On senior night at Liberty High School, Lee’s Summit North’s stable full of juniors showed off some athleticism and speed that could not be matched.
John Eldridge and Christian Carter helped propel the LS North ground game as the Broncos passed by the Blue Jays 30-15 in an upset during the last week of regular-season play in Missouri.
It’s a big win for the Lee’s Summit North (6-3) football program that hasn’t touted a winning season since 2001. Now there is real buy-in for the present and future.
During the postgame team huddle, LS North players looked on intently at head coach Jamar Mozee, and he showed his love and appreciation right back.
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“We want to win here,” he said after the game. “We want to change the culture, and these kids are doing it. And I told these kids if they buy in and do what they’re told, they can get it done. I can’t be more proud of them.”
Eldridge was the finisher on Friday scampering for three touchdowns. Among those three TDs was a 37-yarder and a 55-yarder. His ability to get outside and break into open space makes him hard to stop.
Eldridge credited the help from the defense to get him going on offense.
“The momentum just encouraged me to do better and helps us win the game,” Eldridge said.
Carter, a dual-threat quarterback, had some shifty moves to evade defenders. He also made some throws to keep the defense honest including a wide-open touchdown to tight end Elijah Farr.
But the defense might have been more impressive: LS North created four turnovers and put immense pressure on Liberty quarterback Thomas Henrichs. Trevonte Hunt was the leader on the line with two sacks.
“They play hard,” Mozee said. “They’re scrappy. They make mistakes sometimes, but they just fight.”
A significant moment in the game came early in the second quarter when Liberty star running back Robert Rawie took a hard hit and did not get up for several minutes. Rawie, who’s been a staple for the Blue Jays (7-2) the past few years, left the home crowd stunned and silent.
Rawie did, however, come back in after the left leg injury but could not get himself or the rest of the Blue Jays offense into any rhythm.
“He got bruised pretty good on that play,” Liberty coach Chad Frigon said. “He was banged up after that. He’s a tough runner. ... It affects our passing game more than our running game because he is such a valuable receiver in there.”
Lee’s Summit North celebrated its statement win over Liberty with a ringing chant led by Mozee. After seeing a bunch of individual players looking for scores and stats back in August, his team’s motto of family and coming together seems to be working at the right time.
“They’re starting to do it, and when we can do that, we’re going to be hard to deal with,” he said.