Connor Harris stood at midfield, raised his right arm with football in hand and pointed the ball toward the rafters at the Edward Jones Dome.

Connor Harris stood at midfield, raised his right arm with football in hand and pointed the ball toward the rafters at the Edward Jones Dome.

The Blue Springs South’s senior season has been jam-packed with plays in the most critical of moments. But none could match this one.

Harris snatched his second interception of the game Friday night with 2:23 remaining, thwarting a final Christian Brothers College High School drive, and all but finalizing a 40-37 victory for the Jaguars in the Missouri Class 6 Show-Me Bowl state championship game.

A few minutes later, Harris – the Jaguar quarterback, defensive back, kicker and punter – dove through the line of scrimmage for a final first down. A few kneel-downs later, South sealed its second state title in the program’s 20-year history.

Much like the fourth-ranked Jaguars’ season, Harris’ handprints were all over this one. A week after clinching South’s state championship berth with a late interception against Francis Howell, Harris racked up 106 rushing yards on 12 carries and threw for 106 yards. He darted for a 58-yard touchdown in the second quarter and plucked his seventh and eighth interceptions of the season – one that he ran back for a 40-yard score at the end of the first period and the final title-clincher.

The Simone Award finalist also kicked two field goals and drilled a 58-yard punt, pinning No. 1-ranked CBC at its own 1-yard line on a key kick with 6:18 remaining.

“I can’t say I was really surprised,” Oder said. “This is what we’ve seen him do all year.”

But in a game that included seven lead changes, a host of Jaguars stepped forward, providing crucial plays in key spots. Harris’ offensive counterpart, senior running back Steven Sullivan, ran for 130 yards on 18 carries and scored on runs of 29, 2 and 34 yards.

And although Cadet quarterback Dalton Demos tallied 330 yards passing with three touchdowns, the Jaguars (12-2) limited CBC to 84 rushing yards on 33 rushes for an average of just 2.5 yards per carry, more than four yards below the Cadets’ season average.

“That’s what we try to do every week, take away the run game,” Oder said. “It seemed like they had quite a few big runs and quite a few yards passing, but I think our defense was able to step up and get some stops when they needed to and put some pressure on.”

The South defense registered a pair of crucial stops late in the fourth after the Cadets (13-1) drew to within 40-37 on a 12-yard pass by Demos to Aarion Maxey-Penton with 8:06 left.

Following CBC’s score, the Cadets forced a three-and-out, but Harris pinned them in front of their own goal line. CBC couldn’t advance past its own 11 before punting. A quick three-and-out then preceded Harris’ last interception.

“We went here as freshmen and we lost, but we all just really wanted to get back,” Harris said. “We believed in each other … We’ve had a couple losses this year, but we knew that if we just played our game we could be here.”

All season long, South’s senior class insisted that it was their past shortcomings that motivated them. First, two lackluster seasons in which the Jags totaled only 11 victories in 2009 and ’10. Then, as the Jags started their march to St. Louis, they withstood rivalry losses to Blue Springs and Rockhurst only to roll to the program’s third state championship appearance since 2006.

The championship was described by South players in prophetic terms, something that was always there – goading, motivating and inspiring.

“I’m like Connor,” South senior lineman Trevor Wescott said. “I came to the game in ’08 and I realized how unbelievable it is. It’s a state championship in a big football state like Missouri is. I saw how hard they worked and that’s what I wanted us to do, wanted our class to do.”

At Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis
BSS                        CBC
12     First Downs    16
223-36     Rush yards-Att.     84-33
132     Pass yards     330
14     Pass attempts     33
6     Completions     15
1-0    Fumbles-lost     2-0
0     Interceptions     2
4-22    Penalties-yards    10-67
6-43.2     Punts-avg.     7-41.4
BS SOUTH    7     16    10     7    —    40
CBC               2     21      7     7    —    37
First Quarter
CBC – Safety, snap fumbled out of end zone, 10:41.
BSS – Connor Harris 40 interception return (Harris kick), :00.
Second Quarter
BSS – Steven Sullivan 29 run (Harris kick), 9:20.
CBC – Aarion Maxey-Penton 9 pass from Dalton Demos (John Moldthan kick), 7:34.
CBC – Bert Birdsall 71 pass from Demos (Moldthan kick), 3:54.
BSS – Harris 58 run (run failed), 2:27.
CBC – Antonio Brown 4 run (Moldthan kick), :47
BSS – Harris 33 field goal, :00
Third Quarter
BSS – Harris 21 field goal, 8:19.
CBC – Jonathan Parker 3 run (Moldthan kick), 2:42.
BSS – Sullivan 3 run (Harris kick) 2:10.
Fourth Quarter
BSS – Sullivan 34 run (Harris kick), 10:37.
CBC – Maxey-Penton 12 pass Demos (Moldthan kick), 8:07.