Shawnee Mission East versus Rockhurst never disappoints as a rivalry.
With physical play in the trenches Friday, this game lived up to the hype once again at SM North Stadium.
The Rockhurst Hawklets showed a balance on offense and a steady defense at the end to keep them ahead of the Lancers for a 21-17 win and a fourth consecutive victory on the season.
“It’s such a great rivalry,” Rockhurst head coach Tony Severino said. “These kids know each other and they play so hard. The intensity on that field, they’ve got a really good football team, and I’m just glad our kids hung in there.”
Hawklets running back Brady McCanles was a key factor in the win. McCanles caught some crucial passes out of the backfield and punched in three touchdowns to go along with 118 total yards.
“We knew they had a really strong interior, so we wanted to get on the edge as much as we could earlier in the game,” McCanles said. “Once they started spreading out we knew we could open back up the insides with some runs up the middle.”
McCanles proved to be invaluble for Rockhurst as he finished off all its scoring drives.
“Brady’s just a gutsy do-it-all running back,” Severino said. “He doesn’t come off the field: He played a lot of defense for us tonight. He’s been doing this for two years now.”
Rockhurst quarterback Derek Green proved to be an effective leader on the field, making critical plays through the air and making a few timely runs to keep drives alive.
The Lancers, however, did not go down easily. Milton Braasch carried the load for the Lancers with his 35 carries and 154 yards and a touchdown.
“Milton’s a good a football player as I’ve ever been around,” SM East coach Dustin Delaney said. “If there’s a better one I’d love to see him. We go as far as he goes. It’s really that simple.”
Quarterback Andy Maddox managed the flex-bone offense well for SM East and had a touchdown in the second half.
“That’s as close as you can get to a playoff game when you play those guys,” Delaney said. “That’s one of the reasons we wanted to set the game up. We came up on the short end.”
It won’t get any easier for the Hawklets, with Blue Springs on the horizon and with a top team from Colorado — Pomona — coming to town at the end of September.
“If we survive the next five weeks we’ll be a happy crew,” Severino said with a laugh.