Late pass ends Cardinals' title hopes
ST. LOUIS – When Raytown South went up 34-33 with 30 seconds left, Cardinal fans thought they were witnessing the first state football title in school history.
Hazelwood East had other ideas.
The Spartans scored a touchdown with no time left on the clock courtesy of a Hail Mary pass, sinking the Cardinals, 39-34, in the Class 5 Show-Me Bowl in the Edward Jones Dome.
The Cardinals were up 7-6 early in the game, but found themselves down 19-7 in the second quarter.
Raytown South – behind three touchdowns from Ronnell Garner – kept fighting back, as Dennis Tanner kept making big completion after big completion.
Garner’s 89-yard touchdown run near the end of the first half helped keep the Cardinals (12-2) in the game before a Garner touchdown pass from Tanner put the Cardinals up 28-27.
Hazelwood East scored with just more than 2:30 left in the game, but a decent kickoff return put Raytown South past its own 40-yard-line.
A 50-yard scramble by Tanner set up the Cardinals near the 10-yard-line before Sean Wheaton ran a misdirection up the middle for a 3-yard score with 30 seconds left.
Tanner was sacked on the two-point conversion, making the score 34-33.
After a short kickoff, Hazelwood East marched down the first in three plays before scoring on the 35-yard Hail Mary play to end the game.
The ball was snapped with four seconds left on the clock.
Trailing in the fourth quarter, Raytown South may have been thinking about the semifinal win over Raymore-Peculiar, when the Cardinals scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter for a 27-18 win over the favored Panthers.
The trip to the Show-Me Bowl was the first in school history for Raytown South.
The Cardinals – led by a strong senior class – rebounded from a 4-7 record a season ago to reach the title game.
In the process, Raytown South defeated two teams that were ranked No. 1 in the state – Lee’s Summit West and Raymore-Peculiar.
The Cardinals were even ranked No. 1 after beating West before falling to Fort Osage.