One big play in regulation, followed by the biggest defensive stop in the history of the Lee’s Summit North High School football program helped coach Jamar Mozee and his Broncos claim the biggest win in the 23-year history of the school.
It came last Friday at rain-soaked Peve Stadium, where Christian Carter and Ontario Russell hooked up on screen pass for a 42-yard touchdown to tie the game at 21-all with just 1:56 left in regulation.
Then, in overtime, Carter scored on a 3-yard run and Devin DeRousse kicked the extra point to make it 28-21.
Aveion Bailey then scored on an 8-yard run for the Wildcats, but Jaylen Hickman sliced through the Blue Springs offensive line to tackle quarterback Koby Mansfield for a loss on an unsuccessful 2-point conversion and an 18-game losing streak against Mozee’s alma mater came to an end.
“We thought they were going to run up the middle because they had been so successful all night,” said Hickman, who talked about the big win while his teammates celebrated with Bronco fans. “When I hit him, I knew he wasn’t going to make it end the zone. It was a great feeling. Do you know that’s the first time we’ve ever beat them? Ever! It feels good.
“(A) 1-18 (record) is a lot better than 0-19 – a lot better!”
Mozee agrees, as he now prepares his 3-0 team, which is ranked No. 4 in the Class 6 state poll, for Friday’s homecoming opponent, Park Hill.
“I have to check the record books, but I don’t think we’ve ever beaten Park Hill either,” Mozee said. “Friday was special. It was a good feeling to walk off the field with what I believe is the biggest win school history.
“People ask about our bus ride home, and it was relatively calm, because all the guys were so tired. They left it all on the field.”
Mozee made sure his team knew that they had never beaten the Wildcats, one of the premier programs in the state and the Midwest, in the week prior to the game.
“That’s something we addressed a lot,” Mozee said. “Some coaches shy away from things like that, but not me. We absolutely addressed the fact that we were 0-18 against Blue Springs and this year we had a team that could do something about that record.”
And they did despite having a 70-yard, game-tying punt return for a touchdown by Keyon Mozee (the coach’s nephew) called back with just under two minutes to go in regulation.
“I am so proud of our guys,” the coach said. “We had the (late punt return for a) touchdown called back, and made a few other mistakes we can clean up.
“Now, it’s back to work, and our guys are ready and excited to get back to work.”
Defensive end Logan Thornton called Friday’s win a “dog fight,” and said he and his teammates can’t wait for this week’s practice sessions.
“It was a dog fight out there, especially on the defensive line, because we knew they were going to try and run the ball all night,” Thornton said. “They wore our interior linemen down a little as the game went on, but we had enough to stop them – especially on that last play in overtime.
“Now, it’s time to work hard and get ready for Park Hill.”
Safety Nyles Thomas found himself in a new attack mode against the Wildcats.
“It was all downhill, stopping that run,” Thomas said. “Against a team like Lee’s Summit West, my priority is pass defense. But we knew they weren’t going to pass that much, so it was all about stopping that run, and for the most part, we were able to get it done.”
Carter and Russell gave their teammates the opportunity to win in overtime on that final touchdown pass in the closing minutes of regulation.
“Our offensive line coach called the play and said it would be wide open, and it was,” Russell said. “When I caught it, I was like ‘No one’s in front of me!’ and I just took off.”
Carter said the offense never showed any disappointment following the punt return for a score being waved off because of a penalty.
“We knew we had to score, and we found a way to get it done,” Carter said. “It was a big play. But we had a lot of big plays in the game. Now, we have to keep working hard and keep winning because this could be a special season.
“Two years ago we won two games, last year we were 6-4 and this was the year we’ve all been dreaming about.”