It was a typical season-opening contest: A few communication mistakes, some dumb penalties, a play or two both teams would like to take back, and adrenaline in doses too large to measure.



 

Editor’s note: Because of technical difficulties, the full Blue Springs South story did not run in Saturday’s issue of The Examiner. The Examiner apologizes for the inconvenience.

It was a typical season-opening contest: A few communication mistakes, some dumb penalties, a play or two both teams would like to take back, and adrenaline in doses too large to measure.

In the end, Blue Springs South emerged with a 29-0 victory over Raytown South on Friday in a game that was much closer than the score would indicate – at least for three quarters.

Senior Jaguar quarterback Connor Harris led the way in victory, hitting on eight of 19 passes for 97 yards and rushing for 29 more on 17 attempts.

But it was the way he carried himself in the game’s most important moments – like after an errant snap here or during a scramble there – that impressed his coach, Greg Oder, the most.

“He played really well tonight,” Oder said of Harris, who’s a load at 6-foot, 220. “He did a lot of good things for us, obviously. We’d seen him do those things in practice, but you need to see them in games.”

Those “good things” included booming three impressive field goals in the second and third quarters, including a 44-yarder in the third quarter that virtually put the game out of reach.

After the teams battled to a scoreless opening quarter, Harris capped a 41-yard drive for the Jaguars with a 27-yard field goal to give Blue Springs South its initial points of the new season and a 3-0 lead.

Just four and a half minutes later, Harris was hitting a carbon copy of his first kick, a second 27-yard effort to put the Jags up 6-0. The second kick capped a short-field, 18-yard drive that was created by an interception by Jaguar defensive back Leland Anderson of an errant throw by Ray-South QB Devin Hannah.

Despite the early miscue, Cardinals coach David Allie had reason for optimism.

“When the two turnovers in the first half only led to field goals, you had to be happy with the way our defense was playing,” the veteran coach said. “Offensively, we were able to move the ball against them some early, but the turnovers killed us.”

Indeed, the second and third Ray-South possessions ended on a fumbled exchange between QB Hannah and running back Justin Turner and the aforementioned interception.

Those two mistakes, and a late, 53-yard scoring drive by Blue Springs South just before the end of the first half, put Ray-South behind an eight-ball it would not emerge from on this night.

That touchdown drive, which included a big 14-yard pass play from Harris to fellow senior captain Owen McGraw on a 3rd-and-11 play midway through the series, was capped when Harris went over from one yard out with 1:21 in the half to give the Jags a 12-0 halftime edge after Harris’ two-point conversion run failed.

“Our two-way players were gassed a bit,” Allie said of the Jaguar scoring drive just before halftime. “The defense had been on the field quite a bit and it showed there.”

The third quarter was much like the first, with both teams trading possessions but little else happening. That was until 16 seconds remained in the period, when Harris boomed his 44-yard field goal – an effort that would have likely been good from 55--plus. The kick gave the Jags a 15-0 lead after three quarters.

It was then time for a talented group of Blue Springs South reserves to take over for the night.

Led by a pair of juniors – quarterback Dalton Brewer and tailback Trey Ervin – the Jags gashed the spent Cardinals for a pair of long fourth quarter TD runs.

The first Ervin TD dash came just over a minute into the fourth quarter, and was a nifty, 41-yard scamper inside, around and through an obviously tired Cardinal defense.

The second, and final TD run came with just nine seconds left in the contest was a 29-yard effort. Rather than take a knee on the third-and-one play, Brewer handed off to Ervin, who basically replicated his earlier efforts in dashing to the end zone.

The play of Brewer and Ervin as reserves left Oder feeling mighty good on this night.

“I don’t think you can have enough good players in this class and in our league,” he said. “I thought at times tonight our young guys did really well.”