For a few agonizing moments Thursday night at Harrisonville’s Memorial Stadium, Grain Valley football coach Forrest Rovello feared that he might have lost more than a Class 4 District 13 football game.

For a few agonizing moments Thursday night at Harrisonville’s Memorial Stadium, Grain Valley football coach Forrest Rovello feared that he might have lost more than a Class 4 District 13 football game.
With 57 seconds left in the third quarter of a 37-12 loss to Harrisonville, Grain Valley defensive lineman Mitch Buck was blocked and collapsed on the field.
He was down for more than 20 minutes when an ambulance crew placed him on a backboard and carted him to an ambulance.
“Their coach, Chuck Lliteras, told me when he got to Mitch, he was out,” Rovello said as he tried to get some updated information on his cell phone.
“Mitch eventually began talking to us, and said he had some pain in his neck. He was taken to the hospital here in Harrisonville for precautionary measures. If you’re going to err, you want to err on the side of safety.”
Buck gave a thumb’s up to the cheering crowd as he entered the ambulance.
“We’re all thinking about him,” Rovello said. “It was a tough loss – losing Mitch like that, and the game. They’re a great team and I hope we get the chance to play them again (in the postseason).”
Both teams went into the game with identical 8-1 records. The Eagles clinched a playoff spot last week but the loss meant Harrisonville took the Class 3 District 13 title.
The Eagles are still in postseason action and will play the District 14 winner next Wednesday at a site to be determined.
The win clinched the Missouri River Valley Conference West Division crown for the 9-1 Wildcats, who defeated Grain Valley for the third time in as many meetings.
“We’re better than we showed tonight,” said standout Eagles middle linebacker Trace Goade, who had three sacks and five tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
“They’re good – they’re very good. And we lost our last district and regular season game – but there’s a lot of football left to be played. Now, if you lose you go home and we don’t want to go home. We feel like we have a lot left to prove.”
Goade and his Grain Valley teammates held the high-scoring Wildcats to a 35-yard Kyle Humphrey field goal in the first quarter, but elusive running back Terry Scott broke free for a 63-yard touchdown run and Sam Cooper hit Tyler Hern for a 23-yard scoring play to give Harrisonville a 16-0 lead at halftime.
“We felt like we were still in the game at the half, but once they started scoring, they kept scoring and we just couldn’t keep up with them offensively,” Goade said.
Scott scored on a 26-yard run early in the third quarter and then Buck was injured and the Eagles had to regroup.
They did – scoring twice in the fourth quarter on 3- and 11-yard runs by quarterback Austin Gouldsmith, who was 12 of 23 for 188 yards in the game.
“Austin had a good game,” Rovello said. “That’s a great defensive team and a very explosive offensive team. We had our hands full tonight, but I know all the guys want another chance to see them in the playoffs.”
Rovello believed that Buck would remain in the Cass County Hospital for observation and return to Grain Valley sometime today.