After 23 long years, Lee’s Summit North got its first postseason win in football Friday night.
Adding to the list of firsts for the 2018 Broncos, they finally got in the win column in district play with a 26-14 win over Raymore-Peculiar at the Bronco Athletic Complex in the Class 6 District 4 quarterfinals.
“If feels good, man,” said senior running back Ontario Russell. “Our school has done a lot of stuff for the first time this year, and to add this to our list, it’s more significant than anything. You know, we’ve never beat Blue Springs. We’ve never won a conference championship. But this is the biggest thing of them all because if we lose, we go home. To be the first one ever, it feels special.”
“It is an accomplishment,” said Broncos head coach Jamar Mozee, “a big accomplishment for, you know, it’s our team, it’s our school, our community. We’ve lost a long time. To win, to start to be winning, it’s big. And it’s a real sign that our program is on the up-and-up.”
Playing without starting quarterback Christian Carter, the running game, and more specifically, explosive running plays, gave the Broncos the edge. Russell and fellow running back Keyon Mozee combined for 280 yards rushing and three touchdowns of 50 yards or more.
“I challenged our O-line, our running backs,” said Jamar Mozee “and said, ‘Hey, you’ve got to win this game for us.’ And they did. They ran hard, and they made some plays.”
Russell rushed for 178 yards and two scores while Keyon Mozee added 102 yards and a 52-yard touchdown run.
Outside of one explosive play, neither team mustered a whole lot of offense in the first half. On the second play from scrimmage, Russell cut left and left the Panthers in the dust for a 60-yard touchdown to go up 7-0.
The Panther defense stepped up after giving up the long touchdown, forcing the Broncos to two consecutive three-and-outs. After nearly blocking Justin Mann’s first punt, Gunnar Griffin got in the way of the second and the Panthers got on the board with a safety.
Stringing together nine runs from Gabe Shanklin and four completions from Conrad Hawley, the Panthers took an 8-7 lead with 4:31 left in the third quarter on a pass to Je’Von Williams.
Then the Broncos struck back with a vengeance.
Russell broke off a 69-yard touchdown run and Keyon Mozee added his less than two minutes later to put the Broncos up 19-8 with 2:29 left in the third.
“They didn’t have a turnover,” said Ray-Pec head coach Tom Kruse, “and I think you get into this time of the year, you have to take care of the football, and they did a great job of doing that. We knew they were going to run it, and run it well. And the big play kind of got us again.”
After Hawley and Williams linked up again to pull the Panthers within 19-14, the Broncos took the air out of the ball, John Eldridge iced the game with a 20-yard run to go up 26-14.
BLUE SPRINGS SOUTH 35, TROY BUCHANAN 14: Despite entering with just two wins, Blue Springs South advanced to the district semifinals for the second straight season by upending No. 2 seed Troy Buchanan.
The Jaguars improved to 3-7 while finishing the Trojans' season at 7-3.
ODESSA 62, OAK GROVE 7: Oak Grove finished with 1-9 record after falling to top-seeded Odessa in a Class 3 District 7 first-round game Friday.
Moses Sanderson scored the Panthers' lone touchdown and rushed for 37 yards.
Dakota DeGraffenried rushed for 164 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries to lead top-ranked Odessa (10-0).
LAFAYETTE COUNTY 49, ST. MICHAEL 7: St. Michael the Archangel Catholic finished 4-6 with a loss to the Huskers Friday at Higginsville.
Nolan Boyer scored on a 3-yard run for the Guardians' lone touchdown after Lafayette County raced to a 35-0 lead.