Lee’s Summit North linebacker Lane Overton flew into the backfield and made his final tackle of Friday night’s game against Liberty, a stop on fourth-and-one to give the ball back to the Bronco offense.
In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t a memorable play, but it was the perfect way for Overton and Bronco defense to cap a nearly perfect game.
North’s defense was a force from the get-go, and six weeks after allowing 39 points to the Blue Jays, it was dominant in a 42-7 Bronco win that propelled it to the Class 6 state quarterfinals, a first in school history.
“We couldn’t give up 39 again tonight,” Overton said. “We made some adjustments that we thought would work and they did.”
The Broncos (9-2) play Rockhurst, which won 38-14 over Lee’s Summit West in the other Class 6 District 4 semifinal, at 7 p.m. next Friday in the district final that also doubles as a state quarterfinal.
That number – 39 – was still fresh in the defenses memory.
“That was on our minds all day,” fellow Bronco linebacker Dubem Okonkwo said. “We used that as a chip on our shoulder, for extra motivation. We didn’t have Lane the first time we played them, so I didn’t have my partner in crime.”
The duo showed what kind of damage they can do when they’re both on the field together. Just ask Liberty quarterback Alex Roush.
In the first game between the two teams, Roush threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns. Friday night he was just 12-of-29 for 72 yards and an interception, including 3-of-14 for 1 yard in the first half. A lot of that is due to the constant pressure he was under, with most of that coming from Overton and Okonkwo.
“That’s the goal for Lane and I every game,” said Okonkwo, who finished with two sacks. “We want to pressure the quarterback every drive.”
Even when they weren’t sacking Roush, they were in his face or knocking him to the ground as he threw. It was no wonder the Blue Jay offense never found a rhythm. In the first half their longest play was a 7-yard run, which was the final play of the half.
“Their quarterback is a good player,” North head coach Jamar Mozee said. “We knew we needed to get him off his spot and make him move his feet. We were touching him almost every time he dropped back. That makes it uncomfortable for any quarterback.”
Added Liberty head coach Chad Frigon: “They put a lot of pressure on us all night and took us out of our game. We couldn’t get any drives going. We struggled to get first downs from the get-go.”
Meanwhile, the Bronco offense was doing its thing. North scored a touchdown 69 seconds into the game when John Eldridge broke off a 63-yard run. A few minutes later, the Broncos were celebrating again when quarterback Jack Kemper found Dray Carroll for a 24-yard touchdown, making it 14-0.
That’s when it turned into the Keyon Mozee Show. He scored twice in the second quarter, once on a perfectly thrown ball from Kemper from 37 yards out, and then on a 65-yard run to make it 28-0 at halftime. He added two more touchdowns in the second half on a 9-yard run and a 67-yard burst late in the fourth quarter to make it 42-7.
“He’s really, really fast,” Jamar Mozee said. “He’s got big-time speed. And he’s really strong. Pound-for-pound he might be the strongest guy on our team. He’s elusive, and his height helps him. He kind of disappears out there.”
Liberty wrapped up a strong return season to Class 6 with a 7-4 record.