I’m gonna remember last weekend for quite a while.

I’m gonna remember last weekend for quite a while.

Friday’s Class 6 Show-Me Bowl between Blue Springs South and Christian Brothers College High School doubled as the best football game I’ve covered and also the most challenging. In a game that didn’t end until after 11 p.m., and in a contest with as many twists and turns as South’s 40-37 victory had, coming close to meeting deadline and chronicling every significant game detail was pretty much impossible.

That being the case, I wanted to revisit a few things that didn’t quite make the final cut for the game story:

n It sounds weird to say this about a game in which the teams combined for 77 points and 769 yards, but I really believe the difference in the contest was the play of the Jaguar defense.

Despite a pair of costly interceptions, CBC quarterback Dalton Demos finished with an impressive line of 330 passing yards and he tossed for three scores, but he never really settled into a comfort zone.

The Cadet offense is built around Demos rolling outside the pocket and utilizing his mobility. After the game CBC coach Scott Pingel said he was surprised at how wide the South defensive ends played. That formed a box around the QB and resulted in three Jaguar sacks and several hurried throws from Demos that led to a pair of critical interceptions by Connor Harris – one that he returned for a 40-yard touchdown and another that effectively sealed the game late in the fourth period.

Good coaching, great execution.

And for as many big plays as CBC broke off – four plays of 38 yards or more – the Jags countered by hitting the Cadets for nine tackles for loss, which set up plenty of second- and third- and long situations.

The 37 points that CBC scored was definitely more than South coach Greg Oder wanted, but it was also below the 44.6 the Cadets averaged entering the game.

n Jaguar defensive end Levi Riley tallied two of South’s three sacks and totaled three tackles for loss. Harris and running back Steven Sullivan emerged as stars for South this season, but all year I’ve thought it was the defense that made the group special. And no player was more important to that unit than Riley, who finished the season with 14 sacks and 89 tackles.

n Want another reason why the Jags were able to upend the state’s top-ranked team? Check out each team’s turnover differential. Going into the game South had turned the ball over only nine times all year while accumulating 27 takeaways. The Cadets forced 28 turnovers before Friday, but they had also turned it over 21 times.

Friday, Harris plucked his two interceptions – Demos’ 14th and 15th of the season – while the Jags never coughed up a possession.

n I don’t know if Harris will win the Simone Award. The honor is supposed to go to the “most outstanding player” in the metro area, so my gut tells me that’s probably going to be Lee’s Summit West offensive tackle Evan Boehm.

But if this were a most valuable player award, there’s no question Harris should be the winner. It’s been written about all ad nauseam, but the kid just does everything. Everyone’s going to remember the 58-yard run, the pick-6 and the championship-sealing interception, but his 33-yard field goal to end the first half and tie the game was huge after CBC answered South’s early surge.

And his 58-yard punt that pinned the Cadets at their own 1-yard line with 6:18 to play might have been the second biggest play of the game following his final interception.
n It was almost comical to observe Oder’s, Harris’ and senior Trevor Wescott’s demeanors in the postgame press conference. After a wild on-field celebration, the three wore straight poker faces once they were in front of reporters.

Several other area sportswriters joked after that it was tough to tell which team had won based on Oder’s tone. Maybe they were trying to portray an act-like-you’ve-been-here-before attitude or maybe they prefer to keep their emotions in check off the field and outside the locker room.

Regardless, kudos for playing it a lot cooler than I would have.