Lineman duo helps power Eagles

By Bill Althaus
Donovan McBride, left, and Jack Bailey are longtime friends and heart-and-soul players on the Grain Valley offensive line. However, this year the 280-pound McBride never leaves the field as he also starts on the stingy Eagles defensive line. They will be key factors when the Eagles travel to Platte County Friday to play the Pirates in a Class 5 state quarterfinal.

Jack Bailey and Donovan McBride are lifelong friends who happen to be heart-and-soul players for the Grain Valley football team.

The past three years, they have shared the offensive trench, which is so important to the Eagles' run-oriented offensive scheme,

But this year, McBride has played a dynamic dual role for the 10-1 Eagles, who travel to Platte County Friday for a 7 p.m. Class 5 sectional game against the 10-1 Pirates, who ended Grain Valley’s season last year with a 38-21 victory.

McBride basically never leaves the field as he is the Eagles center and a defensive tackle, who has 23 tackles, 4.5 sacks and six tackles for a loss. Meanwhile, his buddy has enough pancake blocks on opposing defensive linemen that he could earn a part-time job at IHOP.

"They're something else," Eagles head coach David Allie said of the two seniors. "They are leaders, they are great players and even greater young men. Man, they are the type of guys who you like to use to build a team, to build a program."

Senior quarterback Cole Keller, who has passed for 1,141 yards and 19 touchdowns and run for 1,079 yards and 13 TDs, is a huge fan of McBride and Bailey.

"... Everything we do on offense is because of our offensive line," Keller said. "Our line has been amazing this season. And look at what the defense has done all season, but especially what they did last week against Raytown.

"We have that 68-yard (touchdown) drive to open the game – which was all Parker Bosserman (he ran for all 68 yards) and our line – then our defense just goes out and shuts them down. I'm glad they're on our side because I wouldn't want to try and play against our defense, especially the way it's playing now."

Grain Valley defensive lineman Donovan McBride runs for additional yardage after recovering an Oak Park fumble during a game the Eagles won 36-6 earlier this season.

If you want to know how deep the bond between McBride and Bailey actually runs, just listen to this story from the big redhead.

"This is the first year Donovan has played defense, so I like to get after him when the defense comes off the field," Bailey said. "I'll ask him, 'Big man, you look tired. Are you tired?' You know we're good friends if I can get away with a comment like that."

McBride, whose motor is always running, needs no motivation from his friend and fellow lineman.

"Going both ways was tough in the summer," McBride said. "I'm 280 pounds and going both ways when it's 96 degrees in practice, that was tough. I was tired, but it's those practices that got me ready to play both ways when everything is on the line. Friday is the biggest game Jack and I have played in, and we are so ready.

"They beat us last year. They were the better team last year, and we're working hard to get some redemption."

Grain Valley quarterback Cole Keller (1) celebrates with offensive lineman Donovan McBride (57) after scoring the final touchdown of the Eagles' 22-0 home win over previously unbeaten Belton in a game earlier this season.