After a scoreless and futile first half of football, the Missouri all-stars needed someone to step up and make a big play.
That someone would turn out to be quarterback Anthony Pritzel of Kearney.
On the third play from scrimmage in the third quarter of the 26th annual Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game, Pritzel tossed the ball downfield to Cristian Cox from Center for a 68-yard touchdown pass that broke a scoreless tie and sent Missouri on its way to a 17-7 victory June 15 at Blue Springs South.
“We knew had to take a chance there in the beginning of the third quarter,” said Pritzel, who was named Most Valuable Player for the Missouri team. “We got in the red zone a couple of times and couldn’t put it in, so I had to take a chance.”
Pritzel took that chance on the third play of the second half with a downfield toss to Cox who was streaking down the right sideline. He caught the ball around the Missouri 40-yard line and streaked untouched into the end zone.
“I just had one-on-one with the wide receivers, so I just took a chance,” said Pritzel, who will play this fall for William Jewell. “I know he’s got size on him, so it was a worth a shot.”
Missouri upped its lead to 14-0 on a 46-yard interception return by John Taylor of Center three plays into Kansas’ ensuing possession, and Parker Sampson of Park Hill, who also converted both extra-point attempts, made it 17-0 with a 24-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
That would be more than enough scoring for Missouri, which also got a team-best 78 yards rushing from running back Damon Whitmill of North Kansas City and another 38 rushing yards from running back Mike McNair of Platte County. Missouri has now won seven straight and holds a 14-11 all-time lead in the game, which is presented by the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association.
“We knew it’d be tight,” said Bryan DeLong, Missouri’s head coach and the head coach at Center. “We told the kids all week it’s going to be a one- or two-score game and it’s going to go down to the wire. I’m just happy our kids didn’t make the mistakes and got it done.”
Pritzel, who led Kearney to the Class 4 state championship game last season, was just glad not to have the streak end the year he got to play.
“We were a little nervous, but we just kept doing our thing and it worked out,” Pritzel said.