PECULIAR, Mo. – Briley Moore-McKinney will have a hard time matching the thrill of his first career varsity game. And any further victories Blue Springs South’s football team might achieve this season will have an equally hard time matching the drama contained in Friday’s victory.
With South staring defeat in the eyes at Raymore-Peculiar, facing fourth-and-10 from the 25 in the second overtime, Moore-McKinney hauled in a touchdown pass from Colton Pogue to give the Jaguars a 27-24 win in their Suburban Big Six opener.
South (2-1 overall) had stuffed Ray-Pec to start the second overtime, but James Sappington booted a 42-yard field goal to give the Panthers a 24-21 lead. An Emery Ester run for no gain and two incompletions by Pogue had Ray-Pec (1-2, 0-2 Big Six) on the verge of victory, but Moore-McKinney got inside his man toward the middle and laid out to snare Pogue’s pass to fit neatly between two defenders.
“It was a post [pattern]; that’s where we were trying to get it to,” South coach Greg Oder said.
Moore-McKinney, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound sophomore, was playing his first game this season due to injuries, and in his mind he was simply the last cog of Friday’s dramatics.
“The line was giving time for the quarterback to make the throw, and the quarterback put it right where it needed to be,” he said.
South nearly avoided overtime, but Pogue’s 32-yard field goal try with 11 seconds in the fourth quarter drifted off to the left after the Jaguars moved from their own 20 in seven plays.
South had stopped Ray-Pec on downs earlier in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers pieced together a 12-play, 75-yard drive to tie it with 1:16 left, as a counter play busted Isaiah Truss loose for a 14-yard score.
Ester, who logged 21 carries for 96 yards, powered his way to a 12-yard touchdown three plays into overtime to give the Jaguars the edge. But on third down Truss broke free on another counter play for an 18-yard score, and after an injury timeout Dallas Hille’s PAT kick forced the second overtime.
“I don’t think either team wanted to lose tonight,” Oder said. “I’m proud of my kids for hanging in there.”
Before its last-ditch drive in regulation South’s offense had generally been scuffling, even though the Jaguars claimed a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
Josh Watson forced a Truss fumble that Wyatt Parker recovered on Ray-Pec’s first possession, giving South the ball at the Panthers’ 24. After Pogue found Kendall Blanton found for 20 yards on fourth down, Ester ran 11 yards for the game’s first touchdown at the 5:14 mark.
Two plays after the Jaguars lost a fumble, South’s D.J. Brownlee intercepted an overthrown ball by Reed Davis and took it back 42 yards for a touchdown with two minutes still to play in the first.
Aided by a couple late-hit penalties, South had a driven from its 9 to the Ray-Pec 23 in the second quarter before another fumble got scooped by the Panthers’ Marcus Zweifel and returned to the South 31.
Three plays later Steve Brown plowed in from 6 yards out, and Ray-Pec pulled within a touchdown 53 seconds before halftime.
In the third, South’s 10-play possession starting from the Ray-Pec 44 ended when Pogue’s pass to the end zone went off the hands of a leaping Brandin Dandridge and into the arms of Ray-Pec’s Baylee Custer.
Pogue, normally a starting linebacker but now taking snaps after season-opening quarterback Chris Swingle suffered a broken ankle in last week’s 40-9 loss to Fort Osage, was 8-of-16 passing for 106 yards. Adam Cofield, splitting carries with Ester in the first half, added 32 yards on 10 carries. All told, the Jaguars managed 232 yards of offense.
“We were [struggling] a little bit,” Oder said. “We had some injuries last week, but the kids did a nice job handling it.
“(Pogue) was injured last year and had surgery, so he didn’t get to play,” he said. “I don’t know when the last he started at quarterback was, but this was the first time on Friday night, and he did a real nice job.”
Brown was main cog in Ray-Pec’s double-wing ground attack, finishing with 93 yards on 24 carries. Truss had 54 carries on nine attempts and Davis 39 on 15 carries. Davis was 6-of-14 passing for 63 yards.