Brody Flaming and his fellow Kansas football all-stars were well-aware that the annual BeYounion.com Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game had become an all-Show-Me State affair over the past few years.
And they used that knowledge to their advantage.
“In the back of our minds, them winning (seven) straight just made us a little angry,” said Flaming, a quarterback from Mill Valley. “It made us play angry and it made us play really well.”
Missouri’s seven-game winning streak became a frequent topic during the Kansas team’s two weeks of practice leading up to the 27th edition of the game. With that chip squarely on its shoulder, Kansas had all the incentive it needed to shatter that streak with a 30-0 victory June 14 at Leavenworth High School.
Missouri still leads the all-time series 14-12 (with one game canceled). But its streak didn’t stand a chance against a Kansas team primed to play well before the opening kickoff.
“Our coach mentioned it pretty much every day,” said Kansas’ Jameson Phelps, a defensive back from Olathe South. “The other coaches used it to motivate us and it put a spark in us.”
Phelps demonstrated that motivation shortly after Kansas’ first drive stalled on the Missouri 1-yard line late in the first quarter. Running back Dante Madden from Belton was tackled in the end zone for a safety on Missouri’s first play, and Phelps returned the ensuing kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown and a 9-0 Kansas lead.
“The kick was farther than I anticipated but I got under it,” Phelps said. “I saw a big hole and just took off. It was a momentum changer for our team.”
“It just got us all excited, all pumped up,” Flaming said. “It got us playing just that much better. It made the turning point in the game early.”
The momentum stayed with Kansas, which held Missouri to 159 total yards of offense while amassing 311 of its own.
Flaming, 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 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.
“We battled back all night but we just couldn’t sustain any drive offensively and it was frustrating,” said Missouri head coach Phil Lite, who led Staley to the Missouri Class 5 state championship last season. “Our defense was on the field way too long tonight.”
But this would be Kansas’ night in the annual game put on by the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association, which held the game in the Sunflower State for the first time in five years.
As amped as the Kansans were, it probably didn’t matter which side of the state line they were on.
“It’s pretty special to win it for our coach (Leavenworth’s Mark Littrell) and get it back on the Kansas side again,” Phelps said. “And it was a special feeling to come out and play with all these guys.”