by John Unrein
The Grain Valley Eagles could not hold the early lead they jumped out to against the visiting Smithville Warriors on Friday, September 13th. The Warriors would pull away in the fourth quarter to secure the win by a score of 40-29.
Head Football Coach David Allie praised his team’s resiliency and their determination to stay in the game along with citing opportunities for improvement.
“Our kids care a tremendous amount. They were still trying to score with one second left in the game. What the game boiled down to tonight is that Smithville had the ball too long and we didn’t hold on to the football well enough. We also could’ve tackled better,” Allie said.
“I would be concerned to look at their time of possession with us not able to get our defense off the field. When we did score it was great in that we had some big plays. We need to improve our ball security though on offense and tackle better on defense.”
The Eagles jumped on the board early with some trickery. Junior Wide Receiver Parker Bosserman went in motion behind the running back to secure the pitch from Junior Quarterback Cole Keller prior to launching a pass down the seam.
The play caught the Warriors off guard as Sophomore Wide Receiver Logan Pratt was able to garner separation from the defensive backfield prior to catching Bosserman’s pass for a 38-yard touchdown reception. The following extra point attempt was good by Senior Kicker Jack Knust and the Eagles went up 7-0 with 9:42 left in the first quarter.
The two teams would trade jabs, punts, and field position prior the Warriors tying the game 7-7 on Senior Running Back Isaac Miller’s 8-yard touchdown run with 1:21 left in the first quarter.
Miller and his brother, Senior Quarterback Spencer Miller were a tough duo to contain for the Eagles Defense. Together they would account for all five Warrior touchdowns on the ground or thrown through the air.
The Eagles countered offensively with solid contributions from Keller and Senior Gavin Oyler who opened the game at Running Back. Oyler would rack up a touchdown on the ground along with 115 yards on 8 carries. His touchdown would come on an 80-yard gallop with 3:34 left in the second quarter, pulling the Eagles even with the Warriors at 14-14.
Keller shook off an early first quarter interception to come back and have a solid second half throwing the football. The signal caller would heave four second half passes for over 30 yards in route to going 17 of 23 for 238 yards passing and two touchdowns through the air.
“That was not the first half we wanted. A lot of that was on me. Coming out in the second half I knew we were only down three points and were not out of the game,” Keller said.
“We did everything we could to put the ball in end zone. Our defense has played two incredible games prior to this one. Tonight, I was hoping that we could pick them up and do something for them. We fell short and all we can do is be determined to get better from here.”
On the receiving end of Keller’s touchdown passes were Pratt and Junior Running Back Hunter Newsom. Pratt’s snag brought the Eagles within three points at 22-25 with 4:15 left in the third quarter.
Newsom’s contribution came on a nifty screen pass in which his offensive line secured the blocks needed to spring him for 33 yards to pay dirt down the middle of the field. His score with 5:47 left in the 4th quarter would be the last of the night for the Eagles.
The Eagles move to a record of 2-1 on the season. They will travel north to face the Platte County Pirates, who also have a record of 2-1, on Friday, September 20th. Last year’s loss to the Pirates at home by the Eagles was one of their more physical matchups of the season.
Allie knows the challenge that lies ahead for his team.
“It will be our first trip to Platte County since joining the Suburban Conference. We got in our way tonight and we must solidify some things. The Pirates, like us, have great fans who like watching football in their own confines,” Allie said.
Junior Quarterback Cole Keller delivers a pass during Friday night’s game against the Smithville Warriors.
Photo credit: John Overstreet
Junior Running Back Hunter Newsom crosses the goal line after catching a screen pass.
Photo credit: John Overstreet