A block in the back denied Jake Gassman his first attempt at all-star glory. He wasn’t going to be denied a second time.
Gassman, who had a dazzling 62-yard punt return for a touchdown taken away, covered the same distance on even more dazzling run back on his next opportunity in Missouri’s 35-7 victory in the 24th annual Kansas vs. Missouri High School All-Star Football Game Thursday night at Blue Springs South.
Gassman, a defensive back from Kearney, fielded the punt at the Missouri 38-yard line. He spun through traffic and broke six tackles as he battled his way into the end zone with two seconds left in the first half.
“I knew I was going to take it to the house,” said Gassman, who was selected the Missouri most valuable player. “It was kind of an iffy call, but I knew I was going to get some good blocks the second time just as I did the first time.”
Gassman’s return was the highlight of a game in which Missouri jumped out to a 28-7 lead and never looked back. Kansas managed only one sustained drive against a Missouri defense that finished with five sacks.
“They were tough,” said Kansas quarterback Gunnar Englund from Shawnee Mission East. “We had a new offense coming in, and they were bringing a lot of guys.”
Missouri got on the board quickly, taking a 7-0 lead on a three-yard run by Kahluna Bouchard of Staley with 10:27 to play in the first half. Bouchard’s score came after Kameron Gray of Pleasant Hill recovered a fumbled snap by Kansas on the game’s second play.
Kansas came back to tie the game 7-7 when Englund directed a 12-play, 80-yard drive that he capped with a 6-yard TD run. Englund completed five passes on seven attempts on what would be Kansas’ only extended drive of the game.
It was all Missouri after that.
Shaefer Schuetz of Park Hill South ended a nine-play drive with a 4-yard quarterback keeper that put Missouri back on top early in the second quarter. Tyus Franks of Hogan Prep caught a 7-yard TD pass from Drew Cortez of St. Joseph Lafayette after and 83-yard drive to make it 21-7 with 2:22 left in the half.
After Kansas and Missouri exchanged turnovers to start the second half, Missouri put together another drive that ended with Schuetz’s second touchdown pass, a 23-yarder to Will Morrow of Winnetonka that pushed Missouri’s lead to 35-7.
The win was the fifth straight for Missouri, which now leads the all-time series 12-11 with one rainout.
During halftime, the GKCFCA inducted its inaugural Hall of Fame class, which will be displayed at Arrowhead Stadium.
The class includes one player – former Olathe North running back Darren Sproles, who played at Kansas State and continued on to the NFL.
The former and current coaches honored included: Cecil Patterson (Southeast), Al Davis (Rockhurst), Moe Werner (Bishop Ward), Len Mohlman (Bishop Miege), Al Woolard(Lawrence), Ted Chitwood (Raytown), Joe Mintner (Park Hill), Gennaro Mirocke (St. Joseph Shawnee), Larry Taylor (Shawnee Mission North), Joe Monachino (St. Pius X), Dave Bassore (Center and Olathe North), Paul Montiel (O'Hara), Vic Bonuchi (Excelsior Springs), Bruce Young (Raymore-Peculiar), Tony Severino (Rockhurst), Sam Brown (Grandview, SM North and Excelsior Springs), Chip Sherman (Platte County, SM East and Olathe Northwest), Fred Merrell (Blue Springs and St. Mary's), Harold Wambasgans (SM West and Lee’s Summit), Bud Wheeler (Olathe and Ottawa), Gil Rector (Lexington), Gene Wier (Olathe North), Steve Rampy (Blue Valley) and Dick Purdy (SM West).
The class also included former Chiefs player Bill Maas, who was inducted as an associate.
Kansas 7 0 0 0 - 7
Missouri 7 21 7 0 - 35
M – Kahluna Bouchard 3 run (Tanner Pettet kick) 10:27
K- Gunnar Englund 6 run (Sean Galey kick) 4:48
M – Shaefer Schuetz 4 run (Pettet kick) 9:38
M- Tyus Franks 2 pass from Drew Cortez (Pettet kick) 2:22
M – Jake Gassman 62 punt return (Pettet kick) :02
M – Will Morrow 23 pass from Schuetz (Pettet kick) 3:29