Lee's Summit Journal

Summit Christian Academy sees progress in first victory

Lee’s Summit running back Preston Whitworth makes his way to the end zone for one of his two touchdowns against Columbia Rock Bridge Friday night. Whitworth rushed for 134 yards as Lee’s Summit won its first game of the season 27-21.
Lee’s Summit running back Preston Whitworth makes his way to the end zone for one of his two touchdowns against Columbia Rock Bridge Friday night. Whitworth rushed for 134 yards as Lee’s Summit won its first game of the season 27-21. Special to the Journal

Summit Christian Academy football coach Todd Berck wouldn’t say the Eagles were in need of a victory last Friday. What they needed, he thought, was a tangible sign of progress.

So when the Eagles routed Sherwood 69-6 in a Crossroads Conference game at SCA, Berck not only enjoyed his first victory as the Eagles’ head coach, he also enjoyed showing his young team how far it had come.

“I think the kids realized we were getting better, even if we didn’t have a victory to show for it,” Berck said. “That victory just validated all the hard work that the kids are putting in, and hopefully we’ll get them to put in more hard work this week.”

SCA had dropped its first three games under Berck, a far cry from the success it enjoyed over the past two seasons. But even with that rough start, there were indications that things were headed in the right way. In the first two losses, against Christ Prep Academy and at University Academy, the Eagles led in the fourth quarter. Lafayette County outmuscled the Eagles in a 49-14 loss, but Berck saw good moments in that game as well.

“Those first two weeks we felt like those were games we could have won,” Berck said. “They were very competitive football games, games where you felt disgusted after they were done because if you did one thing different, here or there, you could have won.”

Berck didn’t feel that way against 0-4 Sherwood, which hasn’t won since the first week of the 2014 season. SCA racked up 521 total yards of offense while holding Sherwood to 64 yards. The Eagles led 41-6 after the first quarter and 62-6 by halftime. Their first three touchdowns came on special teams (an 85-yard punt return by Josh McConnell), offense (a 33-yard run by Sean Smith) and defense (a 53-yard interception return from Simon Neura).

“We ran two plays (on offense) and scored three touchdowns,” Berck said.

McConnell rushed for 120 yards and two more touchdowns on five carries, one of six ball carriers for the Eagles as Berck emptied his bench. Wide receiver Andrew Stricklin made two catches for 96 yards and a TD and freshman quarterback Grayson Sprouse threw for 108 yards and a TD.

SCA faces a tougher test Friday night when it travels to Skyline, which advanced to the second round of the Class 1 state playoffs last season. Berck is just happy to be going there with a win finally under SCA’s belt.

“It’s always nice to get that ‘W,’” Berck said. “Makes you hungry for another one.”

First win for Tigers, too

Lee’s Summit also broke into the win column last week, knocking off Columbia Rock Bridge 27-21 at Bud Hertzog Stadium.

Rock Bridge, which entered the game unbeaten and ranked No. 7 in Class 6, took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter before Lee’s Summit answered with three straight scores. Lee’s Summit 21-14 at halftime and answered again after Rock Bridge got a game tying TD in the third quarter.

Preston Whitworth had 28 carries for 134 yards and two touchdowns to lead Lee’s Summit. The 1-3 Tigers play Olathe South Friday night at Bud Hertzog Stadium.

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