It was the type of play that leaves fans begging for more, coaches cheering from both sides of the ball and players pumped and ready for the upcoming season.
On the final play of Saturday's Blue and White Day Scrimmage at Grain Valley High School, third-year Eagles coach Jimmy Tucker placed the ball on the 3-yard line and wanted to see how his youthful offense could stand up against a young, aggressive defense.
While the Eagles have just eight seniors among their 112 players, two stood out on this final play that drew a standing ovation from the fans and high-fives from the coaching staff.
Quarterback Ben Andes handed the ball off to senior running back Brice Quinn, who was drilled at the line of scrimmage by fellow senior Cody Hale.
A moment later, the official closest to the play signaled a touchdown.
“Now, that's the way to end a scrimmage!” said Tucker, as he high-fived coaches and congratulated members of each Eagles unit that was on the field. “If we play with that type of intensity this season, we're going to have some fun and win some games.”
When asked about the call, Tucker grinned and said, “The Eagles scored, the Eagles made a great defensive play – it's all good.”
The scrimmage drew a large crowd as it was part of Blue and White Day at the high school, featuring the new concession area and every fall sport and activity.
This is a young Eagles squad that faced many questions heading into the much-anticipated scrimmage and Tucker and his staff walked away feeling good about their team.
“I saw some great intensity out there, I saw some good leadership, I saw the players working hard,” said Tucker, whose Eagles went 2-8 last season in his first year taking over the program. “We still have some film grading to do – which we'll do this afternoon – and then we'll be able to fit the pieces together a little bit better, but right now, I'm happy with what took place this morning.”
So were Quinn and Hale, who walked off the field talking about the explosive final play.
“We definitely left it all out on the field,” Quinn said. “I loved how it ended – and not just because they called it a touchdown. Cody gave me everything he had on that hit. I think it was sneak peak of what our fans are going to see this season. We're going to surprise some people.”
Hale was quick to add, “There was a lot of intensity on the field today. And not just on the last play. I feel really strongly about our team. I think we're going to have some success and I know all the underclassmen are going to do everything possible to make sure the seniors have a successful senior year at Grain Valley.
“Today, the entire atmosphere was just different. We have reporters here, photographers here, we have a lot of fans in the stands and all around the stadium and we played off that. We're a hungry team and we're going to do everything possible to have a successful season.”