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Jaguars take Sheridan Cup from Wildcats

By Bill Althaus
Blue Springs South's Jacksyn McIntyre (7), Brandin Johnson (6) and John Chambers (11) celebrate Dylan Prater's goal in Wednesday's Sheridan Cup game against rival Blue Springs at South. Prater scored two goals to help boost the Jaguars to a 4-0 win over the Wildcats.

An emotional Blue Springs South High School soccer team walked near midfield to salute their fans Wednesday night.

That salute followed a memorable Sheridan Cup victory over crosstown rival Blue Springs that featured solid net play by Joey Lorek and a second-half offensive explosion that led to the 4-0 Suburban Big Eight Conference win.

Lorek made a point-blank save on a bullet by Will Rusk with just 1:37 left in the first half and coach Jon Grice said that sparked the strong second half by his Jaguars.

“It was just one play, but it was a great play by Joey,” Grice said after his team improved to 6-5 overall and 3-2 in the Big Eight. “If they take a 1-0 lead that late in the first half, it could be a completely different game.

“I thought we were too concerned about them in the first half and we began to focus on ourselves in the second half and we really played well.”

Blue Springs South's Peyton Cole (15) boots the ball downfield past Blue Springs' Aiden Bousman (13) and Landon Bernhardy (4) in their Sheridan Cup game Wednesday at South. The host Jaguars went on to a 4-0 win.

Four minutes into the second half Dylan Prater emerged from a scrum in front of the net and fired the ball past Wildcats goalkeeper Camden Jackson.

“We came out on fire in the second half, and getting that first goal was big,” Prater said. “Soccer is funny. You can be shut out for a half, but once you score that first goal, it’s easier for the other goals to follow. And that’s what happened to us tonight.’

Jackson Keeton made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute and Jacksyn McIntyre gave South a bit of breathing room with a goal in the 65th minute.

Prater’s second goal – in which he curved a shot over a Blue Springs defensive wall and past the outstretched hands of Jackson – came on a direct kick in the 70th minute to seal the win.

Blue Springs South's Dylan Prater (9) clears a line of Blue Springs defenders for a goal in Wednesday's Sheridan Cup game at South. Prater scored two goals to help spark the Jaguars to a 4-0 win.

“I got a perfect pass from Peyton (Cole) and all I had to do was finish it and put the ball in the net,” said McIntyre, who ran close to the stands and saluted his good friend Jack Dean and the Jaguar faithful after his goal. “This is such a big win because we’re all playing for Coach Sheridan. There isn’t a bigger regular season game than this one.”

His teammates all nodded in agreement, as the late Sheridan was a former South soccer coach who passed away from cancer.

“Biggest game of the year, without a doubt, except for district,” Keeton added, “because we’re playing for our team, our school and Coach Sheridan. And you always want to beat your crosstown rival, but you really want to win when you’re playing in the Sheridan (Cup).”

Blue Springs South players celebrate a goal by Jackson Keeton in Wednesday's Sheridan Cup game against rival Blue Springs. Keeton's goal gave the Jaguars a 2-0 lead on the way to a 4-0 victory.

While his teammates discussed the big win, Lorek, the sophomore goalkeeper, patiently waited his turn to talk about his performance in the memorable win.

“I’m really happy I was able to make all the stops tonight, but I was really happy to make that stop before the first half,” Lorek said. “The guys played so great tonight. We were all playing for each other and Coach Sheridan and we got one of the biggest wins of the season.”

Blue Springs coach Michael Palermo was pleased with his team’s first-half play.

“I thought we dominated possession in the first half and just couldn’t put our chances away,” Palermo said after his Wildcats dropped to 6-5 overall and 2-4 in the conference. “When you don’t finish it comes back to haunt you, and that’s what happened tonight.

“I was disappointed with our performance in the second half. South came out in the second half and put their chances away. They have a serious weapon with Jacksyn up top, and if you fall asleep for a second, he will make you pay – and he did.”

Blue Springs South back Aaron Self, left, breaks up an attack by Blue Springs' Dom Zubeck in Wednesday's Sheridan Cup game at South. The host Jaguars blanked the Wildcats 4-0.