Phil Lite could still find the silver lining.
Lite, the head football coach at Class 5 state champion Staley, has just watched the Missouri team he guided get thumped 30-0 by Kansas in the 27th annual BeYounion.com Kansas vs. Missouri All Star Game June 14 at Leavenworth High School. It was Missouri’s first loss in the event in seven years, and the Kansas team dominated from start to finish.
Even so, Lite believed the game was a positive experience for himself and the Missouri players.
“It is what it is,” Lite said. “Our kids played hard. And it’s a great opportunity to showcase some of these kids’ talents.”
Those kids had their hands full going up against a pumped-up Kansas team that came in determined to end its losing skid. Kansas racked up 311 yards of total offense while holding Missouri to 159. And it didn’t help Missouri to have to play catch-up from the start.
Missouri stuffed Kansas’ first drive with a goal-line stand at its 1-yard line, but Belton running back Dante Madden was tackled in the end zone for a safety on the next play.
Jamison Phelps of Olathe South returned the ensuing kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown, and Kansas suddenly had a 9-0 lead.
“It’s a game changer,” Lite said. “It just flipped the game a little bit there.”
Quarterback Thomas Henrichs of Liberty, who led Missouri by completing 11 of 20 passes for 68 yards, said Missouri dug an early hole it couldn’t get out of.
“But at that point we weren’t thinking that we were down,” Henrichs said. “We were just thinking we’ve got to get a score, got to get a score. But once they started tacking up more points and kept running the football down our throat, it just kind of all came down at once.”
Quarterback Brody Flaming of Mill Valley, who was selected Kansas’ most valuable player, threw a 14-yard touchdown pass on a slant to Hayden Goodpaster of Shawnee Mission Northwest in the first quarter for the first of his two scores.
Flaming capped Kansas’ scoring in the fourth quarter with a TD pass to 6-foot, 270-pound tight end Joseph Clune of St. Thomas Aquinas, who rumbled 41 yards into the end zone.
Bryce Mohl of DeSoto also scored for Kansas on a two-yard quarterback sneak in the third quarter.
“We were just pounding the ball, getting the defense tired,” Flaming said. “They couldn’t keep up with us.”
Missouri, meanwhile, didn’t cross midfield until the third quarter. Central quarterback Javion Shelby led Missouri’s only sustained drive with a 17-yard run and a 48-yard catch on a flip-and-throw from Staley receiver Rod Criss that got Missouri to the Kansas 11-yard line before stalling.
Shelby, who led Missouri with 21 rushing yards and 53 receiving yards, was selected Missouri’s most valuable player. Liberty running back Robert Rawie had 10 yards on 10 carries and Criss also made four catches for 33 yards.
“We battled back all night but we just couldn’t sustain any drive offensively and it was frustrating,” Lite said. “Our defense was on the field way too long tonight.”
Missouri still leads 14-12 (with one cancellation) all-time in the series, which is presented by the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association. That offered some consolation for Missouri’s players.
So did getting to play with and against some of the top talent on either side of the state line.
“It was probably the funnest two weeks of my life,” Henrichs said. “We messed around at times in practice but we were all serious about this game. It’s been a blast, especially with these guys.”