Over his years as the head coach at Blue Springs South High School, coach Greg Oder has seen his linebackers deliver a lifetime worth of memorable plays.
But last Friday at Raymore-Peculiar High School, he saw a linebacker deliver the most memorable play of the season – and it came when he was playing quarterback.
When the Jaguars lost their No. 1 and No. 2 quarterbacks to injuries, Oder called on linebacker Colton Pogue to start, and all he did was hit Briley Moore-McKinney, a sophomore playing his first varsity game, for the game-winning touchdown on a fourth-and-10 play from the 25-yard line in the second overtime period.
The end result: a 27-24 double overtime win and a world of confidence for the Jaguars.
The Panthers had already kicked the go-ahead field goal, and Pogue came through on the do-or-die pass that he hopes will set the tone for the remainder of the season.
“He's a competitor for sure, and he's always been a good leader,” Oder said. “He has a lot of trust in his teammates, and we all know this is the biggest team sport there is.”
Pogue said that late touchdown could be the moment the Jaguars reflect on for the remainder of the season.
“You'd like to think that could be defining moment for the season, especially since we found a way to win and were able to come back from that (40-9) loss to Fort Osage the week before,” said Pogue, who completed 8 of 16 passes for 106 yards.
“I think a win like that one we got at Ray-Pec can spark a team for the rest of the season. We played a good fourth quarter and found a way to win in overtime and we need to carry that over into a big game this week against Staley (at 7 p.m. today at Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium).
Oder said he hopes that is true, but it could be too early in the season for it to have a tremendous amount of impact.
I think it's too early to tell if it's a defining moment for our season,” the veteran coach said. “But it was definitely a big win for us after last week. We just need to be able to build on it.”
The game-winning pass might not have been possible had it not been for a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first half by D.J. Brownlee, who praised for his former defensive teammate's offensive prowess.
“We wanted to make all the big defensive plays to make as easy as possible for Colton,” Brownlee said. “We're all so proud of him. He had a tough job, and he went into the game with a lot of confidence and that made us all confident.”
Pogue said the play the coaches called at the end of the second overtime was the one that resulted in the game-winning pass.
“I went into the huddle knowing we had to score a touchdown to win the game,” Pogue said. “I got a lot of confidence from my line and my backs. I think we all knew that somehow, we were going to win the game on that final play – you could just feel it in the huddle.”
And when he hit the lanky sophomore receiver, he knew it was going to be an enjoyable bus ride back to Blue Springs.
“We've won a lot of big games,” said Pogue, who missed his entire junior season because of elbow surgery. “But you hope you can take the momentum we gained from that win into this week. We know how to win, and we believe we're going to win Friday night. That's just how it is at Blue Springs South. We go into every game knowing we have a great chance of winning that night.”
When asked about the last time he played quarterback, Pogue chuckled.
“I played a little my sophomore year,” he said, before a quick interruption from Brownlee.
“I've played with Colton since Little League, and he played quarterback back then, so I had a lot of faith in him,” Brownlee said. “We all had faith.”
Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC