Cancer survivor Jacksyn McIntyre's hat trick gives Blue Springs South win in Sheridan Cup

Bill Althaus
The Examiner

Moments after Blue Springs South's Jacksyn McIntyre scored his first goal in an emotionally charged Sheridan Cup soccer game against crosstown rival Blue Springs, he sprinted toward the standing-room-only crowd, spotted his mother and shouted, "That's for Grandma!" 

He could have added “the best is yet to come,” because the all-state senior forward scored all three goals – off three assists from teammate and longtime friend Dylan Prater – to power the Jaguars to a 3-2 Suburban Big Eight Conference victory. 

Before the game, players from both teams observed a moment of silence to honor Dave Sheridan, the former Blue Springs South coach who lost his life to cancer but will be remembered forever by anyone who knew him.

Blue Springs South senior forward Jacksyn McIntyre (7) and teammate Dawson Sterling (20) celebrate after defeating crosstown rival Blue Springs 3-2 in the Sheridan Cup game Monday at South. McIntyre, who survived cancer, scored all three goals for the Jaguars in the annual game that honors former South coach Dave Sheridan, who lost his battle to cancer in 2016.

"This one's for Coach Sheridan, for my grandma, who lost her battle with cancer; for our teammate Russell Woods, whose father is putting up a valiant fight against cancer. For everyone whose life has been touched by cancer, this is for them," McIntyre said.

Winning the battle: Jags' McIntyre overcomes cancer to fulfill his 'passion'

McIntyre could add his name to that list as he is five years cancer free after overcoming a bout with lymphoma that was discovered when he was in the seventh grade. 

"I beat it!" he said, pointing to a small surgical scar on his neck. "That's another reason why tonight is so big for me. I can't even tell you what this game means to me, my family, my South (soccer) family and everyone who knew Coach Sheridan.

Blue Springs South senior forward Jacksyn McIntyre (7), with help from teammate Brandin Johnson (6), puts up three fingers to signify his hat trick in the Sheridan Cup game against rival Blue Springs Monday at South. McIntyre's third goal in the 70th minute proved to be the game-winner in a 3-2 win for the Jaguars.

"I know he coached a lot of those guys on the Wildcats, and they came over here and gave us everything they had. This has become such a great rivalry series, and I want them to know how much we respect all of them." 

The feeling is mutual for Wildcats coach Michael Palermo, who managed a smile after his team fell to 11-7 and 6-5.

"I've had so many great conversations with Todd (Findley, the South soccer coach) about how great it is that this is really a strong crosstown rivalry again," Palermo said. "Tonight was a great game, with a great atmosphere. I'm not happy with the final result, but we respect Coach Findley and those guys and we hope to see them again (in the playoffs)." 

He paused for a moment, and quipped, "Maybe I can come up with a plan to stop Jacksyn." 

He chuckled, as McIntyre was within listening distance and gave a nod and a smile to Palermo. 

Blue Springs senior forward Hovan Jaghlasian's first two goals of the season gave Blue Springs a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute and tied the game at 2-2 in the 44th minute. 

Blue Springs senior forward Hovan Jaghlasian (19) celebrates his goal with teammates Justin Skinker, Isaac Schnakenberg and Vincent Croney, from left, during a 3-2 regular season loss against Blue Springs South. Jaghlasian scored the only goal as the Wildcats defeated the Jaguars 1-0 in a Class 4 District 6 semifinal Monday in Columbia.

"Hovan has gotten so much bigger and stronger and he picked a great time to score his first two goals," Palermo added. "He can add a lot to our offense." 

McIntyre's first goal came in the 34th minute to tie it 1-1.

He then gave the Jaguars a 2-1 lead in the 43rd minute, but less than a minute later Jaghlasian scored to set up McIntyre's dramatic game winner with about 10 minutes left.

"I knew if I got the ball to Jacksyn," Prater said, "he would do something with it. He's just so explosive. He does something big every game. The teams we play try to stop him. You can slow him down, but you're not going to stop him." 

When asked about the game-winner, McIntyre smiled and pointed toward Prater. 

"It's all Dylan," McIntyre said. "He makes me look good out there." 

Sheridan strong: Jaguars play for late coach, blank Wildcats

With the win that avenged a 1-0 loss to the Wildcats on Sept. 29, the Jaguars improved to 12-6-2 and 9-4 with one regular season home game left against Liberty Wednesday. The Jaguars then have a 3 p.m. Saturday first-round Class 4 District 6 battle with Columbia Battle at Columbia Rock Bridge. 

"Both teams are playing so well, and every time we play Blue Springs it's close," Findley said after his team improved to 2-1 against the Wildcats this season, including a 2-1 win in the season-opening Raytown South Tournament. "I have so much respect for Michael and his team and it's always a great match when we play each other.

Blue Springs South's Kaden Edwards, left, and Blue Springs' Vincent Croney (10) battle for a header in Monday's Sheridan Cup game at South. The host Jaguars claimed a 3-2 win.

"We came out on top tonight, and it was so great to play in front of a big crowd, to bring an awareness of cancer and Dave Sheridan to everyone in Blue Springs and to celebrate Russell and his father Brad, who is so inspirational to all of us." 

Previously:'The rivalry is back': Here's how Blue Springs edged Blue Springs South for bragging rights

In typical Blue Springs-Blue Springs South drama, Jaguars junior goalkeeper Joey Lorek had to make a diving save in the final minute to secure that one-goal lead and the victory. 

Each player held up a sign in support of someone they knew dealing with cancer, and his sign read: "BRAD WOODS." 

"We're all here to support Russell and his family and I know what this game means to everyone at South," Lorek said. "It's just such an honor for me to play in this game. I wasn't going to let that goal get by me at the end. No way! Tonight was too important for all of us."