Broncos stave off Jaguars late in opening win

Block's late sack thwarts Blue Springs South's comeback attempt

Dave McQueen writer

Even in a wire-to-wire victory, Lee’s Summit North had to sweat a little.

Lee’s Summit North appeared bent on squandering an early two-touchdown lead it built in the opening minutes of its season opener against Blue Springs South Friday night. That lead dwindled to five by the fourth quarter, and the Jaguars had momentum and just seven yards to cover for a go-ahead touchdown in the waning seconds.

North needed a big defensive play, and Adrien Block delivered. Block blew through the Jaguars’ line and sacked quarterback Conor Johnson with 30 seconds to play and secured North’s 17-12 Suburban Conference Gold victory at North.

And that allowed North coach Jamar Mozee to breathe a sigh of relief.

“We’ve got to get better, but we did win,” Mozee said. “There was a lot going on, but we won.”

North led 14-0 at halftime despite struggling to generate any offense most of the game. Still, the Broncos’ defense was stout enough to keep South on its heels, especially after Jaguars starting quarterback Luke Fellers limped off the field with a lower leg injury in the second quarter.

Johnson filled in admirably for Fellers, completing 5 of 11 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown. Qaryan Lanier had six catches for 163 yards, 72 of them on a streaking TD catch for the Jaguars’ first score.

And running back Jayden Steele had 144 yards on 15 carries, including 33 on a sweep into the end zone that cut North’s lead to 17-12 midway through the fourth quarter.

North, meanwhile, managed just 156 total yards of offense and picked up just two first downs in the second half.

“We sputtered,” Mozee said. “We just didn’t play well. And credit to Blue Springs South too. They did a good job defensively and we just didn’t play well.”

South took possession after another Bronco three-and-out with 3:20 left to play and marched down to the Broncos’ 13-yard line with 40 seconds left. Johnson couldn’t connect with Steele on a crossing pattern in the end zone on third down, but a pass interference call on North gave the Jaguars a new set of downs.

Facing fourth-and-four from the 7 with 23 seconds left, Johnson rolled back to pass only to be met by an unimpeded Block, who dropped him on the 12.

“I was thinking about what Coach (Mozee) tells us all the time: Big-time players make big-time plays,” said Block, a senior defensive lineman/tight end. “I knew I needed to put the team on my back and make a play. I jumped off the ball, used my hands and it got me a sack.”

North’s night started with a big-time play. Senior Isaiah Mims returned the opening kickoff 66 yards, setting up an 8-yard TD pass from quarterback Tre Baker to wide receiver Logan Muckey on the Broncos’ first possession.

North made it 14-0 on a 1-yard TD run by sophomore Quincey Baker midway through the second quarter shortly after South fumbled deep in North territory. The Jaguars had two drives end on turnovers in the first half.

The second half would be a different story.

“We just started slow,” South coach Matt Klein said. “They obviously had the energy in the first half and they came out and punched us in the face. But I was proud of the way our kids fought through the heat and everything in the second half. We just came up short.”