It’s been an enjoyable season for Lee’s Summit North football, but coach Jamar Mozee found little to enjoy Friday night.
Sure, Lee’s Summit North rolled to another victory, dispatching Raymore-Peculiar 42-21 at Ray-Pec and improving to 6-2 overall and 3-1 in Suburban Big Six play on this breakthrough season. But that score is a little deceiving.
If not for a litany of penalties and other mistakes, it could have been more impressive. As it was, the Broncos rolled up those points despite of themselves. And that didn’t set well with Mozee.
“It was sloppy, it was horrible to me,” Mozee said after giving his team an emphatic tongue-lashing during the postgame huddle. “Lot of penalties … no good, man.”
Fourteen penalties to be exact. Half of them were for holding, and one of those wiped out an 80-yard touchdown run. And there were even a couple for unsportsmanlike conduct. They totaled well over 100 yards and they often made the Broncos’ normally efficient running game sputter at times.
That inefficiency came somewhat as a surprise for Mozee, who said the Broncos had a good week of practice going into the game.
“It was all night on offense,” Mozee said. “We had negative plays. We’re a running team and we don’t need negative plays. That’s hard to overcome, even with some of the guys that we have.”
But North has big-play guys and two of them – quarterback Christian Carter and running back Ontario Russell, turned in enough big plays to keep the Broncos ahead. Carter threw two touchdown passes to Russell and rushed for another TD. Russell ran a kickoff back for another TD.
“He’s that guy for us,” Mozee said of Carter. “He has a lot of talent, man. He’s able to improvise and do some things and you need that sometimes.”
That ability came in handy when Ray-Pec (3-5, 1-3) was still within two touchdowns late in the third quarter. A Ray-Pec fumble gave the Broncos decent field position, but a false start and an illegal man downfield flag had them stalled at midfield.
Facing third down and 19 yards to go on the North 47, Carter scrambled out of a collapsing pocket and found Russell open down the left sideline. He sprinted into end zone untouched and put the Broncos up comfortably at 35-14.
“I just trusted myself, trusted my arm to get it to him,” Carter said. “I saw he was a wide open down the field, I had to scramble out of the pocket and I trusted him to catch it.”
North scored first when Lazell Williams snagged a pick six late in the first quarter. The Broncos’ next possession ended with a fumbled handoff on the North 18, and Ray-Pec soon tied the game with an 8-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Conrad Hawley to Luke Grimm.
That tie didn’t last long. Russell grabbed the ensuing kickoff in front of the goal line, found a seam and sprinted 99 yards to put North back on top. Carter’s first TD pass to Russell, a 30-yarder on third and 13, increased the Broncos’ lead to 21-7 just before halftime.
Carter scored on a 4-yard run after the Broncos took the opening kickoff of the second half for a 28-7 lead, and Ray-Pec needed only one play after a long kickoff return to make it 28-14 after a 32-yard run from Brandon Rayos.
Carter’s scrambling TD would put it out of reach. Another pick six from Jaylen Hickman in the fourth quarter put the Broncos up 42-14 until Hawley hooked up with Grimm for a 12-yard TD pass in the final minute.
“Anytime you have two pick sixes and a kickoff return and for a touchdown, that’s a pretty big point swing,” Ray-Pec coach Tom Kruse said. “That’s a really good football team. They’ve got so many weapons.”
Mozee would like to get those weapons a little sharper, especially with postseason play looming. North closes its regular season at home next week against Blue Springs South.
It’s a message he made loud and clear after a sloppy Friday night.
“We’ve got to get back to what we usually do,” Carter said. “Hopefully no more penalties next week.”