Many coaches might consider themselves fortunate to convert one fake punt play in a season, much less two.
Lee’s Summit North, however, converted two in one game Friday night against visiting Blue Springs South. Both times, a run by up-man and senior linebacker Myles Craddock kept alive what turned into a touchdown drive by the Broncos as they upended their Suburban Big Seven foe, 29-16.
North coach Jamar Mozee, whose team improved to 2-1 overall and in conference play, said both runs by Craddock over the left side were spur-of-the-moment calls.
“We practiced it, but it was the way (the Jaguars) were aligned,” Mozee said. “They lined up the same both times.
“It’s a confidence booster, but the best part is we’re already playing confident. That’s a place a place we haven’t been. They’re confident and having fun, that’s the key.”
Craddock’s first run, a 10-yarder, came on fourth-and-8 from the Broncos’ own 39 late in the first quarter. Two plays later, quarterback Christian Carter started left and squirted out to the right for a 43-yard run to the 6. Ontario Russell barreled into the end zone on the next play to end the quarter. Nich Havlik kicked the extra point for a 14-0 lead.
Craddock’s second run went for 9 yards on fourth-and-6 early in the fourth quarter. Four snaps later, Russell scored from 23 yards out to cap an 11-play, 83-yard drive and make it 29-9 with 7:36 remaining.
“It’s a good call by their coaching staff; give credit to them,” South coach Jon Oyler said of the two conversions.
South, which fell to 0-3 (0-2 Big Seven), appeared poised to score first, taking the opening drive and moving to the Bronco 7 in 14 plays. But on second-and-goal, Brody Parker’s pass to the end zone was deflected by Jaylen Hickles and intercepted by Jordan Murray.
On North’s second play from scrimmage, Carter found a hole over left tackle and was off to the races for a 74-yard touchdown.
South drew within 14-9 in the second quarter when Nathan Rockwell’s 24-yard field goal capped a 13-play, 80-yard drive and Parker added a 1-yard sneak after the Jaguars forced a punt and took over at the Bronco 42.
North could have taken a larger lead into halftime, but Carter’s would-be 33-yard touchdown heave to Murray was nullified by a penalty.
Instead, the Broncos made it 22-9 late in the third, this time on a 10-yard run by John Eldridge on third-and-inches.
South’s Justin Belcher had intercepted Carter to start the half, but the Jaguars turned the ball over on downs.
Parker’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Sage Nelson with 2:22 left capped the scoring, as North recovered the ensuing onside kick. Parker finished 21-of-29 passing for 190 yards. Austin Terry rushed 24 times for 99 yards, and Ethan Swanegan had nine catches for 107 yards.
Carter, who split quarterback duties in Week 1 before the Broncos gave him the job full-time, had six completions for 27 yards but more importantly rushed 13 times for 129 yards. Russell had 96 yards and Eldridge 49 on a combined 27 carries.
“I think we started to wear on them,” Mozee said of his team’s rushing attack, which compiled 299 yards. “John and Ontario, they’re both strong guys and they do a good job. And with Christian, it’s a good mix.
“He’s a squirrely one; he can do some neat things,” Mozee said of Carter. “We gave the job to him, and he hasn’t looked back.”
Oyler said his team missed a few too many chances to get off the field on third (and fourth) downs and gave up big plays instead.
“That’s a concept we’ve got to correct,” he said. “(The Broncos) were getting off the ball. The running back (Russell), I don’t know where he came from. He did a great job.”