Even beginning the season with a lopsided loss, Lee’s Summit football coach Eric Thomas still found plenty to like.
Lee’s Summit had the misfortune of starting off against Blue Springs, the Class 6 state runner-up last year and the top-ranked team in state heading into the this season. It was never close – Blue Springs scored on the opening possession and rolled from there to a 43-7 victory Friday night at Bud Hertzog Stadium – but in Thomas’ mind, it wasn’t as much of a thumping as the final score would indicate.
“We had flashes of doing really good things tonight,” Thomas said. “We were just not consistent enough. We’ve got to get in better shape and continue to work better.”
And there were some highlights for the Tigers. Somaj Brewer displayed his athleticism with a team-best 76 yards rushing and three catches for 33 yards. Spencer Parker showed promise in becoming a weapon at tight end with seven catches for 93 yards.
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And quarterback Darrias Pearsall, a sophomore who was making his varsity debut, was a solid 13-for-21 passing for 172 yards and an interception.
“I was proud of him,” Thomas said. “I thought he did a good job tonight. We kept it simple for him and tried to give him things that were easy and good to handle for a sophomore. He executed the offense well for the most part.”
Pearsall and the Tigers, though, had to play from behind from the start of the game. The very start, almost.
Michael Warmack appeared to have the first points of the season for Blue Springs when he took the opening kickoff at the 1-yard line and sprinted 99 yards to the end zone. But a holding call on the Wildcats 40 brought it back.
No problem. Two plays later, Warmack took a handoff at the Lee’s Summit 2 and ran in it for the first of his two touchdowns. He also punched in a two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
“I was determined,” said Warmack, who rushed for 101 yards in his first game after an injury riddled junior season. “Even with setbacks you’ve got to step up and make another play.”
And there weren’t many setbacks for Blue Springs, which displayed its full array of offensive weapons and a defense that never let the Tigers get untracked. That pleased Wildcats coach Kelly Donohoe as much as watching Warmack atone for the nullified return.
“I thought our kids played really well,” Donohoe said. “I liked how we came out before the game. It was very businesslike; our guys are pretty veteran to where their eyes don’t get real big.”
Lee’s Summit’s first possession started promising, with Pearsall completing a long pass to the speedy Brewer. But the Tigers only made it to the Wildcats 39 before fumbling the ball away.
“We tried to have too much intensity,” Thomas said. “And I think when you do that, you’ve got to practice that way and we haven’t been practicing with that much intensity. So we’ve got to learn to practice harder, so that when we get in the game we can handle that intensity and still be able to focus.”
Blue Springs took control in the second quarter with two quick TDs from wide receiver Cade Musser. Musser, a transfer from St. Joseph Central who tallied 114 yards rushing and 32 receiving, scored from three yards out in the opening minutes of the second quarter and tacked on a 32-yard TD run on the Wildcats’ next possession.
But the dagger came in the closing seconds of the second quarter. Blue Springs took over on downs on its 19 with 1:12 left in the half and needed only two plays before quarterback Chase Donohoe connected with Tre Wheaton, who slipped a defender midfield and sprinted 64 yards down the sideline to the end zone. Blue Springs went into halftime up 29-0.
Warmack’s second TD, a 10-yard run up the middle early in the third quarter, pushed Blue Springs’ lead to 36-0. He also had a 75-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter.
Lee’s Summit finally got on the board midway through the third quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run by Kaleb Herbel that was set up by a nifty 42-yard shovel pass up the middle from Pearsall to Parker. But it was too little, too late.
Blue Spring added another TD with a 7-yard run up the middle by reserve running back Nick Wood in the fourth quarter.
“We still battled,” Thomas said. “Our kids came out and fought; they didn’t just give up and lay down. That’s a good sign. We can build on that and continue to grow.”
Titans impressive in opener
Ben Kobel threw for 374 yards and four touchdowns in Lee’s Summit West’s season-opening 49-28 victory at Blue Springs South.
Kobel, a junior making his first varsity start, threw two 80-yard touchdown passes to Phillip Brooks, a 15-yarder to Cade Clemons and a 9-yarder to Sammy Cooper. Brooks, who finished with 226 yards in receptions, also rushed for a team-high 128 yards and another score.
West accumulated 546 total yards of offense.
Broncos fall to Park Hill
Park Hill quarterback Billy Maples threw five touchdowns and led the Trojans to a 41-21 victory over Lee’s Summit North at Park Hill.
Maples threw two of his TD passes in the first two quarters as Park Hill took a 21-0 lead into halftime. North got on the board in the third quarter with a 14-yard touchdown run by Christian Carter, who also scored on an 8-yard pass from Saul Medina later in the quarter.
Medina also threw a 4-yard TD pass to Trevonte Hunt in the final seconds.
SCA falls to Christ Prep
Summit Christian Academy opened the season with a 10-3 loss at home to Christ Prep Academy. The game marked the debut for new Eagles head coach Todd Berck.