There’s nightmares everyone has, when something seems well in control and then suddenly you see it going out of control. Before you can slow down what’s spinning out of control, it’s too late.
On Friday night, the Raymore-Peculiar football team nearly experienced that. The Panthers held off Blue Springs South in a 45-37 win after leading by 30 with 11 minutes left in the contest.
With the game seemingly in hand, Ray-Pec turned to its second string to run out the clock. Meanwhile the Jaguars scored 22 unanswered points, highlighted by two touchdown runs by MJ Overstreet of 50 and 54 yards.
“I’ll give Blue Springs South credit, they didn’t quit,” Ray-Pec head coach Tom Kruse said. “We made some changes to try and get some more kids in there and shame on me. That’s on me. That game wasn’t that close.”
Kruse wasn’t wrong, until that point, the Panthers looked unstoppable. They jumped out to 24-0 lead behind a pair of touchdowns from Luke Grimm, one a 25-yard run and another an 8-yard reception. The senior receiver ended the night with four catches for 111 yards including an 85-yard reception in the third quarter that, at the time, seemed like the finishing touches on the game.
“It was great blocking up front,” Ray-Pec quarterback Conrad Hawley said. “The running back made a great fake. Luke beat his man, I under threw him a little bit, but I’m glad he made the play”
The Panthers ran for 263 yards, led by Gabe Shanklin who found the end zone twice. He finished with 126 yards on 18 carries.
“(A balanced attack) going to be the key for us,” Kruse said. “We feel like we can throw it if we have to, but in high school football you want to be able to establish the run game and you know that’s the key thing.”
The Panthers have shifted their defense to a 4-3 this season. Part of that came because of the depth at that position. Kruse is able to rotate five different players in on the line, led by senior Gerald Schiele.
On the first drive of the night it was two other defensive linemen that caused problems, Ethan George hit South quarterback Max Conard, jarring the football in the air. It was then intercepted by Dominic Taibi. That led to a 37-yard field goal from Gabe Sappington.
For Blue Springs South, the focus for the new coaching staff is improvement not just on Friday night, but throughout the week.
“I think it’s a lot of the weekly preparation,” Blue Springs South coach Matt Klein said. “We have to get better at practicing, at that daily attention to detail and that will then transfer for us on Friday night. We had some lulls tonight and we have those in practice too.”