Maybe it was the lingering hangover from last week’s stunning upset loss to St. James Academy. Or maybe it was just nerves.
Whatever the case, Bishop Miege spent the first quarter of Friday’s showdown at Rockhurst spinning its wheels, allowing a quick touchdown on defense and going nowhere on offense.
The second quarter brought new life, and the Stags snapped out of their offensive malaise and rolled to a 34-7 victory at cross-state rival Rockhurst, Miege’s first win against the Hawklets since 1972.
Miege’s first three drives of the night went nowhere, and their fourth was in danger of doing the same before quarterback Timothy Dorsey found wide receiver and Minnesota commit Daniel Jackson for a 57-yard score.
“They’re a good team, but I’m so proud of how our guys responded,” Miege coach Jon Holmes said. “After how last week finished, it was a rough game for us. We talked about wanting to finish the whole entire game, and we bounced back and made plays.”
That seemed to loosen up the Stags (4-1). And while they weren’t perfect thereafter, a suffocating defense ensured that the Hawklets (3-3) didn’t come close to the end zone after their opening-drive touchdown.
“I think it was really just a wake-up call,” senior defensive lineman Max VanMeter said. “They came out and smacked us in the mouth, and we didn’t want to see that again. So we just played our butt off. We had to get up to their speed and did the best we could, and obviously it worked out.”
Jackson later added an impressive 60-yard catch-and-run for another score, and Miege running back Brison Cobbins ran for two touchdowns and more than 130 yards.
Rockhurst played without starting quarterback Nick Smrt on Friday and will be without him for a bit after he injured his collarbone in last week’s loss to Blue Valley. Junior Bobby Hummel got the start and spent most of the game battling against a relentless Miege pass rush.
The win was Miege’s first over the Hawklets under retiring coach Tony Severino.
“We went in at halftime feeling pretty good that it was only 13-7, but in the end they wore us down,” Severino said. “They wore us down up front. Poor Bobby (Hummel), he couldn’t do much because there was always somebody in his face, so it was a combination of a lot of things. But give them credit. They did a great job.”
The Hawklets started the game great, putting together an 80-yard touchdown drive capped by Chuck Ingram’s 55-yard touchdown jaunt.
The relentless Miege defense made sure Rockhurst didn’t come within 30 yards of the end zone after that.
“Max VanMeter, Mason Weber, Angel Franco, Connor Doble. Our D-line. We kind of put it on them a little bit, especially with our (middle) linebacker and our captain Mikey Welsh out,” Holmes said. “We had to have some guys step up and make some plays, and they were able to do that for him.”
The schedules for both schools don’t get any easier. Rockhurst will have to figure out how to adjust with a new quarterback under center.
Miege, meanwhile, still has plenty of tests remaining with the rest of the Eastern Kansas League slate ahead. But the Stags made history on Friday, become the first Miege team to beat Rockhurst in a couple of generations.
The best news for local high school football fans: The rivalry is set for another two years.