Smithville head coach Jason Ambroson summed up his team’s offense perfectly after another impressive showing Friday night, a 40-29 win at 10th-ranked Grain Valley.
In an age of football where offenses love to spread things out, go five-wide and throw the ball all over the field, the seventh-ranked Warriors keep it simple with a strong running game and a lot of quick-hitting passes. It’s led to three straight 40-plus point games and a 3-0 record.
“We’re not flashy or fancy but it’s effective,” Ambroson said.
He’s not wrong.
Twin brothers Spencer and Isaac Miller were a dynamic duo Friday night. Spencer, the first-year starting quarterback, was 17-of-21 for 226 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 41 yards. Isaac, the starting running back, ran the ball 30 times for 114 yards and four scores, while also catching three passes from his brother for 45 yards.
“With Isaac in the backfield, he’s a threat to take it to the house every time,” Spencer said. “That really opens up the pass game. And the O-line is amazing. They deserve all the praise.”
This was a close game throughout, as Smithville held a 17-14 lead at the half.
The Warriors got the ball to start the second half and marched right down the field. Spencer found Jerrin Clark for a 9-yard touchdown pass to make it 25-14 after the two-point conversion.
Grain Valley answered when quarterback Cole Keller found Logan Pratt for a 34-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion made it 25-22.
But like they did all night long, the Warriors had an answer. This time, Isaac ran in for a 21-yard score on a fourth-and-one to make it 31-22.
This time, the Eagles couldn’t respond with an answer of their own. Pratt fumbled on the first play of the ensuing drive and the Warriors recovered. Five plays later, Isaac found the end zone for the final time from 3 yards out to make it 37-22 early in the fourth quarter.
“Two things we didn’t do well were secure the ball and not wrapping up like we should have,” Eagles head coach David Allie said, as they also had an interception in the first half that led to a Warrior touchdown. “The turnover in the second half hurt us. We kept our defense on the field. They (Smithville) ran the ball well, they hit short passes, they had a good game plan. We couldn’t get off the field.”
The Eagles continued to hang around, as Keller found Hunter Newsome for a 25-yard score midway through the fourth to make it 37-29.
But Grain Valley couldn’t get its defense off the field when it needed to. The Warriors converted two third down plays on their next drive, both through the air, gaining 20 and 44 yards to set up a game-clinching 23-yard field goal.
“When it comes down to it you have to be balanced,” Ambroson said. “The defense has to pick what they’re going to stop. They can’t stop everything.”
Grain Valley dropped to 2-1 on the year but had its best offensive game of the season, as all four of its touchdowns came from 30-plus yards.
“We hit some big plays, which was nice,” Allie said. “We had some nice balls, so we saw some stuff that we liked.”
Smithville is now 3-0 on the year and they will host Raytown South next week.
“We’re really hungry and ready to prove it every single day,” Spencer said. “We don’t want to get content.”