Lucky No. 7

Nick Smith/PrepsKC

By Sean Kosednar PrepsKC Staff Writer
Posted: June 15, 2017 - 8:55 PM

Despite the overcast sky the stars were out at Blue Springs South High School Thursday June 15. The best high school players from either side of the state line faced off in the 26th annual Papa John’s Kansas vs Missouri All-Star Game. After a scoreless first half, Missouri used two quick scores to capture their seventh straight win, 17-7.

Missouri opened the scoring just over a minute into the second half. Kearny quarterback Anthony Pretzel hit Center’s Cristian Cox for a 68-yard touchdown. Cox ran right by his defender, caught the ball in stride and ran the rest of the way untouched for an easy touchdown.

On the ensuing drive, Kansas looked to be moving the ball when Matt Dercher rolled out of the pocket. The Blue Valley quarterback was being chased by two defenders, as he tried to throw the first got a hand on the ball.

“My lineman [Deonaven] McKinzy tipped it,” Center linebacker John Taylor said, “I saw I had a chance to catch and I went for it. He hit me and I almost fell over, but I ran to daylight. Touchdown.”

Touchdown indeed. The second touchdown of the day for the Show Me State would be all they would need. However, a long drive capped off by a field goal in the fourth quarter would seal it.

“That drive in the third quarter was huge,” Missouri head coach Bryan DeLong said. “Even though we only got a field goal it took the wind out of their sails. Our line stepped up and we just ran the ball between the tackles. It was big. It took a lot of time off the clock, and we were able to establish our style of football.”

Kansas’ Israel Watson from Shawnee Mission West had numerous catches for the sunflower state including their only touchdown.

“I had to breakdown my routes fast because they kept playing cover three,” Watson said. “I knew if I broke down fast I would get the ball. It was very competitive out there. Kansas is over looked and we had a lot to prove out there.”

All of the participants felt honored to be selected to the game.

“Just getting a chance to coach with these coaches is a honor,” Kansas head coach Rod Stallbaumer said. “It’s a whirlwind getting ready for the game. You have got to hand it to these kids who have all graduated and they come back and give time out of their summers to play in this.”

DeLong was in disbelief.

“I was blown away,” DeLong said. “When they asked me, I thought they had the wrong number. There are so many great coaches on both sides of the state line. We play a great brand of football in the Kansas City area. I was just blown away.”

Taylor thought the All-Star Game was a great end to a high school career.

“Being selected as one of the most elite in the metro was special,” Taylor said. “It shows that what you do during your high school career pays off and that people are watching you. It feels good to win this for the seventh time in a row for my home state of Missouri.”