Blue Valley Northwest toughs one out
By David Svoboda PrepsKC staff writer
Reed Coda rushed for 262 yards and three touchdowns as Blue Valley Northwest scored twice in the fourth quarter to overcome an equally-impressive individual effort by Shawnee Mission South’s Gabe Guild and grab a 28-21 win in the district opener for both teams.
“Reed (Coda) is a great running back and he really showed that tonight,” Northwest Coach Mike Zegunis said of his 6-foot, 175-pound senior. “We saw two really great running backs.”
Indeed, South’s Guild had 244 yards and two TDs himself, and heroically fought off an ankle injury late in the game to give his team a chance to tie, but it was not enough.
Northwest, now 4-3 and 1-0, admittedly didn’t play its best football. But it was enough to hold off South, 3-4 and 0-1, in a game filled with hard hitting and momentum swings.
“We didn’t feel like we played our best football by any means,” Zegunis said. “But I was proud of the way our guys stuck together and persevered.
“They just kept going, kept going and kept going and eventually we were able to pull out the win. I was proud of the way we came back.”
Northwest took the lead for good on Coda’s 24-yard run — his third TD dash of the night — with just over nine minutes left in the contest. Bryan Gish’s extra point made it 28-21. And that’s where it would end up.
The two teams battled throughout, with the game resembling a roller coaster of mental and physical twists and turns.
The Huskies grabbed the initial lead when Alec Winsor found Austin Moses with an 8-yard TD strike with 7:15 left in the opening quarter. Gish’s kick made it 7-0.
Ra’Keim Abdul answered for South just 36 seconds into the second period. His 12-yard TD run, with Dainan Swoope’s extra point to follow, tied it at 7-7.
Just 3:29 later, Coda was in the end zone for the first time, with a 6-yard run and a Gish extra point making it 14-7 Blue Valley Northwest.
The most-critical first-half sequence came with just over 3 minutes left in the half and the Huskies poised for the kill. Armed with the 7-point lead and the ball on the SMS 34, Zegunis decided to go for a first down on 4th-and-3 —with the possibility of going up by a pair of scores.
Winsor’s pass to Jaquwan Stone gained just one yard, however, and the gamble had failed.
“I just knew he (Guild) was going to be really dangerous and difficult to stop,” Zegunis said of his thought process at the time. “I felt like we were able to move the football on them and I was hoping we’d be able to execute and get it done.”
Instead, Guild quickly made Northwest pay with two TDs to give his Raiders the halftime edge.
The first of the two scores by the running back came on a 5-yard scamper with just 2:26 that left the game tied at 14-14.
Just over 30 seconds later, Northwest was turning it back to South on downs.
Three plays later, Guild ripped off a 56-yard run down the Raider sideline to paydirt and a 21-14 halftime edge for South.
The teams traded possessions and hard hits in the third quarter, setting the stage for Northwest’s domination of the final period on both sides of the ball.
Coda’s second TD of the night came on an impressive 84-yard run just 19 seconds into the final quarter to tie things up.
That set the stage for his final TD just over two minutes later.
South had the ball two more times with chances to tie, but the first ended in a 3-and-out, and the second was snuffed out when Chase Allen’s pass on 4th and 29 fell incomplete with under 30 seconds remaining.
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