Titans defense ties up Staley
By Brian Spano PrepsKC Senior Writer
All week long, Royce Boehm motivated his team with the number 76. He and his coaching staff repeated it over and over again.
You see, 76 was the number Staley put on Lee’s Summit West last year in that epic 76-70 four overtime classic in the state semifinals that sent the Falcons to the Class 5 title game.
Well, it must have worked because the Titans, 1-0, didn’t just beat the Falcons Saturday afternoon in front of its largest ever home crowd, West shutout Staley 23-0 on national TV. This also breaks a 14-game winning streak for the Falcons, who now start the season 0-1.
“The kids were coachable, and we focused on the game at hand,” Boehm said. “We also said 76, 76, four overtimes, 76-70. The kids answered.”
Entering the contest, one of the key matchups was going to be how West’s new look offense would stack up against Staley’s new look defense.
The game, broadcast on ESPN, started off slow as both offenses looked a bit shaky early on, but late in the first quarter, Titans quarterback Thomas Ganaden connected with Monte Harrison on an 11-yard score, and Harrison had to fight for all 11 yards.
Harrison moved from defensive back last year to wide out this year, and just in the first game of the season, it has made a difference. He had three catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
“We got smarter,” Boehm said of Harrison’s move. “He really helps us out on the offensive side of the ball. He’s a triple threat for us. He can run the ball. He can catch the ball. He can throw the ball.”
The two hooked up again early in the second quarter on a 66-yard pass. Senior tight end Austin Burau burrowed in from five yards out for another touchdown. A punt blocked out of bounds for a safety made up the rest of the scoring.
What really made the difference in the game was Falcons quarterback and Missouri commit Trent Hosick to really ever get things going through the air. He was 14 of 29 for 107 yards. Many of his passes were short screens or swing patterns in the flat. The West defense was doing its part to shut down any and every thing down field.
“I don’t know if they did as much handling him throwing the ball,” Staley coach Fred Bouchard said. “We just weren’t real clean in our passing game today. Whether it was our receivers barely out of their reach or it just wasn’t quite getting pulled in there. Nobody will be more critical of himself than number of 11 for us because he’s awfully critical of himself and our team when we don’t perform well. Make no mistake our guys will rally behind it.”
Hosick did grind out 118 yards on the ground, while still passing for 107.
Junior defensive back Logan Cheadle was probably the thorn in Hosick’s side all day. He picked off two passes, and when he wasn’t doing that, he was breaking up pass plays.
“We simply came out and played Titan football,” Cheadle said. “Our coaches schemed up a great game plan, and we executed. We had 76 points on our mind from last year. That’s all that was on our mind. We kept thinking that throughout the whole game. We put up a goose egg today, and we’re pretty proud of it.”
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