It’s tough for any young football team to win under the pressure of the playoffs. When it commits several turnovers and penalties, it makes it even tougher.
That’s what happened to William Chrisman in the first round of the Class 5 District 7 tournament. The Bears turned the ball over six times and were penalized 15 times for 140 yards in a 35-8 loss to Raytown, Bears ending their season at 1-9.
Chrisman started the game by driving to the Blue Jay 15-yard line before a pair of negative runs and an incomplete pass led to Kyle Sylvester’s missed 39-yard field goal.
From that point, everything went south for the Bears.
Chrisman fumbled out of the wildcat formation, which was the first time they had run it all year. Raytown took advantage with a 26-yard field goal from Aaron Spradley to put it up 3-0 with 36 seconds left in the first quarter.
"We were just trying something new there," Bears coach Scorpio Horn said of the wildcat. "You know, trying to find an identity. We’re going to try some more new things next year."
Quarterback Mike Baxter hooked up with Cortez Hall on a 32-yard touchdown pass to make it 10-0 1:35 seconds into the second stanza. Chrisman signal caller Gannon Ogle got picked off on the subsequent drive by John Murray and a face mask put Raytown at the Chrisman 13, but an interception from the Bears prevented any damage.
The Bears weren’t as fortunate the next time around, as Raytown’s Javohn Carr recovered a blocked punt, putting the ball at the Bear 12. Two plays into the possession, the Blue Jays’ other quarterback, Joe Straws scored from 6 yards out on a read option to increase the edge to 17-0 with 3:39 left in the half.
"Those turnovers were huge," Raytown coach Kevin Page said. "Forcing turnovers is something we constantly preach and something we thrive on. That blocked punt and the turnovers were a rallying cry for our team."
A Spradley 42-yard field goal and a 42-yard jaunt from Daquan Clark ballooned the Blue Jay advantage to 27-0. And after Chrisman coughed up its fifth turnover on a muffed punt, Clark hit paydirt for a second time on a 15-yard burst up the middle. He also took it in for the conversion to put his team ahead 35-0 midway through the fourth.
After managing just 36 yards for 22 minutes in the second half, the Bears avoided a shutout as running back D’Vonte Brown, who had 117 yards on 17 totes, helped methodically move the ball down the field before James Bailey capped the drive off with a 21-yard scoring run to cap the scoring.
The Raytown defense limited the Bears to just 235 yard of total offense, held Ogle to an 8-for-37 day passing for 108 yards and also picked him off three times.
"Our defense played really scrappy," Page said. "They have a very big, talented back, and he got some good runs on us, but we were able to contain him."
With the win, Raytown moves on to play at 7 p.m. Friday against the No. 1-ranked Fort Osage Indians.
"We want to show Fort Osage that we’re going to put forth the best possible effort Raytown High School has to offer, and that’s what we’re going to do."
Horn who started the year with just five seniors will bring the core of his team back in 2015 and feels good about what his team can do in the future.
"We’re going to get better," Horn said. "We were young this year, but we have all of our kids coming back but a few. We had two seniors out there, our quarterback and our linebacker. Things are looking good for next year, and we’re going to be ready to go."