Even with a 1-3 record through four weeks, Rockhurst’s level of competition and long-standing reputation around the state had it ranked fifth in the latest Class 6 media poll.
Friday at their own Dasta Stadium, the Hawklets justified that level of respect, pouncing on a Blue Springs South team that, at times, was its own worst enemy in suffering a 27-6 loss.
Coming off gut-wrenching wins the last two weeks, the visiting Jaguars played solid defense but fell to 3-2 after committing five turnovers and 12 penalties for 94 yards, not to mention two special teams exchanges that gave Rockhurst (2-3) short fields for its first two touchdowns.
“It just looked ugly at times,” Oder said. “When you’re playing a team like Rockhurst, they take advantage of every little thing. Everything’s gotta be perfect.”
Rockhurst managed just 72 yards in the first half, but nearly half of them the lone scoring drive of the half. South punted away its first possession, and A.J. Taylor returned a long but low line-drive boot 29 yards to the Jaguars’ 35, then busted a 27-yard run to the 7. Two plays later T.J. Green tossed a 5-yard scoring pass to Javon Goodman for a 7-0 lead at the 3:35 mark.
South made a bid to tie late in the second quarter, driving 60 yards to the Rockhurst 20, but the 15-play possession ended on downs. The Jaguars gained a reprieve when Wyatt Parker fell on a muffed handoff in the final minute, but Logan Prins intercepted Colton Pogue’s pass down the middle for Brandin Dandridge.
The Jaguars knocked harder on the door to start the second half, piecing together an 10-play drive to the Hawklet 14. On play No. 11, Emery Ester nearly gained another first down, but on his second effort lost a fumble at the 5.
Later, forced to punt again from their 36, the snap was too high for Chace Mason and he got buried at the 7, setting up Kiah Kintchen’s 2-yard touchdown three plays later that put Rockhurst up by two touchdowns.
Rockhurst missed a field goal in the fourth quarter, but two plays later Sam Tanner stepped in front of Pogue pass and return the interception 35 yards for a touchdown.
Dandridge (seven catches, 73 yards) returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards up the left side for South’s lone score, but after Kintchen fumbled the ball back to South, Brins again and Ahmad Tyler intercepted Pogue passes.
Pogue was 16-of-31 passing for 125 yards, as Rockhurst allowed just five completions longer than 6 yards. With the bad punt snap, the Jaguars managed just 105 yards on the ground, led by Ester (53 on 18 carries) and Adam Cofield (nine carries, 47 yards).
“Offensively we were moving, and then we lost the fumble,” Oder said. “He kept fighting and ended up losing the ball.”
Until Kintchen scooted for 18, 28 and 23 yards on his last three carries, the final going for a touchdown with 2:30 remaining in the game, Rockhurst had just 179 yards, two pass completions and seven first downs on their offensive ledger.
“They fought,” Oder said of South’s defense. “I’ll have to see what happened those last plays, but for the most part they played hard.
“We’ve just gotta get better.”