Rock survives again
By Matt Mitchell PrepsKC Staff Writer
Rockhurst's defense knows how to come up big. The opportunistic squad stepped it up again, picking off Cameron Coffman four times in the Hawklets own territory in their 14-6 victory over Raymore Peculiar Friday night at Rockhurst.
Ray-Pec moved the ball up and down the field on the Hawklets, but struggled to put points on the board.
After going 51 yards on 11 plays on their opening drive, the Panthers stalled and turned it over on downs when Coffman was stopped for no gain on fourth and 2 from the Rockhurst 16-yard line.
Ray-Pec (4-4) had even more success on their second possession, driving to the Rockhurst 29 before Coffman was intercepted by Kevin Berg. Berg, who had two big interceptions to seal the Blue Springs game for the Hawklets, added another interception in the second half.
“Our goal was three I.n.t.s and a pick-six” Berg said. “Coming in we knew that it was a big passing team so our D had to step up.”
Dylan Veatch and Alex Bales each added interceptions for Rockhurst.
The game was almost an exact mirror of that opening night Blue Springs game, including a blocked extra point and a 7-6 score until the final minute.
That's when Jordan Walker broke off a 55 yard touchdown run to make it 14-6. It could have been a mistake. Rockhurst could have killed the clock.
“I should have told him get a first down and go down to your knees,” Rockhurst head coach Tony Severino said. “Because I didn't want to give them a chance.”
Coffman led Ray-Pec down to Rockhurst's 15-yard line with :15 remaining, but an intentional grounding penalty and two incomplete hail-marys ended the Panther's chances.
The defenses were the stars of the night. In addition to Rockhurst's interceptions, they also held Ray-Pec on two fourth down plays. Ray-Pec held Rockhurst to 1 first down in the second half. Walker's run was 16 yards more than the entire Rockhurst offense had the rest of the second half.
Ray Pec's defense has struggled this season, so their dominating performance Friday came as a surprise.
“If we can play defense like that,” Ray-Pec Head Coach Tom Kruse said, “we might make a run.”
Severino was impressed with his defense as well.
“That defensive performance was as good as I've seen,” he said.
Rockhurst (8-0) scored on their first possession when quarterback Frank Arbanas rolled out to pass, saw running room ahead of him, and coasted 8 yards for a touchdown to make it 7-0 with 2:40 to play in the first quarter.
Ray-Pec's defense stiffened after that, holding Rockhurst to only 61 yards of offense the rest of the first half.
Coffman kept coming at them, despite the turnovers. Coffman completed 27-48 passes for 287 yards and the four interceptions. Ray-Pec dominated the time of possession and total yardage, but wasn't able to make a dent on the scoreboard.
“He's a great quarterback,” Berg said.
The Panthers finally scored with 8:48 to play when Nick Gurera dove in from one yard out. Trae Hodges' extra point was tipped, but still came inches from clearing the cross bar. That made the 7-6 score.
“We battled,”Ray-Pec Head Coach Tom Kruse said. “They gave us every opportunity to get back in that thing.”
Both teams have remaining games against Joplin and Lee's Summit North to finish out play in Missour Class 6, District 8.
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