When asked about his 9-3 Eagles football team, Grain Valley High School football coach David Allie had a ready answer.
“These kids are selfless,” said Allie, whose Eagles travel to Platte County tonight at 7 p.m. to take on the 9-3 Pirates in Class 4 state quarterfinal action that will be broadcast on KCWJ (1030 AM).
“They have really grown together as a team and as a family this season. Not one kid on this team cares about personal stats, personal glory, getting a big headline – all they care about is winning. And that is why we’re having so much fun and they are such a great group to coach.”
A trio of those selfless players are sophomore wide receiver Logan Pratt, senior defensive back Willie Lanear and senior defensive back/wide receiver Gavin Oyler.
“Are you sure you meant to talk to me?” asked Pratt, who leads all Eagle wide receivers with six touchdowns. “I’ve never been interviewed before, but I really like talking about my teammates.
“All I want to do is help my team win. If that means going out and blocking for our running backs or Parker when he’s carrying the ball I’m ready to do that. I like to clear the way on an outside run, because I like to block as a wide receiver.
“And if they call on me to catch the ball, I’m going to do it.”
Lanear, who has 22 tackles and two interceptions, believes that playing for each other makes the Eagles a stronger, more cohesive team.
“We’re playing for our brothers out there,” Lanear said. “We’ve gone through some adversity this year, like losing (quarterback) Cole (Keller, to injury), but we have always come back stronger and that’s what makes a great team.”
The Eagles lost to the Pirates 18-17 in the regular season when Platte County scored 18 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
Oyler does not need to be reminded of that setback.
“I think about it every day,” said Oyler, who led the Eagles with eight receptions in last week’s 32-21 victory over Harrisonville, the first postseason win over the longtime rival Wildcats. “I love playing defense, I love catching the ball, but most of all, I love to win – and so do all the other guys on the team. For the seniors on this team, the next time we lose is the last time we ever play Grain Valley football, and we don’t want that to happen.”
This season, Oyler has a team-high 30 receptions for 446 yards, six tackles and a fumble recovery.
Oh, he also has a quarterback rating of 644.4.
“Yeah, isn’t that ridiculous?” Oyler, who is 2 for 2 for two touchdowns and 51 yards, said laughing. “I saw that on our stat sheet and just started laughing. I don’t think I’m going to be throwing the ball any Friday night, we’ll leave that to (new starting quarterback) Parker (Bosserman, who has a 139.9 quarterback rating).”