Though the score did not recognize it, a William Chrisman team that won one game last season played right with a Kansas City football powerhouse, Platte County, in the season opener.
The Pirates came away with a 39-18 victory on the road against the Bears, but it came down to the phase of the game that often gets overlooked. The Pirates scored 28 points off the Bears’ special teams errors.
“The special teams was a storm,” William Chrisman head coach Scorpio Horn said. “That’s a place we will get more kids to buy in. Now they see they got to be tuned in when we practice it.”
Horn himself said he is not big on moral victories as he spoke of the way his offense scored quickly in the first half and drove more than 60 yards down the field to end the game. However, Platte County head coach Bill Utz recalled last year’s season opener that ended in a 41-0 Pirates victory. He said the Bears are night and day compared to last year, Horn’s first year on the job.
“They showed a lot of fight,” Utz said. “From a year ago, they are much improved. They’re coached well. They did a lot of good things. We got them on the special teams, and I think that was the key to the game, but they showed a lot of fight.”
The first William Chrisman improvement appeared on the scoreboard. After fumbling on the third play of the game, resulting in a Pirates field goal, the Bears responded with a junior running back Kyron Mason 80-yard touchdown run. Two drives later, senior running back D’Vontae Brown hit a hole up the middle, resulting in an 18-yard touchdown to take the lead early in the second quarter. Mason led the team in rushing with 101 yards.
However, in between and after those touchdowns were major special teams mishaps. Senior Tyler Clemens returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Two possessions later, the Bears punted it to Clemens and he returned his second touchdown with ease to end all Bears momentum, making the score 24-12.
The next sign of improvement was on the defense. The Bears actually outgained the Pirates 250-221 and had seven more minutes of possession. To put the improvement into perspective, Platte County outgained the Bears 457 to 168 last season.
“Overall their defense is very good,” Utz said. “Across the board, I thought their defense played excellent. They made our offense struggle.”
The Bears defensive stud came from an athlete who had never been underneath the Friday night lights before. Freshman Kelvyn Mason did not shy away from the lights and came away with two interceptions.
“Kelvyn surprised me,” Horn said. “I had him all summer. I’m like, ‘Goodness.’ It makes it fun for a coach to coach that kind of young talent.”
Formerly a running back, quarterback James Bailey Jr. had a solid first outing as the man at the helm for the Bears. He did not pass the ball much, but he did manage to throw one touchdown on 18 yards. He did however show off his wheels, rushing for 89 yards. Horn was pleased with the play of his quarterback as he thinks about the direction of his team.
“He got those first game jitters out,” Horn said. “He’s going to get better. He’s a star. He battled injury that kept him away from really getting a lot of true reps, but he’ll get there eventually.”