Does the Missouri side of the metropolitan area really have much better high school football talent than Kansas? Or was Missouri’s 36-8 thumping of Kansas last Thursday night in the Country Mart Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Football Game at Lee’s Summit North just a mistake-filled fluke?
By DAVE McQUEEN
Special to The Star
There’s evidence for both positions. Missouri held Kansas to 221 total yards of offense while racking up 305. And other than yielding one sustained scoring drive late in the third quarter, Missouri never gave Kansas the opportunity to make it a game.
On the other hand, Kansas might have fared better if not for several instances of sloppy play, including two high snaps from center on punt attempts that resulted in a safety and Missouri’s third touchdown.
So was this a fair assessment or not?
“It just came down to the mistakes that we made and their being able to take over and just put it to us,” said Kansas quarterback Skyler Windmiller of Mill Valley. “I don’t think it had anything to do with the talent level necessarily.”
Windmiller, who was selected the most valuable player for Kansas and has signed with Missouri Western, was one of the few bright spots for Kansas. He completed 12 of 29 passes and led a 17-play, 94-yard drive that culminated with a 1-yard touchdown run by Aaron Ramsay of Blue Valley Southwest late in the third quarter. Even after that, Kansas was still down 22-8 and unable to gain any momentum.
“The mistakes early killed us,” said Kansas and St. Thomas Aquinas coach Mike Thomas. “And then we just started pressing instead of just relaxing and playing.”
Thomas, like Windmiller, didn’t see the lopsided score as any indication of a talent level discrepancy, especially considering the variables that come with an all-star game.
“There are too many factors for that,” Thomas said. “You don’t know what kind of offense (Missouri) is going to run. I knew it would be his basic offense, we exchanged film and all that, but when you’ve got good personnel at every position, that just opens it up for everything.”
Missouri has won the last three games in the series, but with Kansas still holding an 11-10 edge all-time, the Sunflower State side isn’t ready to concede anything just yet.
“It would have been nice not to let them win three in a row, but they had us,” said Kansas running back Ryan McNerlin of Blue Valley. “Hopefully, Kansas can represent better the next three years.”