“Nick Halterman? Where’s Nick Halterman?”

Blue Springs assistant coach Joe Cusack was seeking out the man of the moment.

“My man,” Cusack asked, “did you make the catch. Did you catch the deuce?”

“Nick Halterman? Where’s Nick Halterman?”
Blue Springs assistant coach Joe Cusack was seeking out the man of the moment.
“My man,” Cusack asked, “did you make the catch. Did you catch the deuce?”
Halterman, who needed teammate Keeston Terry to help him take his jersey over his shoulder pads because he was simply too beat up to get the job done, nodded yes.
“Man, what a catch! What a game,” Cusack said, as he exited the locker room.
Halterman, who looked like he was ready to pass out, slumped in front of his locker.
In a game that appeared for all intents and purposes to be one of the low points in the storied legacy of Blue Springs football, Halterman made a catch that will rank with Darius Hill’s big grab against Oak Park a few years back and Ladell Betts’ one-man show in a come-from-behind win over Rockhurst.
Trailing a stellar Lee’s Summit West squad 35-21 with 6:23 to play, sophomore Darrian Miller scored on a 5-yard run to cut the Wildcats deficit to 35-28 Friday night at jam-packed Peve Stadium.
Bernard Thomas then picked up a West fumble to set the stage for one of the wildest finishes in the history of Blue Springs football.
Quarterback Jared Lanpher, who threw a 74-yard touchdown to Keeston Terry and a 5-yarder to Gus Toca, found Terry again for a 9-yard play that made the score 35-34.
That’s when things got interesting.
“We saw that the left side of West’s line really came hard, and I mean real hard, at the kicker on extra points,” Blue Springs coach Kelly Donohoe said, “so I called Jared over before that last drive and told him that when we scored, we were going for two points.”
Lanpher said the comment caught him off guard.
“I was like, ‘Two points?’ Oh, two points! Yeah, let’s do it.”
Only three players knew the scenario – Lanpher, tight end Brady Letchworth and Halterman.
“You have to sell it,” Donohoe said, “so you can’t let everyone know.”
When Donohoe made the call, he was met with some resistance from members of his staff.
“They were like, ‘Are you sure?’ And I told them the way they were rushing we could do it. And I have all the confidence in the world in Jared. If he’s not at quarterback, we might not try it. But I felt like he could pull it off.”
Defensive line standouts Toca and Jordan Chrisman saw the play from the sidelines and couldn’t believe their eyes.
“I was like, ‘Did I just see what I thought I saw?’” Toca said. “It was so close, I didn’t know if Nick made it into the end zone.”
Added Chrisman: “What a crazy way to finish that game. Neither team deserved to lose this game. It was a war out there.”
Long after the locker room had cleared out, Lanpher, Halterman and Terry huddled in a corner, talking about a game for the ages.
“Wouldn’t it have been cool if this game was on ESPN?” asked Lanpher, referring to the 11 a.m. Sunday Blue Springs South-Rockhurst matchup at Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium, that will be broadcast by the national sports network.
“They’d have been talking about it forever.”
Soon, the talk turned to the deuce.
“I was looking for Brady,” said Lanpher, who was 17 of 30 for 200 yards. “But I couldn’t even seen him with all the big bodies coming at me. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Nick. When he caught it, it was like, ‘YES!’ ”
Halterman caught the ball near the goal line, and had to put a move on a defender to make sure he crossed the scoring plane.
“I caught it real close to the goal line,” Halterman said, “then I had to push back, to make sure I was in. It was close.”
So close, Chrisman could barely watch.
“I wasn’t watching the play,” Chrisman said, “I was watching the ref. When he put his hands in the air, we all started celebrating.”
This is the type of game that championship teams win.
When they look back at a season, there is always one or two wins that stand out.
“I know I’ll never forget this one,” Donohoe said. “Because we have so many young guys like Lanpher and Terry and Miller people keep talking about next season. But I think we proved tonight we’re a team with a lot of talent – and a lot of heart.
“If we don’t have kids with heart, there’s no way we come back and win this one.”