Eagles end season with 42-0 loss to Harrisonville

David Richards didn’t want it to end like this.
Neither did his Grain Valley High School teammates.
The most prolific receiver in Eagles history never really got a chance to make an impact Thursday night as visiting Harrisonville blanked the Eagles 42-0 and claimed second place in Class 4 District 13 action.
For the first time in state history, two teams from each district will advance to postseason play. Coach Forrest Rovello’s Eagles will not be one of them.
“This is devastating, just a horrible way to end your career,” said Richards, who didn’t have a reception against a stingy Wildcats defense that allowed just 161 total yards.
“To lose is one thing. But to lose at home, to get shutout on Senior Night and to miss out on the chance to go to the playoffs is one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to deal with.”
The loss leaves the Eagles with a 1-2 district mark and 4-6 overall record. It is the Eagles first losing season since 2003.
This youthful team was missing many of the starters who made last year’s 12-1 team such a great success (their lone loss came against Harrisonville in the state semifinals).
“That team over there,” Rovello said, pointing to the 8-2 Wildcats, “is a lot better than we are. I hope these players realize that ’08 is over and ’09 begins tonight.
“Physically, they were so much stronger than our guys. We better get serious before next season and hit that weight room. All season long, I kept hearing the excuse, ‘We’re young.’ Well, we got beat by a better team.
“Winning and losing will take care of itself and I can accept a loss if we give a great effort …”
He didn’t need to finish the comment, because he was not pleased with his team’s effort.
Harrisonville quarterback Sam Cooper ran for four touchdowns (3, 1, 38, 26 yards) and passed for an 11-yard score to Seth Bailey.
Cooper bounced off would-be Eagles defenders like a ball in a pinball machine.
On the 26-yard score he walked a tightrope near the sideline for the final six yards of the run.
“We didn’t do much tackling tonight,” Rovello said.
The other Harrisonville score came on a 48-yard run by Daniel Saldana.
The Eagles held the Wildcats to a three-and-out first series, then saw Harrisonville score on its next six possessions.
It was 14-0 after one quarter, 35-0 at the half and 42-0 early in the third quarter when Harrisonville reserves entered the game.
One of the most impressive Wildcats was kicker Dallas Herndon, who was six of six on extra points and kicked all seven kickoffs deep into the end zone.
One kick appeared to cross the uprights, drawing a roar of approval from the large gathering of Wildcats fans in attendance.
The game was a sellout with fans flowing out of the bleachers on both sides of the stadium and circling the track.
Senior members of the Eagles football team were honored before the game and senior band members were honored at halftime.
The band then performed after the game ended.