As he lined up a field goal kick with the game tied late in the fourth quarter, Raymore-Peculiar senior Dallas Hille tried to hide his arms from the crowd. He didn’t want anyone to see his hands shaking. And he didn’t want his coach to see that nerves were getting the best of him.
The snap came only a few moments later. Hille’s right cleat smacked the ball, and he immediately turned toward the sideline. He didn’t need to watch it go through the uprights 30 yards away. He already knew.
Right down the middle.
Raymore-Peculiar 20, Lee’s Summit West 17.
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“Sometimes in the heat of the moment, when I feel that ball go off my foot, I know it’s sailing through,” Hille said.
He booted Raymore-Peculiar into the second round of the Class 6 playoffs, where it will play host to Blue Springs next week. Blue Springs defeated Lee’s Summit on Friday.
The Panthers’ spot in the district semifinals looked in doubt. At least for a half.
Lee’s Summit West stormed out to a 17-0 halftime lead — and held Ray-Pec without a first down for the first two quarters — before the Panthers mounted their comeback.
The Panthers, 8-2, were held to minus-8 yards in the first half. Their star tailback, Isaiah Truss, netted only 14 yards on four first-half carries.
The second half featured a different script.
Reed Davis connected with Cole Kruse for a 31-yard touchdown to put the Panthers on the board, but the extra point was blocked. Hille added a field goal.
That set up the biggest moment of Ben Harris’ career.
Ray-Pec’s senior defensive end sniffed out a screen play and intercepted Titans quarterback Bryce Kreikemeier. Harris returned the ball 25 yards for a touchdown.
“He’s been so close to making that play about three different games this year,” Ray-Pec coach Tom Kruse said. “He finally got him one. He picked a heck of a time to do it.”
The Panthers still needed a two-point conversion to tie the game. They used a halfback pass from Truss to Davis to convert.
“I’ve been telling him all year to run that play,” Truss said. “I’ve been wanting to do that for so long. And we got it.”
In the air. On the ground.
Truss got the job done both ways after halftime. After the slow start, he still managed to top 100 rushing yards for the ninth time in 10 games. He finished with 104 yards on 18 carries.
It amounted to a complete reversal of the first half, when Lee’s Summit West dominated the line of scrimmage, resulting in a 1-yard touchdown run from Tyler Nelson and 6-yard score from Brenner Clemons.
But the Lee’s Summit West offense fell silent after halftime. As a result, the defending Missouri Class 5 state champions saw their first season in Class 6 come to a close after only one playoff game.
“What a high school football game,” Lee’s Summit West coach Royce Boehm said. “All the bounces went our way the first half. All the bounces went their way the second half. That’s the game of football. Heck of a game.”
To reach Sam McDowell, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/SamMcDowell11.