by John Unrein
The Grain Valley Eagles Football team attained a running clock with a 35-point lead during the third quarter against the Ruskin Eagles in route to their 35-0 victory on Friday, October 18th. The Eagles defense was relentless in their shutout effort. Grain Valley forced Ruskin to punt the football eight times during the game prior to time running out during their ninth and final possession.
A familiar wrecking crew among the Eagles defense was responsible for the dominance. Senior Linebacker Seth Dankenbring had two tackles for loss in the first half. Not to be outdone was his counterpart in Junior Linebacker Hunter Newsom, who also recorded a tackle for a loss during the first half that he teamed with a quarterback sack at the seven-minute mark of the third quarter inside Ruskin’s own ten-yard line.
Newsom also chipped in on special teams as he weaved his way through Ruskin’s blocking on a punt return at the nine-minute mark of the second quarter. The heady play by Newsom off Junior Parker Bosserman’s 50-yard punt pinned Ruskin at their own four-yard line.
Also present for the party was Senior Defensive Tackle Steele Blackmon who provided two quarterback pressures on Ruskin’s quarterback. Including a pass rush at the two-minute mark of the second quarter that directed Ruskin’s signal caller into the waiting arms of Grain Valley defenders.
Eagles Head Football Coach David Allie was delighted with the way his defense performed under the direction of Defensive Coordinator Pete Carpino.
“Our defense had them schemed correctly. Looking back at film last year, we would hold them and then they would break a big play against us. We prevented them from having that big play tonight. Us smothering them in the passing game helped tremendously as well. We swarmed to the football tonight,” Allie said.
Grain Valley’s offense was also assertive early on during the football game. The Eagles took advantage of Ruskin’s aggressive two high safety look, using play action passing to their advantage. On two separate occasions Grain Valley would fake the run to have Ruskin’s play side safety fill downhill. This allowed Eagles wide receivers to run open down the seam of the defense.
Junior Quarterback Cole Keller and Junior Wide Receiver Parker Bosserman would be the beneficiaries of what Allie had noticed from watching film in game planning for Ruskin. Keller would connect with Bosserman on play action passes for 49- and 41-yard touchdown completions during the first and second quarters respectively.
Grain Valley’s quarterback confidently delivered the football on the evening. Keller would go 6 for 9 through the air with 123 passing yards and two touchdown strikes. Furthermore, he would also add 40 yards rushing on the ground and a touchdown.
Jet sweep option is one of Keller’s favorite running plays that is a staple of the Eagles offense. Keller’s accurate read of the defensive end man on the line of scrimmage allowed him to boldly scoot down hill for a 16-yard touchdown run with 4:13 left in the second quarter.
“We knew that Ruskin was going to come out and expect us to run the football. That’s been our identity. Their safeties bit on our run action. I knew that Parker is good enough to beat the corner and threw it up to him so he could do his thing,” Keller said.
“Jet sweep option is also a really good play for us. It’s been successful all year. We have a seventy five percent efficiency rating on it. The end defender on the line for them is in a bind in who he should take, and I get to read it correctly. Our offensive line does a good job of getting up to the second level of the defense and away one of us (the slot receiver or myself) goes. I’m a big giraffe who’s not real shifty. I’m fast but not quick. I like to make one cut and run vertical.”
Bosserman’s contributions in the victory were also notable. The slot receiver for the Eagles would haul in four passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Bosserman would also add one rush on the ground off jet sweep good for 15 yards.
“I believed in my teammates coming into this game. It’s all about confidence. Tonight, we had it and did our jobs,” Bosserman said.
Other impactful offensive performers for the Eagles included Running Back Jamore Goulden. The senior ball carrier would contribute 127 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown on the ground. It was the second week in a row that Goulden’s efforts would help his team rack up the time of possession advantage in aiming to control the tempo of the game.
Allie was satisfied with the way his team maintained focus and executed throughout two halves of play.
“We threw the football like we practiced throughout the week tonight. We were also able to run the football outside against a speedy defense. Jet sweep option was good to us in providing chunks of yardage,” Allie said.
Grain Valley improves to a 5-3 record on the season with their win. They will next travel to Raytown South to face the Cardinals on Friday, October 25th. The Class 4, District 7 matchup will have implications in helping to determine who will be Grain Valley’s Week 10 opponent based on Missouri State High School’s Activities Association (MSHSAA’s) computer formula.