The last time St. Mary’s beat Rock Port in football was 2005.

The last time St. Mary’s beat Rock Port in football was 2005.

But thanks to a ball-control offense and an unyielding defense, the Trojans overtook the visiting Blue Jays 13-6 Thursday night at Independence All-School Stadium/Norman James Field.

The win stopped a four-game losing streak for the Trojans against Rock Port and got the sting of last week’s 29-12 loss to Imagine Renaissance Academy out of their system.

“It’s been since 2005 since the last time we beat Rock Port,” St. Mary’s head coach Jason Fenstermaker said. “And we know how they feel. I played on a team (in high school at Grain Valley) that went up there and lost to them and had to drive home 2 1/2 hours that night, so I know how they feel.

“But, (Rock Port) played great. They beat Polo, and we lost to Polo 50-6. These guys knew that, but they were up to the challenge. They didn’t back down. They didn’t care who (Rock Port) beat.”

St. Mary’s gave up 70 yards rushing on 15 carries in the first quarter to Rock Port, but stiffened thereafter, allowing just 18 yards on 10 carries in the second quarter. The ground-oriented Blue Jays managed just 12 yards rushing in the third and 26 yards in the fourth.

“Our defense gave up 65 missed tackles against IRA last week,” Fenstermaker said. “They took that personally. They said, ‘You know what, we’re not going to miss 65 tackles this week.’ Those guys were strong – it took a couple of us to get ‘em down – but they did it.”

St. Mary’s got on the board first on Scott Lehane’s 3-yard touchdown run with 6:15 left in the first quarter. Brian Erstad’s extra point put the Trojans up 7-0 and the defense took over from there.

On the first play from scrimmage late in the second quarter, St. Mary’s defensive back Jeff Studdard forced a fumble that was recovered by teammate Henry Handley at the Rock Port 25-yard line. Five plays later, Handley bowled over a Blue Jay defender in the end zone for a 13-0 Trojan lead.

“We came in here knowing Rock Port was a good team,” said Studdard, who also intercepted a pass in the first quarter and made a sensational sliding catch for 33 yards in the second quarter after recovering a fumble with 52 seconds left in the first half. “We just hung in there every play. We worked hard and didn’t take any plays off.  It was a bunch of people doing their jobs, and we played as a team tonight.

“Defense played real good. All the linebackers, D-line; corners made some plays – everyone. Offense, we ran really good and when we passed, we did pretty good too, but the running game really did it for us tonight. Playing football – there’s nothing (more fun).”

Leading the Trojans option offense was Lehane, Handley and quarterback Ian Walter. Lehane finished with 51 yards on 12 carries to go along with his touchdown and Handley finished with 41 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown.

Walter ran it 17 times for 37 yards to keep the Blue Jays off balance.

“We got the yards when we needed it,” said Walter, whose fumble on a screen pass attempt with 3:20 left in the third quarter was returned 15 yards for a touchdown by Rock Port’s Winston Norris to give the Blue Jays life. “The defense was big. They brought us back. I’m not going to lie, I was a little scared after that, but we stopped them. Defense stopped them the whole time and didn’t let them get in the end zone.

“It’s what you want, man. It’s a really good feeling. It really is.”