Southeast tops East for third straight win

Toriano Porter/PrepsKC

By Toriano Porter PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: October 12, 2018 - 11:04 PM

Fall football is fun. At least until the fumbles, fouls and follies commence.

The Week 8 Interscholastic League matchup between two teams sporting identical records turned out to be a mistake-filled slugfest. But it sure was fun. Even through slight showers, mist, moisture and slippery footballs.

Southeast pounded the ball on the ground as did East. The Knights just did it better in a thrilling 20-14 last minute win over Greg Smith’s Bears.

Southeast improved to 3-5 overall and 2-1 in the IL. The Knights also notched their third consecutive victory after a winless start to the season.

“There is a lot of growing pains with change,” said first-year head coach Sean Coffey. “We’re just trying to keep going and keep growing.”

East dropped to 2-6 overall and finished its league slate with a 2-2 mark with the loss.

“Just two good teams playing against each other,” Smith said. “I think the IL is getting back to that. We used to do this every Friday. That’s what I want to see.”

The game was hard fought for sure. The joy of playing under the lights on a Friday night in October at IL Stadium was the payoff. It was senior night for both teams. The exterior elements at Bryant Stadium made the Knights’ win even sweeter.

“Playing East in very tough,” Southeast playmaker Doedy Deh-Patterson said. “We have lost to them twice and beat them twice in the last four years. We respect their game.”

Deh-Patterson, a senior wide out and defensive back, returned a punt 42 yards to the Bears’ 8-yard line with less than a minute remaining in the game.

The electrifying return set up the Knights game-winning touchdown run.

“I was ready,” Deh-Patterson said. “I’ve been in situations like that. I’m ready for the competition. I’m ready for anything.”

Coffey said his senior leader has been banged up in recent weeks but is rounding into form. Deh-Patterson, a steady highlight reel in the Knights’ run to a share of the IL title one season ago, is a difference maker on both sides of the ball, Coffey said.

“No. 5 is the guy,” Coffey said. “He’s still our playmaker. He’s our hat hanger. When ‘5’ go, we go.”

Southeast senior running back Ja’Leon Teague got things underway, capping an 80-yard scoring drive with a 2-yard touchdown run 8 minutes into the game. The score came on the Knights’ opening possession.

The Bears threatened to tie the game at 6-6 to start the second quarter but the Knights stopped East on the Knights’ 6-yard line.

A safety trimmed the Southeast lead to 6-2. The Bears’ David Wilson then hammered his way to a 26-yard touchdown on a short field to put his team ahead 8-6 with 8:48 left before halftime.

“He’s a bad boy,” Smith said of the senior running back. “I think he will be the offensive player of the year in the IL.”

Sporting double duty at linebacker, the 5-foot-8, 240-pound Wilson recovered a fumble at the Knights 28-yard line. But the Knights turned the table one play later when speed merchant Dremel Jackson scooped up a fumble at the Southeast 25-yard line and sprinted the other way for a scintillating 75-yard score.

A successful two-point conversion run put the Knights back in front 14-8 with a little under 5 minutes left in the second quarter.

Southeast fumbled the opening kickoff to start the third quarter. But the Bears failed to take advantage turning the ball over on downs at the Knights’ 12-yard line.

The stalled drive was the second of the night for East deep inside Southeast territory.

“I counted five,” Smith said. “But we have to punch it in. That’s a gut check right there.”

Wilson recorded an interception and returned it to the Knights’ 31 yard line with 4:29 remaining in the third. Naturally he capped the short drive off with a 4-yard run two minutes later.

The extra point kick attempt was blocked, leaving the teams tied at 14-14 as the end of the third quarter neared.

Jackson’s 45-yard punt return 4 minutes into the final quarter gave the Knights the ball at their 48 with a chance to regain the lead. Another fumble proved costly.

“We overcame it,” Coffey said. “Resilience. Growth. That’s been a big thing with us.”

The Bears took over at their 11-yard line with 3:28 left in the game. They were forced to punt, allowing Deh-Patterson to work magic.

“I had to do my thing,” he said. “So, I did it.”