Sideline Pass: Jim Bradford 10/21
By Jim Bradford PrepsKC Staff Writer
Two plays. The first came with one minute, 28 seconds left in the first quarter. The second came just three and a half minutes later. On both occasions, a St. Thomas Aquinas receiver got behind the Blue Valley defense. On both occasions, Aquinas quarterback Richard Davila found them for long touchdowns.
Suddenly, with 9:54 left in the second quarter, it was Blue Valley that got behind.
It was 14-0 Aquinas Friday night and you could hear a pin drop at Blue Valley District Stadium. A perfect 6-0 and the Tigers were down 14-0.
Yep, welcome back to Class 5A, Blue Valley. After a four-year stint with the big boys in Class 6A, the Tigers were welcomed back to 5A’s toughest district in the state along with Aquinas, Pittsburg and the state’s top team — in all classes — Gardner-Edgerton. The four teams opened play on Friday with a combined record of 22-2.
But something happened. Blue Valley woke up, pulled to within seven, then fell back behind by 13 before scoring 31 unanswered points on their way to a 38-20 win.
Welcome back to 5A, indeed.
The Tigers turned up the offensive mojo behind quarterback Kyle Zimmerman and receiver PJ DeBey. Zimmerman threw for 311 yards and DeBey was the recipient of nine passes for 155 yards. Oh, and let’s not forget Justin Fulks and his 148 rushing yards.
While they were taking care of things, offensively, the defense was holding Aquinas to nine yards of offense in the second half. Yep, nine yards.
Yep, welcome back to 5A, Blue Valley.
Of course, there’s another week of district play before an epic-in-waiting matchup between Blue Valley and Gardner-Edgerton in week No. 9.
After watching what Blue Valley did on Friday, it might be time to start talking about these Tigers and not just the Blazers. Sure. Gardner-Edgerton is good, very good and all off the nation will find that out next week when they play Aquinas on ESPNU, but don’t go to sleep on the Tigers.
A couple of teams did that last year. After limping into the playoffs with a 3-6 record, the Tigers upset 8-1 Shawnee Mission West. Then smacked 9-1 BV Northwest to advance to the state semifinals where they took eventual Class 6A state champion down to the wire before a field goal in the final minute sent North to the state championship game.
The Tigers haven’t missed a beat this year under new head coach Erik Driskell and a first-year quarterback in Zimmerman.
Let’s not crown the district champion just yet, huh? I believe these Tigers will have something to say about the District 4 championship.
“This win feels good,” Zimmerman said Friday after the win. “In a district like this, it’s really important to come out strong.”
Well, come out strong in the second half. That counts, right?
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