Two-year classic

Kyle Palmer/PrepsKC

By Kyle Palmer PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: September 16, 2017 - 1:33 AM



That was fun. We should do it again sometime.

That was the general consensus after another taut game between metro powers Rockhurst and Shawnee Mission East ended Friday at Shawnee Mission North District Stadium with a narrow 21-17 Hawklet victory.

“That’s high school football at its best,” said Rockhurst coach Tony Severino. “These kids know each other, and they play hard. The intensity out there was something else.”

His counterpart Lancer coach Dustin Delaney agreed, despite the fact his team fell to Rockhurst for the second consecutive year.

“This is an enjoyable game to coach in. You saw the crowd, it was a great atmosphere,” he said.

This year, the Hawklets won on the strength of a pugnacious defense and a persistent running attack, both of which were powered by senior two-way player Brady McCanles.

“He’s a do-it-all running back, and he doesn’t come off the field. He played defense most of the night, too. He’s been that way for us for two years now. What a great guy,” Severino said.

McCanles finished with a modest 63 yards rushing but scored all three Rockhurst touchdowns, all of them coming in goal-to-go situations.

“Obviously, we game-planned well. I have to give credit to the offensive line. I can’t rush at all without them. We were able to get outside. Our mentality tonight was: positive yards, no negative yards,” McCanles said.

He also helped make some key stops against a run-heavy East offense that saw senior running back Milton Braasch total 157 yards on the ground with one score.

“It took us a couple of drives to figure their offense out, but then we settled in we were able to read our keys,” McCanles said. “We were able to come up against the run and then when they passed, we made sure we were in a position to be able to stop them.”

The night was punctuated by long, well-orchestrated drives by both teams.

Rockhurst started the scoring with an opening 13-play drive that ate up half of the first quarter, capped by a 1-yard dive by McCanles.

The Lancers responded with a nine-play drive of their own that ended with a 25-yard field goal by Parker Willis.

Rockhurst came back with another touchdown drive, this one going nine plays and 80 yards. Again, McCanles crashed in from two yards out to give the Hawklets a commanding 14-3 lead.

But Shawnee Mission East wrested control for the next two quarters. Facing a deficit, the Lancers put together an impressive 13-play drive that took 4:37 off the clock. A third-and-long conversion and a fourth-and-one conversion in the red zone kept the drive alive.

Braasch scored on a 1-yard leap and pulled the Lancers to within 14-10 midway through the second quarter. 

“We got in a rhythm sometimes, and then other times we lost that rhythm,” Delaney said. “And that’s all credit to Rockhurst. They played great defense when they needed to.”

The Lancers took their first and only lead after half time. It was the result of another long drive early in the third quarter, after the teams traded three-and-outs after the break. Maddox capped it off with a two-yard touchdown run to put Shawnee Mission East up briefly 17-14.

 

But later in the fourth quarter, Rockhurst strung together a drive that yielded what would turn out to be the game-winning score. The march included a key fourth-and-6 conversion at Shawnee Mission East’s 28 when senior quarterback Derek Green found split end Jack Eckels on a check down.

 

“We ran an all-hitch. They pressed everybody, and I looked off one side, and then I just fit it in there to Jack. It was a clutch catch,” Green said.

 

Three plays later, McCanles snuck in for his third score. And after that, Rockhurst held on for the second straight win versus their cross-border rival.

 

With the home-and-home series concluded, it’s unclear what the future may hold.

 

When asked if the schools will figure out a way to schedule each other again, the veteran Severino demurred.

 

“My future is not a whole lot longer, so I don’t know if they want to continue it, but I think it would be a good thing,” he said.

 

Next week, Rockhurst plays at Blue Springs, and Shawnee Mission East hosts Olathe North.