As much as Matt Dercher enjoyed being a Kansas all-star, he couldn’t help but feel a little frustrated.
Dercher, a quarterback from Blue Valley, enjoyed the way his team marched up and down the field in the first half of the Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game, but that made the ending all that harder to take. Mistakes kept Kansas out of the end zone in the first half, and Missouri scored two quick big-play touchdowns in the third quarter for a 17-7 victory June 15 at Blue Springs South.
“We killed them in total yardage; we just turned the ball over when we got close to scoring,” Dercher said. “We would have won the game if we didn’t have penalties.”
Kansas, which led Missouri 321-277 in total yardage for the game, opened with an 11-play, 78-yard drive that stalled on the Missouri 18-yard line. It even had two touchdowns wiped out on an 18-play drive that took up the last five minutes of the second quarter.
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After an intentional grounding call put Kansas on its 2-yard line, Dercher made a toss down the sideline to Nigel Houston of Shawnee Mission East, who caught the ball at the 20 and broke tackles on his way to the end zone. A holding call nullified the 98-yard scoring play.
“I saw a man kind of open,” said Dercher, who is signed to play at Kansas State. “I threw the ball to where he could catch it, he made a man fall and then he was to the house. That play would have given us momentum and changed everything.”
Kansas continued down to the Missouri 19, where Will Evans of Blue Valley took a toss from Dercher and ran into the end zone. A holding call wiped out that TD, too.
“We felt like we moved the ball well in the first half,” said Basehor-Linwood head coach Rod Stallbaumer, who led the Kansas all-stars. “We felt like we had momentum, but the penalties hurt.”
Those missed opportunities came back to haunt Kansas right away in the second half. On the third play of the third quarter, Missouri quarterback Anthony Pritzel of Kearney connected with wide receiver Cristian Cox from Center for a 68-yard touchdown pass.
Kansas ran only two plays on the ensuing possession when Dercher, while scrambling out of the pocket, made a throw that was tipped by Missouri lineman Deonaven McKinzy of University Academy. The ball landed in the hands of linebacker John Taylor of Center, who rumbled 46 yards for the score and a 14-0 lead.
Parker Sampson of Park Hill tacked on a 24-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter for a 17-0 lead.
“This level of competition it can turn on big plays,” Stallbaumer said. “They definitely made some big plays to start the third quarter and got momentum.”
Kansas finally got on the board in the fourth quarter when quarterback Will Schneider of Shawnee Mission North capped a 12-play, 80-yard drive with a nine-yard TD pass to Israel Watson of Shawnee Mission West. Schneider was selected Most Valuable Player for Kansas.
The score was too late to snap Kansas’ skid in the annual contest presented by the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association. Missouri has won seven straight and now holds a 14-11 lead in the series, including one postponement.
“We wanted to get the ‘W’ and turn it back to the Kansas side,” Stallbaumer said. “We’ll try again next year.”