High School Sports

Rockhurst wins football showdown with Bishop Miege

Rockhurst’s Michael Johnson ran through a big hole against Bishop Miege on Friday night at Bishop Miege. Rockhurst won 14-13.
Rockhurst’s Michael Johnson ran through a big hole against Bishop Miege on Friday night at Bishop Miege. Rockhurst won 14-13. Special to the Star

Bishop Miege and Rockhurst, two of the city’s most successful football programs, are only separated by about 7 miles.

They’re also separated by a state line, which kept these two programs from playing each other for a generation despite their proximity.

The rivalry was renewed Friday night, for the first time since 1986. A house deck that overlooks Miege’s quaint football stadium was rumored to have been sold for five figures in a charity auction.

Rockhurst and Miege have combined for 17 state titles. Both programs are accustomed to the spotlight.

And the game lived up to all of it, with Rockhurst taking home a 14-13 victory at Miege’s Dixon Doll Stadium.

The difference was a failed surprise two-point conversion attempt after Miege (4-1) had pulled within a point with 6 minutes, 6 seconds remaining in the game.

Stags coach Jon Holmes told his team before the fourth quarter started that they were going for the win if they got the chance.

Miege had the element of surprise. Rockhurst coach Tony Severino was totally caught off guard.

“We only had nine guys on the field, so obviously we weren’t expecting a fake,” Severino said.

Say what?

“We only had nine on the field. I was going to call timeout, because I really thought they’d kick it,” Severino said. “I didn’t think they were going to fake it. It almost backfired.”

Miege kicker and quarterback Sam Pedrotti appeared to have room as he rolled to his left on the fake. He went down just 1 yard shy of the end zone.

Rockhurst junior Tommy Eckles was the closest Hawklet to Pedrotti.

Eckles said he was unaware that his team was two players short on the play. He just tried to make something happen as it unfolded in front of him.

“We weren’t expecting a fake. We were in field-goal block, and I lined up and shot the gap. Surprisingly no one touched me,” Eckles said. “I just ran through and tried to go tackle the guy.”

When asked if he actually made contact with Pedrotti, Eckles just smiled.

“I hope so. I don’t really remember. I just remember spinning around and seeing he was down and I got really happy.”

Holmes was unaware that the Hawklets were short on the conversion. In any event, Holmes doesn’t regret the decision.

“It’s a play we almost had. I’m going to go back tonight and watch it 7,000 times on film, probably,” Holmes said. “But as I told the kids at the end of the game, that’s what we do. We gotta play to win. You can’t look back on it. It stings right now, but our guys are going to move on from this.”

Rockhurst (5-1) dominated through the first two-and-a-half quarters, building a 14-point lead. The Hawklets then had the opportunity to put away Miege after forcing a turnover and getting a short field.

Miege responded with its first sustained drive, capped off by a 40-yard halfback pass for a touchdown.

The Stags’ first possession in the fourth quarter seemed destined to stall deep in Rockhurst territory. Hudson Bentley responded by hauling in a 23-yard touchdown pass on 4th-and-12 to get the Stags within a point.

The game, as it turned out, was decided on the following play.

Rockhurst snapped Miege’s 29-game win streak. The Hawklets have now won five straight, and their season opening loss to Columbia Rock Bridge is a distant memory.

“Walking in, everybody was rocking. It was pretty sweet,” Eckles said. “I love playing in big games.”

High school games in Kansas City rarely get bigger than they were on Friday night.