Each game the Grain Valley defense has a number they hope to hit for turnovers forced. Friday night in their district semifinal game against Grandview, they hit that number and then some.
The Eagles forced six turnovers – four fumbles and two interceptions – to help lead them to a convincing 36-7 win and a spot in the district title game against Harrisonville next Friday night.
“We got our (turnover) goal tonight,” Eagles head coach David Allie said with a laugh.
On the other sideline, the mistakes left Grandview head coach Jeremie Picard shaking his head.
“Turnovers. That’s it. End of story,” he said. “We were up 7-0 and they scored 36 unanswered. I don’t know how many teams could overcome those kinds of turnovers.”
The Bulldogs hit the ground running, scoring on their opening drive on a 1-yard touchdown run from Antone Grant. Despite losing two fumbles in the first quarter, they held that 7-0 lead and got a huge boost on a fourth-and-goal stop from their defense on the 1-yard line to start the second quarter.
But after that, the Eagles started to take control.
The Eagle defense recorded a safety on the next play to make it 7-2. After the ensuing kickoff, quarterback Parker Bosserman scored on the first play of the drive, rumbling 44 yards down the sideline to make it 9-7.
Grain Valley followed that by recovering an onside kick and seven plays later they were in the end zone again. This time Bosserman found Hunter Newsom for a 16-yard touchdown pass.
In a span of a little more than four minutes, the Eagles went from down 7-0 to leading 16-7.
“That safety got us fired up,” Allie said. “That gave us an emotional lift. We were feeding off each other. The dam burst.”
Added Picard: “At our level, momentum is such a big deal. Everyone, from the coaches to the players, has to keep their composure. I felt like we had momentum, but a couple of plays is all it takes.”
The Eagles kept the pressure on in the second half. Willie Lanear intercepted a pass early in the third quarter that led to another Bosserman touchdown run, this one from 15 yards out on another outside run.
“We were pounding the ball down the middle a lot, so when we went outside it tended to work,” Bosserman said. “It’s never a bad option.”
Bosserman added another touchdown a few minutes later when he passed to Logan Pratt for a 45-yard score to make it 29-7.
Bosserman is filling in for injured quarterback Cole Keller, who went down during last week’s playoff game against Raytown South. The junior has some quarterback experience, having played as a freshman on the junior varsity team, but his reps since then have come at wide receiver and defensive back.
“It was a lot of fun back there,” said Bosserman, who finished with 113 yards passing and 36 rushing with a hand in four touchdowns. “I’ve got an opportunity and I’m doing what I can with it. I just rely on my teammates. We have some ballers out there.”
One of those ballers, Seth Dankenbring, put the finishing touches on the win with a 9-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
It was a disappointing end to a 5-6 season for Grandview that had come a long way since the start of the season.
“Starting 0-3 is a hard hill to climb,” Picard said. “They didn’t fold. A lot of kids would have. But we turned it around quite a bit. It’s hard not to be proud of the progress.”
Grain Valley improved to 8-3 and will host a district championship game next Friday night when Harrisonville comes calling.
“The team did a great job rallying around each other tonight,” Allie said. “We’re one of 16 left. We just have to take care of business.”