory

Nick Smith/PrepsKC

By Cole Young PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: June 16, 2016 - 10:17 PM

Through much of the Papa John’s Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game the five-game winning streak the Missouri squad held seemed in jeopardy.

Jordan Salima, a Truman graduate had other ideas though. The shifty running back rushed for a pair of second half touchdowns, leading the Missouri All-Star to a 28-24 victory over Kansas, the sixth in a row for the Show-Me State.

The first of Salima’s touchdowns came on a 54-yard run highlighted by a cutback that sprang him loose for the score.  

“Coach said to attack the edge so that’s exactly what I did,” Salima said. “Then I saw a hole in the backside so I was able to cut back with my linemen the adrenaline took over and I was able to get a touchdown.”

His final touchdown, a 12-yard score with 5:43 left in the game gave the Missouri squad the lead for good in the game played at Blue Springs High School.

“Salima made a couple big time runs, I mean big time runs,” Missouri coach Tom Kruse said. “Up front Kansas kind of got after us a little bit with their defensive line but I thought in the second half we did a pretty good job. I thought that made the difference in the second half, we put a little more emphasis on our running game and I thought (Zach) Willis and Salima made plays.”

It was the Missouri defensive line that finished things off. Led by Sima Thomas and his five sacks the Kansas offense seemed off balance the entire fourth quarter. Thomas nearly had a sixth sack in the final minutes, but instead his hurry forced a hurried pass that Codie Bell grabbed to secure the victory.

“Defensively the fourth quarter, we controlled it and that was the difference, in particular Sima,” Kruse said. “He did that all week at practice.”

Until the final minute of the game, the two sides battled back and forth in a game that featured a little more energy than some might expect from an all-star game on a 95-degree night. Several times players had to be separated including the beginning of halftime when the two teams met near the Kansas sideline.

“I’ll be honest with you that was one of the most intense all-star games I’ve ever been part of.” Kansas All-Star coach Joel Applebee said. “They laid it on the line like it was a regular game.”

For a game that featured 52 total points, it got off to a slow start with both teams failing to score in the first quarter.  

The Kansas squad struck first when quarterback Joey Dolan of Blue Valley North eluded a pair of Missouri defenders to find fellow Mustang grad Charlie Brock on a 46-yard touchdown. Kansas tacked on a two-point conversion when St. Thomas Aquinas’ Karter Odermann hooked up with Mill Valley’s Cole Morris out of the swinging gate.

Missouri quickly answered on the next possession behind a healthy dose of Blue Springs South quarterback Noah Nigro and Belton’s Willis generating rushing yards. Willis got the Missouri squad on the board first with a 1-yard run.

The Missouri defense then appeared twice to have stopped the Kansas squad, first forcing a punt, which was fumbled and recovered by Kansas.

On the next play, Davion Tyler stepped in front of an Odermann pass but it was called back due to a roughing the passer call.

Odermann, who finished with a pair of touchdown passes, instead would connect on the drive with Lawrence’s JD Woods for an 11-yard score. In the second half he would connect with Mill Valley’s Christian Jegen on a 17-yard touchdown pass.

Missouri wrapped up the first half scoring when Park Hill’s Kentrez Bell escaped Kansas defenders on a screen pass from Staley’s Michael Kilpatrick and raced 80 yards for a touchdown. While it appeared Bell may have been down, officials ruled he stayed on his feet, confirming the score.

The win moves the series total to 13-11 in favor of Missouri.