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Broncos capitalize when Wildcats' gamble goes awry

By Cody Thorn
Special to The Examiner

Blue Springs coach David Smith gambled and came up short.

On the other side of the field, when it was time for a game-deciding play, Jamar Mozee called the right play and Lee’s Summit North rallied for a 38-35 victory Friday night at Lee’s Summit North.

Quarterback Tre Baker hit Devin Blayney for a 25-yard touchdown on fourth down with 2 minutes, 3 seconds left to help the Broncos rally for a fourth straight win against the Wildcats.

The Broncos were facing a fourth-and-12 from the 25-yard line when Baker went back to pass and the junior threw a pass down the middle of the field and Blayney hauled it in at the back of the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.

“I saw the ball coming and I just wanted to make sure I get the ball and secure it,” said Blayney, a junior wide receiver who had seven catches for 168 yards and two touchdowns. “That is all that went through my head. I saw my feet go down and I knew my knee hit, so I knew I had it.

“I knew we were down by four and we needed the touchdown. I was surprised at the play call. I thought we could go with something completely different. I did my job and it happened.”

Mozee noted the Broncos (4-2, 2-2 Suburban Big Eight) ran the same play earlier in the game, which led to an 80-yard touchdown connection between Blayney and Baker, who completed 11 of 25 passes for 218 yards and three scores. Their first touchdown gave the Broncos a 17-7 lead in the second quarter.

Mozee called a timeout prior to the critical fourth-down play call, with 2:10 to play and his team trailing 35-31.

“We ran the same play and he made the catch,” Mozee said of Blayney. “He is getting confidence. He is evolving into a really good player. He does a good job of coming to work every day. He runs good routes. He is deceptively fast. He has good hands. He understands what he is doing and that is what you are seeing. They were in man coverage and he won his matchup.”

Lee’s Summit North held Blue Springs (2-4, 1-4) to a four-and-out on the next drive to ice the game. That was the second straight time the defense came up big against the Wildcats in the fourth quarter. Blue Springs held a 35-31 lead when it got the ball with 5:24 to play.

Patrick Maloney hit Carson Willich for a 4-yard pass, but came up short of the first-down marker at the 32-yard line.

Facing fourth-and-1 at the 31, with 3:13 to play, Smith called a timeout. Iowa commit Beau Stephens went in motion and shifted to the right side of the line and the Wildcats ran the ball that way, with DeAndre Thomas getting the call. He was stopped at the 23-yard line for a big loss with a host of Broncos wrapping him up behind the line of scrimmage.

“We put it in my hands at the end,” Smith said. “It was a vote of confidence. We need a yard. Maybe a different play … you can second guess all day. The defense went out and took it to fourth down. They put it in a spot, and what a better spot than the back of the end zone. It was a toe-toucher. I don’t know how close it was but it looked close from my angle.”

Mozee was in that same spot a few weeks ago against Liberty, a 38-35 loss in Week 3.

“He gambled,” Mozee said of Smith. “I understand. I did a couple weeks ago against Liberty and we didn’t get. They kicked a field goal and won. That is part of it.”

Lee’s Summit North built a 31-14 lead over Blue Springs early in the third quarter but had to rally for the victory.

Javion Watson blocked a punt and recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown for North on the fourth play of the second half. Two plays later, Jaden McGhee intercepted a pass and the Broncos had the ball at the 14-yard line. On third down, Baker hit Logan Muckey for a 12-yard touchdown.

The Wildcats pulled with 31-27 by scoring on the next two possessions on touchdown passes from Maloney to Xavier Loyd, who had nine catches for 71 yards.

After pinning the Broncos back at their 12-yard line to start the drive, a 14-yard punt gave the Wildcats the ball at the Broncos’ 23-yard line with 8:14 to play.

On the third play of the drive, Thomas scored on a 1-yard run – set up by a 13-yard run by him on the first play of the drive that included a personal foul after the play. Thomas finished with three touchdowns – two rushing and a one receiving – a 47-yard score in the second that brought the Wildcats within 17-14 at halftime.

“We’ve got to finish it out, you know,” Smith said. “Those two scores early in the third were really a factor. It is what it is. I’m proud of our guys.”

Blue Springs hosts Class No. 3-ranked Lee’s Summit West (5-1), while the Broncos travel to Liberty North (3-2) – a Class 6 quarterfinalist year.