Truman's playoff hopes rest on result of Saturday's Raytown-Raytown South game
Now the Truman Patriots must wait.
After defeating the Northeast Vikings 49-6 in the Missouri Class 5, District 9 finale Thursday night at Southeast High School, Truman will have to sweat out the Raytown South-Raytown game Saturday afternoon.
The outcome of that game will determine whether the Patriots (4-6 overall and 2-1 in the district) will advance to the playoffs.
Truman advances with either a Raytown South victory or a Raytown South loss by eight points or less with the new Missouri state playoff system.
But before the Patriots could worry about any playoff scenarios, they would have to first take care of business against Northeast (1-9 and 0-3). And that’s exactly what it did, but not without some early game obstacles.
The Patriots fumbled the first three times they touched the ball losing it twice to Northeast.
Truman received the opening kickoff and fumbled to the Vikings at its own 22-yard line. Four plays later, Northeast had a 6-0 lead when quarterback William Cuffee went in from one yard out on a keeper.
On the ensuing drive, Truman fumbled the ball on its first play from scrimmage, but recovered two yards behind the line. On its next play, the Patriots fumbled, Northeast and recovered, this time at its own 23-yard line.
“In the first half, we put the ball on the ground five times,” Truman head coach Craig Lewis said. “I told the kids to play to their ability, and in the second half, we came out and took care of business.”
Truman did get its offense revved up before the intermission with three scores, two from Michael Clark and one from Dillon Amaya to lead 21-6 at the half.
The onslaught continued in the second half with Clark and Amaya each adding another score, and Blake Lopez and Kevin Sipple also contributing to the touchdown parade.
Lopez, a sophomore, and who had been playing safety on the defensive side of the ball all night, took his first handoff of the game in the third quarter and ran to daylight 46 yards.
“The offensive line blocked perfectly, and I found the hole,” he said.
Even Lewis had kind words for his line.
“The offensive line played really well,” he said. “They (Northeast) put nine guys on the line of scrimmage), and there were very few times we got hit near the backfield.”
Clark finished the night with 15 carries for 104 yards, and Amaya had eight for 128. Lopez on just two carries had 56 yards. Overall, the Patriots rushed for 347 yards on 32 touches.
But maybe the real story was the defense. After giving the Vikings a short field on their first two drives, the Patriots never let them into the end zone after the first drive.
The most impressive stop came late in the second quarter after a Truman fumble at its own 29.
Northeast had the momentum and every opportunity to score. Its first play was a run for a loss of seven. Second play, run for a loss of 17. Third play, quarterback sack for a loss of 11.
The defense pushed the Vikings back 35 yards, while the punt to end that series was only for 30 yards.
“Our middle linebacker stepped up didn’t let them penetrate,” Lopez said. “We really took it to them the rest of the game. I was really happy to see the JV able to get in there and get some playing time.”
The Patriots gave up less than 100 yards total offense to the Vikings, 44 on the ground and 46 through the air, sacked the quarterback three times and came up with three interceptions. And Northeast didn’t do itself any favors, committing 12 penalties for 95 yards.
So, what about that Raytown South-Raytown game on Saturday afternoon?
“I’ll probably go to the game to make sure things go the way they’re supposed to go,” Lewis said.
In the meantime, all he and his Patriots can do is wait.