In a wild game of back-and-forth touchdowns and momentum changes, Lee’s Summit West had one overwhelming advantage – the speed and power of running back Phillip Brooks.
Brooks rushed for 213 yards and four touchdowns – all in the second half – as Lee’s Summit West pulled away for a 45-24 victory Friday night in a Suburban Gold Conference game at West. Brooks, and the Titans’ offense, didn’t break loose until after a first half that ended in a 10-10 tie, and it helped them survive a shootout of a third quarter.
Brooks, a 5-foot-9, 165-pound senior, scored on runs of 13, 40, 2 and 4 yards during second half in which LS West, 3-1, racked up most of its 534 total yards of offense. He danced around defenders, burst through holes in the middle and battled his way for extra yardage.
“I swear he gets faster each week,” LS West quarterback Ben Kobel said. “I’ve never seen a man run as fast as he does.”
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Kobel completed 17 of 20 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns, but he also was victimized by a bizarre turnover at the start of the third quarter that put the Titans on their heels. He was backpedaling to make a pass from midfield when LS North linebacker Trevonte Hunt grabbed the ball out of his arms and raced untouched into the end zone a touchdown and a 17-10 lead.
“He just ripped it out of my hands,” Kobel said. “I just wasn’t strong enough with the ball. It was one of a kind, that’s for sure.”
LS West coach Vinny Careswell feared the turnover, combined with the TD LS North scored just 13 seconds before halftime to tie the game, could have turned the evening ugly for the Titans.
“That could be demoralizing to a team,” Careswell said. “And I’m so proud of our guys. That was a backbreaker and could have ended the game right there.”
That touchdown started a see-sawing third quarter that would see the two teams score a combined 36 points. LS West would get the next points on Brook’s first TD, a 13-yard scamper up the middle that pulled LS West within 17-16 after the point-after attempt failed.
LS North, 2-2, needed only two plays to respond with a 47-yard TD run by quarterback Christian Carter, who finished with 146 rushing yards on 16 carries. That gave LS North a 24-16 lead, and the Broncos appeared to have plenty of momentum.
“We needed to explode on offense,” Careswell said. “Our offense, when we have it running on all cylinders, it’s very difficult to stop.”
That explosion started five plays later when Kobel found Jackson Galloway wide open outside the end zone for a 47-yard TD strike. Kobel then threw a pass to Cade Clemons for the tying two-point conversion.
LS North’s next possession lasted only two plays and ended with a Carter fumble on the Broncos’ 40-yard line. Brooks ran it in from there, bursting through a big hole up the middle and outrunning the Broncos’ defense to give the Titans the lead for good at 31-24 as the third quarter ended.
Brooks scored on a two-yard run at the start of the fourth quarter and added four-yard TD after breaking loose for a 30-yard run midway through the period.
“The offense picked up the intensity a lot,” Brooks said. “We started making blocks; the line did a great job and helped me do my job. And it just worked out in the end.”
LS North opened the scoring with a 35-yard field goal from Nich Havlik in the first quarter. After an illegal block penalty on the ensuing kickoff and a false start pushed West back to its 2-yard line, Kobel connected with wide receiver Trevor Kardell for a 98-yard catch-and-run TD and a 7-3 lead.
LS North drove 12 plays to the Titan’s 13 before stalling on its next possession, and LS West responded with a 14-play drive down to the Broncos’ 1. North stopped a quarterback sneak on third and goal and stuffed the Titans again on fourth down.
LS West increased its lead to 10-3 with an 42-yard field goal by Mykal Wiley, but LS North tied it 10-10 with a 4-yard TD run by John Eldridge with 13 seconds left in the half. Hunt’s ball-strip TD would be the next score, and the Broncos appeared on their way.
For a short while.
“In the second half they slowed us down a little bit on offense,” LS coach Jamar Mozee said. “And (Brooks) is pretty good. He’s probably the best player I’ve seen so far.”