It was most likely a clerical error. But maybe it was equal parts clairvoyance and wishful thinking.
Whatever the case, Blue Springs South senior Kendall Blanton was omitted from the roster provided at Friday night’s Class 6 playoff game at Rockhurst.
“That’s what somebody was telling me. He’s on ours,” Blue Springs South coach Greg Oder said with a smile.
Good thing, too. Blanton hauled in a huge touchdown pass early. That, combined with a field goal from sophomore Savion Cauveren, allowed the Jaguars to escape with an 11-8 victory.
Blanton’s 80-yard touchdown catch came on the last play of the first quarter. He hauled in a pass from Chris Swingle, turned up the sideline, and waited for someone to hit him.
No one did.
“I just kept telling myself, ‘I know I’m not this fast,’” Blanton said. “I was waiting for somebody to come, but I don’t know. It was a good feeling.”
The Jaguars, 6-4, turned a busted extra point into a two-point conversion. That was the only score until Cauveren hit a 22-yard field goal with 2:30 left in the game.
Rockhurst, 5-5, rotated between T.J. Green and Ahmad Tyler at quarterback in the first half. Green got a majority of the series in the second half after Tyler tweaked a previous shoulder injury.
Blue Springs South attacked, no matter who was under center.
“We just had a blast out there,” senior defensive lineman Wyatt Parker said. “We just had fun. We had a good time. We just had a different mentality coming in. We just went out there trying to win the day.”
Rockhurst won the first meeting with the Jaguars 27-6 back on Sept. 27. The Hawklets didn’t score Friday until Green ran for a TD from 9 yards out in the fourth quarter. He also ran for the two-point conversion, but the ensuing onside kick went out of bounds.
“They didn’t make any turnovers tonight. We moved the ball better against them offensively than we did last time,” Rockhurst coach Tony Severino said. “We made the mistakes, and they didn’t. We told the kids all week it was going to be that kind of game. We knew it would be a defensive game, and it came down to one play.”
Swindle, who was injured the first meeting against Rockhurst, was happy to be a part of that one big play. He finished with 211 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
“It just opened up real quick, and Kendall caught it. I saw him open for a 10-yard pass, and he just kept going,” Swingle said. “It’s a great feeling, and we’re ready for a big game next week.”
Next up for the Jaguars is a rematch with cross-town rival Blue Springs, which beat Lee’s Summit North on Friday.
Blue Springs won the first meeting 35-0. The Jaguars will need more of the formula they used Friday night to get a second dose of redemption and keep the season alive.
“We were hungrier this time. (Rockhurst) beat us last time, and we felt like it was really our fault,” Blanton said. “We had a lot of turnovers and mental errors. Rockhurst is a great team. But we felt like if we came out, buckled our chinstraps and played football like Blue Springs South usually does, we’d come out with a win, and that’s what we did.”
Blanton will be there next week — even if he’s left off the roster again.