Back when Austin Terry and Dakoda Kenig were carrying the football in pee-wee league games in Blue Springs, they had a dream.
“We’ve dreamed about playing in the same backfield at Blue Springs South since we were in second grade,” said Terry, who is having a stellar junior season for the Jaguars. “Now, we don’t have to dream about it because it’s happened. Sharing the backfield with one of your best friends is amazing – especially since we’ve talked about it since we were little kids.”
As Terry talks about dreams coming true, Kenig nods in agreement.
“Now, it’s real, and it’s amazing,” Kenig adds. “And I’m not just sharing the ball with my best friend, he’s my brother. His family has always treated me like their son, and now, well, it’s something we’ll share forever.”
The juniors, who have combined for 1,611 yards rushing this season, could play a key role in Friday night’s Class 6 District 3 championship game when the Jaguars head a few miles north to Peve Stadium, where they will play their crosstown rivals for the second time this season.
“Blue Springs versus Blue Springs South – it doesn’t get much bigger than that,” said Terry, who had 11 carries for 71 yards in the Jaguars’ 21-3 regular-season loss to the Wildcats. “We’re all excited about playing them again. We’re playing our best football now, and we’re working hard this week.
“We work hard at practice every week, but there’s just something a little extra special about Blue Springs week because we know all those guys and respect their program. We know we have to play our best game against them.”
Terry has turned in back-to-back gems to help his 5-6 Jaguars claim two big postseason wins.
In a 48-20 victory over Francis Howell, he carried the ball 16 times for a school single-game rushing mark of 237 yards and three touchdowns.
“Yeah, I got the record, but all anyone was talking about after the game was Michael,” he said with a laugh, referring to teammate Michael Muehlberger, who scored a state record four defensive touchdowns in the game. “I guess it was bad timing on my part.
“Every day I’d walk by our record board and see the school record of 225 yards (held by Tony Matzke), I’d think about how I’d like to break that record. I did it, and it was a great because once I found out about it on the bus home from Francis Howell, everyone got all excited for me, like they got excited for Michael during the game.
“Michael deserved it. He scored more points than our offense. We had a competition going, you know, feeding off each other. He was the man.”
When asked about robbing Terry of his moment in the spotlight, Muehlberger just grinned.
“I’ve never had a pick-6, let alone four defensive touchdowns in one game – Austin just picked the wrong game to set the rushing record,” Muehlberger said with a chuckle. “But I’m glad he did it – we needed all the points we could get that night.”
While he didn’t set any school records in a 16-13 win over No. 1 ranked Columbia Rock Bridge last week, he found the end zone for the only touchdown in overtime to set up Friday’s game at Blue Springs.
“We needed that touchdown,” said Terry, who has 1,130 yards and 15 touchdowns on 193 carries this season while Kenig has added 481 yards and three touchdowns on 81 carries. “We needed to score because they had already kicked a field goal (to lead 13-10). Michael hit D.J. (Frost) with a big pass to get the ball down to the 1, and the offensive line did the rest.”
The camaraderie between the Jaguars is a big reason they have been able to overcome an 0-4 start and make it this far into the postseason.
“The kids on this team really do like each other – and Austin and Dakoda have been friends for a long time,” South coach Jon Oyler said. “They are easy kids to cheer for. You’d never find two better kids, two harder working kids than Austin and Dakoda, but heck, I could say that about every player on our team.
“That’s why I’m so happy for the success we’ve had lately. As a coach, you like to see kids like Austin and Dakoda and the rest of the team have success because they’ve worked so hard to earn it.”