Rockhurst senior quarterback T.J. Green rolled to his left and looked downfield for an open receiver. After realizing both his options were covered, he turned back to his right, hoping to extend the play.
But as the story had unfolded most of the night, a Christian Brothers College defender was there waiting. This time, Clayton Stalling leveled Green for the seventh CBC sack of the game.
The late-game magic that carried the Hawklets into the Missouri Class 6 state championship came to a screeching halt in Stalling’s arms.
Rockhurst’s bid for the 10th state title in program history ended with a 31-24 loss to CBC inside the Edward Jones Dome on Saturday evening.
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CBC junior Blake Charlton found Kameron Curtis for an 11-yard touchdown with 5:43 left in the game, which served as the game-winner.
“To end like that, in a state championship game, it’s not what you want. You just have a terrible feeling in your stomach afterwards,” Green said.
It certainly could have been worse. Rockhurst trailed 10-0 midway through the first quarter — and unbeaten CBC looked primed for a rout — before the Hawklets turned to their rushing attack to control the clock and settle into the game. Kiah Kintchen and A.J. Taylor combined for 147 yards on 28 carries.
That production opened up the passing lanes, too, and Green responded with two touchdowns in the air and one more on the ground.
Down by 7 in the fourth quarter, Green drove the Hawklets into CBC territory before Stalling’s third sack of the game forced Rockhurst into a long fourth down. Green’s ensuing heave fell to the turf, and CBC ran out the clock to celebrate its first state title in school history.
“I thought our kids were just unbelievable tonight,” Rockhurst coach Tony Severino said. “They just kept fighting back.”
The Hawklets’ path to the state championship included a pair of dramatic, late-game victories — one against the two-time defending champions, Blue Springs, in the quarterfinals and the other against Francis Howell in the semifinals.
This comeback wasn’t enough.
Green hit Lance Boehm for a 52-yard touchdown to give the Hawklets their only lead of the game, 24-17, late in the third quarter — after he found Nick Bosma in the back of the end zone to tie the game earlier in the quarter — but CBC responded to its first deficit of the game.
In a hurry, too.
In only 97 seconds, it drove down the field to tie the game on Kalen Taylor’s 2-yard touchdown run. The score was set up by a 66-yard pass from Charlton to Mike Million on a third-and-9 play. Million also caught two touchdown passes.
“Once they hit that big pass play on us, I thought, ‘OK, we’re in another one,’” Severino said. “So when it got to 24-24 again, you’re saying, OK, let’s see what we can do.”
Instead, CBC made the key plays late. Charlton squeezed a throw to Curtis in the short corner of the end zone for his third touchdown pass of the game.
The CBC pass rush prevented Rockhurst from drawing even. Its seven sacks were the second most in Missouri state-championship game history.
“They did give us a lot of pressure and a lot of problems blocking them,” Green said “... I ended up getting sacked a bunch because I was trying to make too many plays. I probably should’ve just thrown the ball away more. I’ll take that and build on that.”
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